Application of Remote Sensing and GIS Technique for Urban Environmental Management and Sustainable Development of Delhi, India

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Abstract

India no longer lives in villages, and rapid urban development has increased the size of India’s urban population. During the last fifty years the population of India has grown two-and-a-half times, but urban India has grown nearly five times. In 2001, 306.9 million Indians (30.5%) were living in nearly 3700 towns and cities spread across the country, compared to 62.4 million (17.3%) who lived in urban areas in 1951. This is an increase of about 390% in the last five decades. The urban population is expected to increase to over 400 million and 533 million by 2011 and 2021, respectively. In 1991 there were 23 metropolitan cities in India; the number increased to 35 in 2001. Among the megacities of the world (those with a population greater than 10 million), Mumbai with 16.37 million, Delhi with 13.78 million, Kolkata with 13.22 million, and Chennai with 6.42 million people figure prominently (Raghavswamy et al. 1996). The high rate of urban population growth is a cause of concern among India’s urban and town planners. The term urbanization once conveyed an image of a city’s radial expansion into its rural surroundings. Urban areas of today are more aptly described as sprawling regions that become interconnected in a dendritic fashion (Carlson and Arthur 2000). The positive aspects of urbanization have often been overshadowed by deterioration in the physical environment and quality of life caused by the widening gaps between supply and demand for essential services and infrastructure.