Urban Diary – Interesting reads

This post is a continuation of our Urban Diary blog series where we compile interesting reads and discussions from around the world on urban issues.


In China, ‘Once the Villages Are Gone, the Culture Is Gone’

Rapid urbanisation means village life, the bedrock of Chinese culture, is rapidly disappearing, and with it, traditions and history. In 2000, China had 3.7 million villages, according to research by Tianjin University. By 2010, that figure had dropped to 2.6 million, a loss of about 300 villages a day. Citing instance of Mr Lei whose village was torn down to make way for a Golf course, the article portrays how rapid urbanisation is taking its toll on Chinese culture.

Could Google Maps Help End Poverty?

This Forbes article profiles the work of Transparent Chennai and showcases how it uses maps to bring attention to the state of infrastructure prevailing in the slums of the city.

Down and out

Do slums keep people in poverty or help them get out of it? A article in The Economist cites and elaborates on a recent paper from economists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), which suggests that slums are often traps rather than springboards.

Big Data, Big Questions

In this article Alex Marshall raises questions about the smart-city movement spreading around the globe, especially in regard to who controls the information and for what purpose. He also raises concern about whether cities, in their bid to improve services at an affordable cost, are locking themselves into proprietary systems controlled by tech majors.

Transforming Our Cities: Postcards of Change

Recently Dr Isher Judge Ahluwalia published a book titled “Transforming Our Cities: Postcards of Change” which showcases instances of transformation in Urban India. The book is a compilation of her columns published in The Indian Express and The Financial Express and is a rich resource for urban planners and city officials.

How India lives

The improvement in key indicators of living conditions such as housing, drinking water, sanitation and hygiene has not encompassed the entire population, says the latest NSSO survey.

Will monorail help Mumbai to move forward?

Mumbai monorail represents arrival, decades overdue, of a modern mode of urban transport, which along with the new metro, will belatedly drag Mumbai into the 21st century, opines Chandrahas Choudhury in this article.

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