Jaigopal G Rao is chairman, technical advisory group for urban planning, government of Kerala
The land-use planning in our cities compels us to consume an enormous amount of non-renewable energy. Surely we can do better?
I have proposed the concept of sustainable development zones (SDZs) as a model for decentralized urban planning. Here, a town is divided into several SDZs by investment opportunity, present land use, population density and carrying capacity of the land. Planning centres on pedestrian movement—homes, workplaces and amenities are within a 500m radius. Natural heritage and features are conserved. Each SDZ has facilities for solid and liquid waste treatment, rainwater harvesting and power generation (solar, wind or biomass). Incentives to developers are meant to cross-subsidize housing for economically weaker sections.