Cities have largely borne the brunt of the global financial crisis of the last few years, and have relentlessly struggled to keep their
heads above water. What does this economic downturn mean for urban infrastructure in India and the world?

Visits to seven small towns in north India reveal how paucity of funds, slipshod planning and a dearth of capabilities have contributed to poor civic services and inadequate infrastructure. Citizens in some areas have organised themselves into neighbourhood committees to tackle problems that the urban bodies neglect, but this has its limitations and cannot substitute for efficient local government. The keys to tap the rich potential in these small towns are purposeful research, participative planning, responsive governance and healthy finances.

While the outcomes of the Lok Sabha and the state assembly elections have been well documented and analysed, little is known about the electoral geography in urban areas. In discussing the conflicting interests of local politics and urban development, this article places the definition and understanding of what is “urban” in the context of the 74th constitutional amendment, and also looks at the expectations from and the progress on the reforms agenda of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission.

This paper takes the position that a useful governance perspective must be informed by the socio-economiccultural milieu, and in the specific Indian context must sit on a tripod of ”political reality”, ”state of decentralisation” and ”basic economic principles”. The Mumbai Metropolitan Region is one of the most important growth engines for India as it accrues tremendous revenues to the central and the Maharashtra state governments.

The Supreme Court

The Government of Maharashtra has given a go ahead to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's (BMC) thirteen proposals for multi-level parking lots in Mumbai. These lots that would provide parking space for about 21,000 cars will be coming up on mill lands in the city's Worli-Parel area.

On 19 December, the Gujarat Local Authorities Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2009 was passed in the State Assembly. It is now mandatory for all registered voters in Gujarat to vote in the elections of all local bodies (municipal corporations, municipalities and panchayats) of the state.

Urban biodiversity and the associated ecosystem services have been ignored and undervalued because ecologists have focused only on pristine habitats and rare species. However, with rapid urbanisation the challenge is to build the native biodiversity within the urban landscape.

Privatization of solid waste management (SWM) services has been a debated topic and has come under greater focus in recent times.

TWO months ago, a fleet of hydraulic trucks of a private company started collecting garbage from homes in many areas of Nagpur. The trucks transport the garbage directly to the landfill site managed by another private company. This privatization of garbage collection has alarmed some 5,000 ragpickers who earn their living by rummaging through the city

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