Student Research: Sustainable Development Zones: India’s New Urbanism?
Faced with dramatic growth, India’s urban expansion offers numerous opportunities to experiment with and adapt planning theories from around the world.
The Congress for New Urbanism (CNU) recently announced DCRP’s Lesley Pories as one of eight winners for this years’ Call for New Urban Research. The finalists were chosen based on their academic quality and relevant subject matter to
Lesley presented her winning paper in a breakout session titled: “To the Developing World and Back Again: the International application of New Urbanism. The session showcased research based on the relationship between urban form and New Urbanism. Pories' intention was to deliver a summary of academic investigations concentrating on the roots of traditional or contemporary built forms, their physical manifestations, historical processes, and social behavior. Final selection was based on the paper’s depth of content, demonstration of methodological rigor, contribution and advancement to the topic of the year, and overall significance to the practice of New Urbanism.
Lelsey’s work in particular examines "Sustainable Development Zones," a new concept in India (basically their equivalent of New Urbanism) that she learned about during a planning trip to Kerala, India last winter. In particular, she critiques the decision to have an "Economically Weaker Section" that keeps the lowest class in a separate section of the SDZ away from the rest of the population.
Abstract: Faced with dramatic growth, India’s urban expansion offers numerous opportunities to
experiment with and adapt planning theories from around the world. In the progressive southern state of Kerala, Jaigopal G. Rao has put forward what could be interpreted as an Indian approach to New Urbanism: Sustainable Development Zones (SDZs). This article examines the concept as envisioned by Rao and evaluates its viability in terms of economic, social and political realities. Deep concerns emerge over the apparent segregation between the low income residents and the general population and the impact this built-in separation would have on the urban landscape and dynamic.
Lesley Pories is pursuing her Master in City and Regional Planning at the University of North Carolina at Chapel HIll concurrently with a Master of Arts in International Relations at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. Before returning to academia, Lesley served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan, a Deshpande Foundation Sandbox Fellow in India and supported development projects at PADCO/AECOM as well as the World Resources Institute in Washington, DC. Lesley holds a BA in International Studies and English from Emory University.