Balanced Urban Development: Options and Strategies for Liveable Cities

Volume 72 of the series Water Science and Technology Library pp 3-13

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.


Balanced Urban Development: Is It a Myth or Reality?

  • Basant MaheshwariAffiliated withSchool of Science and Health, Western Sydney University Email author 
  • , Vijay P. SinghAffiliated withDepartment of Biological and Agricultural Engineering & Zachry Department of Civil Engineering, Texas A and M University
  • , Bhadranie ThoradeniyaAffiliated withInstitute of Technology, University of Moratuwa


A major challenge we face globally is that cities are growing rapidly and most of this growth is inevitably is occurring in peri-urban areas. The concept of balanced urban development is complex and is linked to liveability of urban areas along with water, food and energy security. Increasingly, liveability is becoming important for urban planners and governments at all levels. There are many environmental, economic, political and social challenges if the goals of achieving sustainable, liveable and productive urban regions are to be achieved. The concept of sustainable development and liveable cities symbolise the big visionary ideas for urban planning and balanced development but implementation of these popular visions can encounter a host of conflicts due to a range of interests and stakeholders involved. The process of achieving balanced urban development may require learning from the past successes and mistakes to identify what makes a good practice for balanced urban development and guide local governments, planning agencies and developers to plan and design future cities that are highly liveable. At present there is insufficient policy focus on the challenges of the peri-urban areas of growing mega-urban regions around the world, because they are not recognised as an integral part of the functional activities that drive the growth of these urban areas. Thus, policies for peri-urban regions have to be given priority at both national and global levels, if ‘globally just urban places’ are to emerge.


Liveable cities Urbanisation Peri-urban fringe Balanced urban development Food security Water security Land management Urban agriculture