I read an article (link below) about the growth of new towns and cities across India, it led me to many thoughts about our failures to recognise the need for environmental and social to be considered equally to those of growth and economics. I have plucked a few of these out, as I consider that they should also be paramount in our thinking around development and its impacts.
Firstly there is the issue of confidence in public servants to deliver an impartial and honest service. The very many hard working and highly trained people working in architecture, planning and so forth can so easily be undermined by a few corrupt officials, resulting in the free for all that appears to be emerging in India.
Secondly, this tale emphasises the need for and importance of good planning and integration of major infrastructure and resource. I think it serves to underline the inherent dangers of weakening of meddling with planning systems and allowing private investment a free rein. I think India would do well to look to Europe rather than America for a model to deliver development, and we should be looking at India to remind ourselves why we have a robust planning and regulatory regime.
Lastly, on a more humanistic note, I cant help but think that the wealth that is so evident in these new citadels, is not being transferred into social cohesion and a sense of well being, in fact quite the opposite! All the things that we try to protect and value are lost in these economically efficient developments, a salutary lesson about the triple bottom line and why living more sustainable is important to well being.