New Urbanism in India: Urban Living, Sustainability and Everyday Life

Lead Research Organisation: University of Northampton
Department Name: Ctr for Children and Youth

Abstract

The focus of the research is the everyday life of children, young people and families living in spaces of New Urbanism in India. India's economic growth has been matched by rapid urban development in recent years; the urban landscape is being significantly re-modelled in line with the principles of New Urbanism - the creation of 'walkable,' diverse, inclusive, sustainable spaces where people will want to live both now and in the future. New large scale developments such as the case study community, Lavasa, are emerging to meet the demand for housing in the Indian context (c.300,000 residents). Future plans include the replication of Lavasa, providing homes to hundreds of thousands of families and individuals across the country, a move to attract individuals away from the clogged metropolitan cities of Delhi and Mumbai, to new urban environments.

This research is a unique opportunity to gather empirical evidence of the day-to-day experiences, issues and needs of residents (children, young people and adults) living and moving through this new urban environment. The research is of international significance; current research into the lives of families in large scale, inclusive, sustainable communities is lacking, particularly in the context of an emerging superpower. The research predominantly uses qualitative research methods; however, an innovative mobile 'app' will be developed to further explore and map family mobility within the community. There are three interlinked strands to the research:

Internationalising New Urbanism:
Primarily, this strand aims to create a dialogue of exchange between those engaged in sustainable urbanism in the UK context (primarily those involved in the creation of 'sustainable communities', albeit on a smaller scale) and those creating new communities in India. What lessons can be learnt from applying the principles of New Urbanism (essentially American and European informed), are there specific design features and points of best practice which can be transferred between these communities and contexts?

Sustainable design and mobility - everyday routines, transport and access:
This strand will explore family mobility in the context of this new urban environment; a landscape which has been designed in line with principles of sustainability and effective transport use. How are residents moving through and interacting with their environment during their everyday routines? Given that its design has been planned so that 'all components of essential city life are located within walking distance,' is car use minimised within this context? Given the plethora of services and amenities Lavasa provides, how are these connected and used in the rhythm of everyday life? Efficient connectivity is a key principle of the urban infrastructure in Lavasa. This strand aims to explore the successes and limitations of Lavasa's connectivity.

Nature and green space in a planned city:
Following on from the previous objective, this strand aims to explore the impact of green and public space on the lives of children, young people and their families living in the community. Nature and green space are important and educational; they are interactive elements of the planned city. How are these spaces being used in the everyday life of residents? Are children and young people free to explore the nature and open space which has been planned into their neighbourhood?

Planned Impact

The research objectives are not intended for single audiences; they are interrelated and will be of significant interest to a wide range of local and international stakeholders. In addition to the enhancement of academic knowledge, outlined elsewhere in the proposal, this research has relevance to a wider audience:

Practitioners and stakeholders: Planners; Urban Designers; Community workers; Play workers; Local Councillors; Private Sector Developers; Local Government; National Government.

Engaging with practitioners: Working in partnership with urban practitioners is a central aim of this research project. Relations with urban designers, architects and planners in the UK context have already been forged through previous work on the New Urbanisms, New Citizens ESRC project, this work will extend this network and conversation to the Indian context. For high impact research, strong relationships with stakeholders working in the field are essential. There will be two workshop events, one based in India and the other in the UK, these will be networking events for practitioners based in the field of urban design, urban living and mobility.

Benefit: The project has the support of Lavasa Corporation Limited (see attached letter), this relationship is vital for the dissemination of outputs and for meaningful impact (particularly given the plans to replicate Lavasa). This will be a significant pathway for ensuring the results of this project are taken into account for future large scale developments in both the India and potentially in the wider emerging market context (medium and long term impact). The project has the potential to increase the effectiveness of newly built communities, considering service provision, individual mobility, sustainable transport and access to nature and green space (for both future phases of the Lavasa development and other planned large scale communities). In terms of the UK context, where large scale new build developments are on the agenda, this research has the potential to inform and advise on examples of best practice from an international setting; consulting on local government development plans and informing those in policy settings for housing provision and the creation of liveable communities.

Local community: Participants of the research; children and young people; local residents; local businesses and services.

Engaging with communities: Developing methodologies and engagement tools for working with communities, particularly children and young people, in the context of urban planning and design is an important element of the project. I have experience in running community based workshops with young people in the UK context and hope to transfer this knowledge and practice to the Indian context.

Benefit: Developing guidance for practitioners working in the field (in India), in terms of local consultation and particularly working with young people is important and this could have significant impact in terms of future engagement in the community. Engaging with residents in the form of participatory workshops can have significant self-and localised impact (providing a forum for individuals to have a stake, a say in their community). The project has the potential to stimulate change in terms of urban design and perceptions of local engagement, for both existing and future residents of large scale developments. In terms of a wider community impact, the research will be engaging with stakeholders who can make changes to policy, design and consultation; thus, the research has the potential to contribute to community well-being and quality of life, both in existing communities and those living in future areas of large scale development.

Publications

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Related Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Award Value
ES/K00932X/1 01/11/2013 28/02/2014 £242,764
ES/K00932X/2 Transfer ES/K00932X/1 01/03/2014 31/10/2016 £222,330
 
Description Hadfield-Hill, S. (2014) Designing new cities in the majority world: planning for the child. (Children, young people and Families in changing urban spaces, University of Northampton) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Hadfield-Hill, S. (2014) Designing new cities in the majority world: planning for the child? Children, young people and families in changing urban spaces, University of Northampton, 3-4th September, 2014.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Hadfield-Hill, S. and Christensen, P. (2014) Researching the mobile body: socio-technical implications of children and young people's use of geo-mobile devices (CSCY International Conference, University of Sheffied) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Conference presentation:

Hadfield-Hill, S. and Christensen, P. (2014) Researching the mobile body: socio-technical implications of children and young people's use of geo-mobile devices, CSCY International Conference, 1-3rd July, 2014.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description New Urbanisms in India project website 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The aim of the website is to share project information (policy makers, academics, young people, participants, developers, architects)

None noted as yet
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://www.new-urbanism-india.com/
 
Description Sustainable communities and New Urbanisms: Cross-cultural research with children and families (University of Pune, India) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Discussion and interest in the project

Potential collaborations for future research
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014