RISING POPULATION NEEDS SUSTAINABLE HOUSING
The World Population Day is an annual event observed on July 11 every year seeking to raise awareness of global population issues. The event was established by the Governing Council of the United Nations Development Programme in 1989.
The date of observance was inspired by that of Five Billion Day when the world’s population reached five billion on July 11, 1987. The day is celebrated since 1989, the year of its announcement.
The world’s ever-growing population has reached 7,160,183,896 as in June 2014. The population explosion is one of the major global concerns and this issue of uncontrolled population growth is giving birth to other major problems. The major consequences of the population growth include poverty, shortage of housing, unemployment, pollution and deforestation. Many cities are failing to cope with the challenges of generating employment, providing adequate housing and meeting the basic needs of their citizens. By the year 2025, the world population will increase by at least 50 per cent and these people will need housing, shopping complexes and places to work.
Urbanisation and the demographic transition have accelerated the demand for new housing. In an urbanising world, provision of adequate and affordable housing remains a key priority as housing plays a crucial role in achieving sustainable development. However, the concept of housing requires a new understanding to effectively address the economic and human development, slum prevention and climate change. Housing is also part of the relationships between society and environment. On the one hand, housing construction and operation consume large amounts of natural resources (land, energy, water and building materials) while producing wastes ad air and water pollution. On the other hand, housing itself is exposed to a variety of environmental impacts and hazards, including those associated with natural disasters and climate change. These aspects are also significant considerations for sustainable development.
Sustainable housing offers a great spectrum of opportunities to promote economic development, quality of life and social equality while mitigating the problems related to population growth, urbanisation, slums, poverty and climate change. The annual percentage of population growth in India was 1.21 per cent in 2011. As per recent estimates, India’s population in 2014 is 1.27 billion. The rate of population growth in India has slowed considerably in recent years although it is still growing more quickly than China. A recent UN report suggests that India’s population will surpass China’s by 2028 when both India and China will have populations of 1.45 billion.
As per the 2011 Census, Odisha, with 41 million people, is the eleventh-most populous Indian State. Over the last decade, Odisha has witnessed a 14.1-per cent population rise while the urban population increased at a rate of 27.2 per cent. There are shortages of 4,10,000 dwelling units for EWS/LIG housing in Odisha. Besides lack of affordable housing leads to slums in many parts of the State.
The land everywhere is under pressure due to the population growth and economic development. In areas where land is in greatest demand for residential, agricultural, industrial or business use, it attracts increasing commercial value. To achieve secure and sustainable access to land for all those needing it, and especially for the poor, has become a critical issue. A number of housing clusters have mushroomed in and around various metropolitan centres in haphazard manners without proper layouts and devoid of service lines and other essential facilities. These unauthorised developments are encroachments on land parcels belonging to Government bodies, public-private-institutions or areas meant to be green belts.
Therefore, urban human settlements require a more inclusive approach to planning and land management to sustain all the people who live in the settlement. A basic need in cities is shelter. The first step in creating sustainable urban settlements is to recognise that slum people have a right to live in proper shelters.
There is a strong correlation between improved housing and poverty reduction. In India, this has been introduced through the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) reforms, which states that 20-25% lands would be reserved for economically weaker section (EWS) housing in the new developments. Under the JNNURM, 65 Indian cities had an opportunity to bridge this infrastructure gap and also to resolve some of the housing problems for the urban poor through the BSUP (Basic Services for the Urban Poor) component of the Central Government-funded mission. There is also another scheme, the Rajiv Awas Yojana (RAY). Under the RAY guidelines, all urban local bodies are to map and take a census of all the slums and create strategies to improve existing conditions of slums. Besides, the National Urban Housing and Habitat Policy, 2007 has been enacted, an endeavour to carry out in-situ upgradation of dwelling units for 95 per cent of slum households.
There is a need for sustainable site planning and construction techniques that reduce pollution and create a balance between built and natural systems. New sustainable urban development or redevelopment should provide a variety of commercial, institutional, educational uses as well as housing for sustainable urban development.
The housing requirements in Bhubaneswar are changing due to high population growth. To accommodate more housing for this population, there is a need to assess the existing housing scenario and future housing demand. As per the CDP, the quantitative housing in the Bhubaneswar Development Plan Area (BDPA) for 2030 needs 3,66,295 units. The existing 13,70,000 BDPA populace will grow to 30,00,000 by 2030. The addition of 16,30,000 people requires 3,60,000 dwelling units. The existing backlog is already around 15,220 dwelling units. Qualitative shortage and obsolescence raise the total BDPA housing requirement in 2030 to 4,31, 915 units.
The housing requirements will be satisfied by increasing the housing density and re-densification. The existing land use of 12.4 per cent for housing in the BDPA will increase to 33.7 per cent. The total additional area requirement for housing in the BDPA is computed to be 9,286 acres, giving a net housing density of 46 units per acre. There is a need to design the semi-open spaces in the residential zone. This will facilitate green areas and gardening, which will improve the environment for social activities. Specific housing plans can be evolved for Bhubaneswar with reference to the determination of area requirement and identification of the areas for urbanisation/housing development. In order to increase the efficiency of space, there is a need to analyse the physical density in terms of floor area ratio (FAR) and percentage of ground coverage by buildings.
There is a close relationship between density and sustainability. Density is often the most commonly-accepted indicator providing a reference for the amount of land needed for supporting facilities with regard to a given population. Whatever methodology is adopted to determine the optimum density, an understanding of how the socio-cultural needs of urban communities transform into identifiable physical patterns is influential to a sustainable city development. To achieve sustainable urban development, the Development Plans/Master Plans as well as Zonal Plans and Local Area Plans should be made and updated regularly.