WRI India | Thriving Eco-city Regions

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About Us

World Resources Institute India (WRI India) focuses on building sustainable and liveable cities and working towards a low carbon economy. Through research, analysis, and recommendations, WRI India puts ideas into action to build transformative solutions to protect the earth, promote livelihoods, and enhance human well-being. Please visit our website to know more - www.wri-india.org

India is rapidly urbanizing with more than 4,000 designated urban centers – 300 of these with more than one million population each. The predominant focus of urban authorities has been on infrastructure augmentation and service delivery in these growing urban centers.

However, urbanization is not just restricted to cities. Today, most of the urban growth in cities is on the edge of municipal boundaries. As cities grow outwards, they impact the surrounding regions on which they depend upon, for resources and ecosystem services.

It is thus imperative that we expand the way we think and plan our cities. Being more mindful of the ecology, local context and resource provenance, at the regional scale, will help us address critical urban challenges such as resource constraints, growing environmental degradation and climate change.

About the Collaboration
Earlier this year, WRI India joined hands with Rainmatter Foundation to launch the ‘Thriving EcoCity-Regions’ (#EcoCityRegions) initiative. The core mission of this new initiative is to nudge the Business-As-Usual (BAU) urban planning and urban development approach to prioritize human well-being, economic productivity and ecological sustainability.

We envision a future where India’s vast system of urban centers are self-sustaining, and desirable places to live, where development, needs and consumption patterns can be (1) judiciously managed through the lenses of context, resource provenance and ecology; and (2) underpinned by sustainability and circularity, to minimize the adverse impacts of urbanization.

The 'Thriving Eco-City Regions’ initiative aims to follow a multi-pronged approach that will incorporate developing empirically driven spatial and statistical analysis, creating multi-stakeholder forums for dialogue and collaborative action, strengthening local capacity and capability and empowering local stakeholders to be change makers. Through this initiative, we seek to derive valuable insights and learnings to inform India’s urbanization journey towards green, inclusive and resilient city-regions for all.

MoU with Jalandhar – Our first selected city-region
Jalandhar, 20 January 2023: The Municipal Corporation Jalandhar (MCJ) signed an MoU with WRI India to collaborate on developing an eco-city approach for the city and identify areas for joint action.

The MoU was signed by Shri. Abhijeet Kaplish, Commissioner, MCJ who said, “Jalandhar City is rapidly expanding, and we are taking proactive steps to ensure holistic development. We want to be one of the first cities in India to ensure that the growth and development we are seeing does not damage the natural spaces in our city."

Read the coverage in The Tribune

Shri. Abhijeet Kaplish, Commissioner, MCJ signs the MoU in the presence of Samrat Basak, Program Director, Water Resilience Practice, WRI India

MoU with Punjab Municipal Infrastructure Development Company (PMIDC)

Punjab, 2 February 2023: Marking the occasion of World Wetlands Day, PMIDC signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with WRI India to build local capacity, devise strategic interventions and develop collaborative forums to improve ecological and economic sustainability for city-regions of Punjab. The MoU was signed by Smt. Isha Kalia, CEO, PMIDC in the presence of WRI India representatives.

Smt. Isha Kalia, CEO, PMIDC signs the MoU in the presence of Samrat Basak, Program Director, Water Resilience Practice, WRI India

Economic geographic approach for thriving eco-city regions presented at the UP Global Investors Summit 2023
Lucknow, 12th February 2023: WRI India’s Rejeet Mathews, Program Director - Urban Developmentm presented in the session ‘Re-imagining Cities as Growth Centres for New Uttar Pradesh’ at the UP Global Investors Summit 2023. The presentation highlighted the importance of an economic geography approach that brings together economics, geography, management, and urban and regional planning. This approach focuses on developing a more holistic understanding of city growth, highlighting the interdependence between a city, its suburb and region and its land, workers, and natural resources. Rejeet further pointed out that where people chose to invest, and where talent and creative workers choose to live depends not just on a city-region’s economic might, but also on its urban experience and its business environment, and how they can achieve sustainability and provide quality social infrastructure for all.

She shared the dais with distinguished speakers, such as Hardeep Singh Puri (Union Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs & Petroleum and Natural Gas), AK Sharma (Ex-IAS, Minister for Urban Development & Energy, UP Govt.), Amrit Abhijat (Jt. Secretary and Mission Director in GoI under PMAY) and Nitin Gokarn (IAS, Principal Secretary to Govt. of UP- Housing and Urban Planning, State Taxes).

Rejeet Mathews, Program Director, Urban Development, WRI India in the session on ’Re-imagining Cities as Growth Centres for New Uttar Pradesh’ at the UP Global Investors Summit 2023


WRI India’s Rejeet Mathews Presents at National Workshop on Urban Livelihoods Mission

New Delhi, 21st March 2023: Rejeet Mathews (Program Director - Urban Development, WRI India) presented at a national brainstorming workshop for DAY-NULM (Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Urban Livelihoods Mission) conducted by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA). She shared the stage with distinguished speakers such as Dr. Amita Bhide, Ms. Manvita Baradi and Mr. Amit Vatsyayan, in the presence of Sri Rahul Kapoor (Hon’ble Joint Secretary, MoHUA) who made the introductory keynote.

Rejeet also moderated a session on ‘Gender, Livelihoods and Innovation’ and raised pertinent points regarding -

  • Alleviating unpaid care work by investing in services such as community-based childcare
  • Campaigns and foster programs to manage cultural bias and prejudice against women
  • Using innovation to promote women’s access to education and skilling
  • Improving data systems with gender specific indicators

The workshop saw a vibrant and engaged group of participants highlighting critical areas of intervention and takeaways, from their on-ground experiences, that the DAY – NULM team & MoHUA will address as they take the scheme forward.

WRI India Partners with Punjab Government to Train GIS Analysts

Chandigarh, 12th April 2023: WRI India in collaboration with PMIDC (Punjab Municipal Infrastructure Development Company) conducted a two-day Geospatial Analytics Workshop and Training on 11th-12th April for geospatial analysts working at PMIDC and with various municipal corporations in Punjab.

The sessions, led by Raj Bhagat Palanichamy and Aakash Malik from WRI India, included hands-on training on developing maps for urban green cover, heat and night lights using earth-observation and geospatial analysis (via QGIS & Google Earth Engine).

WRI India will also be supplementing the workshop with mentorship support and interim reviews for a selected group of participants for a month. The main aim of this initiative is to develop heat stress management maps for five cities of Punjab that are most likely to face the highest heat risk. High-risk and vulnerable areas and populations will be identified through overlaying and intersectional analysis of land surface temperatures, green spaces, parks, public open spaces and demographic data.

Such data-driven initiatives help in identifying and spatially mapping key urban challenges, loss of natural ecosystems, inequitable access to jobs and core urban services, and risks and vulnerabilities due to climate change.

Supported by the Rainmatter Foundation, this workshop is one of several engagements organized under the ongoing Thriving #EcoCity-regions initiative.

WRI India Partners with CEPT University to Mentor Student Researchers

As part of the #ThrivingEcoCityRegions project, supported by the Rainmatter Foundation, WRI India supported three master’s thesis researchers from Faculty of Planning, CEPT University in undertaking Directed Research Projects (DRP) in Jalandhar and Lucknow.

During the four-month research project, Sahana Goswami (Senior Program Manager, Water Resilience Practice) and Neha Lal (Manager, Urban Development) from WRI India, conducted monthly reviews, assessed the progress and provided them inputs on their work.

The program aimed to mentor and support aspiring young professionals, equipping them with a well-rounded perspective on urban planning that takes into account both ecological and economic considerations.

Kruti Barpete, one of the master’s students, examined and identified existing gaps in water management that hinder efficient resource utilization in Lucknow. She conducted on-ground surveys, focused group discussions and key informant interviews with representatives from relevant urban local bodies.

Talking about WRI India’s support, Kruti said, ‘I want to give a big shout-out to WRI India for their amazing mentorship during my research project and helping me navigate the complexities of implementing Water-Sensitive Urban Design strategies in Indian cities.’

Aishwarya Maheswaran identified the potential zones for groundwater recharge and assessed the groundwater flow in Jalandhar with the help of the MODFLOW model. ‘I owe a big thanks to WRI India for their invaluable assistance in unraveling the intricacies of sponge cities, including the associated ratings and indices, which proved immensely beneficial for my project,’ Aishwarya said.

Another student, Ridham Venayak assessed baseline urban water issues & developed a spatial planning framework for localizing the sponge city concept in Jalandhar, Punjab. She said, ‘WRI India’s support and collaboration provided me with a great platform to showcase my research. The team’s expertise helped me analyze the findings in a fresh and informative manner. Their valuable comments and reviews helped me enhance the practical implications of my research, making it more applicable to real-world situations.’

WRI India Documents Pollution Challenges and Biodiversity Potential of Kala Sanghian Drain in Jalandhar, Meets with Municipal Commissioner

Jalandhar, 16th May 2023: WRI India team met with Shri Abhijeet Kaplish (Commissioner of Municipal Corporation Jalandhar and the CEO of Smart City Jalandhar) and various other stakeholders in Jalandhar to discuss the various planned initiatives and WRI India’s upcoming plans to support them. As part of this, the team shared their findings and ideas after documenting the 12km stretch of highly polluted Kala Sanghian drain in the city.

The drain, passing through residential, commercial, and industrial areas, suffers from the presence of domestic sewage, toxic industrial effluents, and dumped solid waste. Furthermore, encroachments on the drain banks are vulnerable to flooding and to diseases from the polluted water. The team found out that the Common Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP), and Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) are not fully functional which adds to the problem.

However, amidst these challenges, the team discovered a thriving biodiversity along the drain. Numerous water birds and butterflies were observed, and some water purifying plants were identified, which could be preserved in a controlled manner as part of the drain’s clean-up efforts.

Engaging with local communities, the WRI India team listened to their concerns about residing near the drain. It is our firm belief that any initiatives for drain front development must prioritize robust community engagement and awareness-building to safeguard their well-being in the long term.

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Rejeet Mathews (Program Director- Urban Development, WRI India) co-chairs Task Force of DAY-NULM, Submits Recommendations Report for Empowerment of Urban Poor Women

New Delhi, 24th May 2023: Rejeet Mathews (Program Director – Integrated Urban Development, WRI India), co-chaired the task force on Gender, Livelihoods, and Innovation of NULM (National Urban Livelihoods Mission) and contributed towards a recommendation report for the formulation of the Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Urban Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NULM) Guidelines 2.0. The aim was to support the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs in preparing guidelines that have a meaningful impact in the lives of urban poor women and their households.

In India, barriers like social norms, low awareness, caregiving duties, and digital illiteracy hinders women’s progress in employment and entrepreneurship, particularly in urban poor communities. The key objectives of the recommendation report were to empower urban poor women to develop their social and financial capital and facilitate greater access to social and welfare entitlements and be front and center in building climate resilience through community institutions.

Research indicates that women spend 9.8 times the time that men do on unpaid domestic chores in India. One of Mathews’s key contributions, was to incentivize micropreneurs in community care services such as women run childcare centers, community meal kitchens and laundromats, including directing CSR funds and government entitlements to help women transition from care economies to access livelihood opportunities that sustain them in meaningful ways.

Foundational skilling programs for disadvantaged women were recommended by the Task Force for them to become leaders and decision makers, including providing incubation and acceleration opportunities for women entrepreneurs. Empowerment with skills in the domain of marketing, digital literacy, public speaking, financial management, business management and catalogue management are recommended.

Gender and poverty remain critical determinants to one’s exposure to climate related risks. Women are increasingly being seen as more vulnerable than men to the impacts of climate change, mainly because they represent the majority of the world’s poor and are proportionally more dependent on threatened natural resources. The report lays focus on women’s participation and leadership in the transition to an inclusive green economy and contribute to building community resilience. Recommendations such as green job-oriented trainings for women, collaboration between women and green sector industry associations, the creation of micro enterprises where women SHGs could be incentivized to take on small contracts in the circular economy and training women in various disaster management protocols at community level have been made. This report will inform operational guidelines for shaping phase II of DAY-NULM.

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WRI India participates in Uttar Pradesh Regional Conclave 2023, Highlights Importance of Strategic Planning for Eco-City Regions

Lucknow, 26th May 2023: WRI India participated in the Uttar Pradesh Regional Conclave 2023, a collaborative event organized by the Housing and Urban Planning Department (HUPD) of the Government of Uttar Pradesh and the High-Level Committee (HLC) for Urban Planning formed by the Government of India.

The conclave provided a joint platform for key decision makers, senior bureaucrats and state/city level officials from Government of Uttar Pradesh (GoUP) to come together including Chief Secretary (GoUP), Chairman, HLC – MoHUA and Advisor, Govt of Uttar Pradesh for Urban Sector Improvement; Additional Chief Secretary (Housing and Urban Planning, GoUP), Principal Secretary (Housing and Urban Planning Department, GoUP), Divisional Commissioners and Vice Chairman of relevant development authorities from all 8 divisions of the state. In addition, many national level sectoral experts were also part of these sessions at the Conclave which was attended by a significantly large cohort of state level officers and ULB officers.

Rejeet Mathews (Program Director, Integrated Urban Development) presented an eco-city focused regional analysis for Uttar Pradesh. The presentation focused on how to understand and plan for growing city regions in the context of a changing climate and associated ecological factors and emergent challenges. Pratibha Patil (Program Associate, Urban Development) presented learnings from international case studies on regional planning initiatives in Chicago, Tokyo and Portland. These presentations were able to foreground the need to factor in climate change related risk and variability in shaping decision-making and planning in UP’s city-regions.

With Rejeet Mathews being an expert member of the High-Level Committee (HLC), which was an anchor organization for this conclave, WRI India was prominently part of multiple panels within the conclave. As a part of the closing panel on day two, Mathews also emphasized the importance of transitioning from a project-centric approach to strategic and integrated action plans that create a cross cutting impact and ensure we build cities that can remain liveable and desirable.

WRI India serves as a knowledge partner to the Uttar Pradesh Government’s Town and Country Planning Department (TCPD) and has provided support in strategizing and deliberating the scope, challenges, and opportunities related to regional planning across the city-regions and divisions of the state.

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WRI India and Punjab Municipal Infrastructure Development Company (PMIDC) recently held an inception workshop under the ‘Thriving Eco-City Regions’ initiative in Chandigarh. Chaired by Ms. Isha Kalia, CEO, PMIDC, the workshop brought together diverse stakeholders – different municipal corporations, city administration and PMIDC – on to a common platform to identify prevailing urban challenges and chart pathways that can best address them.

The workshop shed light on -


11th July: Balancing Growth and Ecology: World Population Day Insights from the Palakkad-Coimbatore-Tirupur-Erode-Salem Industrial Corridor

New Delhi, 11th July 2023: On World Population Day, WRI India’s data team took a close look at the Palakkad-Coimbatore-Tirupur-Erode-Salem industrial corridor that traverses the states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala and acts as a polycentric region. This region collectively serves as a key manufacturing and retail hub attracting workforce from across India. With increasing population, the expanded urban agglomeration is now facing associated challenges such as increased water stress and air pollution.

To highlight the direct interconnections between growing population, industrial growth and ecological stress, our team developed a range of maps focusing on population growth, workforce concentration, groundwater development stage and concentration of NO2 in the air.

The maps draw our attention to the fact that economic growth in India’s urban centres offset ecological challenges which need to be addressed in a timely and systemic manner. Unplanned urban expansion stresses the ecologically fragile zones in the region. To understand the relationship between human well-being, cities, and their connected ecosystems, we need to look at impact areas which may fall beyond a city’s statutory boundary. By adopting an #EcoCityRegions approach, we can foster resilience and achieve long-term sustainability for our rapidly growing urban population.

Click here to read our post on LinkedIn.

17th July 2023: WRI India successfully conducted the session ‘Transitioning to Thriving Eco City-Regions’ at Connect Karo 2023

17th–18th July 2023, New Delhi: WRI India successfully hosted Connect Karo 2023, its annual flagship event that brought together stakeholders from India and abroad to share knowledge and experiences and collaborate on critical environmental and sustainability challenges.

The session ‘Thriving Eco City-Regions’ at #ConnectKaro 2023 brought together national and state level decisionmakers, urban practitioners, and sectoral experts to deliberate on building an #EcoCityRegions approach for Indian city-regions.

We were privileged to have esteemed speakers like Ms. D Thara (Additional Secretary, MoHUA), Mr. Sameer Shisodia (Rainmatter Foundation), Mr. Amitabh Kundu (Senior Fellow at WRI India), Ms. Champaka Rajagopal (Azim Premji University), Ms. Chandrani Bandopadhyay (School of Planning and Architecture), Ms. Olga Chepelianskaia (UNICITI) and Ms. Manushi Ashok Jain (Sponge Collaborative) share their insights during the session.

Moderated by Rejeet Mathews (Director – Integrated Urban Development, WRI India) and Samrat Basak (Director – Water Resilience, WRI India), the session focused on regenerative pathways for urban growth, and shed light on the challenges of striking the right balance between economic growth, well-being, natural resources and ecology.

Here are the key takeaways from the session:

  1. Understanding Actual Impact Areas: The sustenance and growth of our cities is directly interlinked to surrounding areas which may fall outside their administrative boundaries.
  2. Need for Ecological Templates: The carrying capacity of a region is dictated by its blue-green infrastructure, we need to create an ecology template for all projects and align with existing/potential goals and objectives.
  3. Collaboration and Co-Creation: We must consider vertical synergies from macro to micro scales and horizontal synergies across administrative bodies and ministries.
  4. Creative Incentivizing Mechanisms: This will encourage cooperation and collaboration among different municipalities, including urban, peri-urban, and rural areas.
  5. Data Transparency: We need stronger protocols on data sharing and data analytics to solve specific problems.
  6. Building Capacity and Awareness: We need knowledge sharing at a scale and we must also involve students. We must look at raising awareness and sensitising all stakeholders in the value chain, right down to the contractor who looks at the bottom line.

Connect Karo 2023 also convened plenaries on themes like Transformative Urbanization and Green Development as well as specific sessions on Climate Action, Responsible Energy, Clean Energy Transition, Energy for Health, Financing Clean Energy, Carbon Markets, Green Hydrogen Technologies, Food Loss and Waste, Healthy Public Spaces, Water Security, Water Resilience, Transit-Oriented Development and Transport Efficiencies in E-Bus Initiatives.

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1 August 2023: Empowering Change Makers: Jalandhar Smart Cities Limited Launches Eco City-Region Fellowship with knowledge support from WRI India

Jalandhar, 1st August 2023: Jalandhar Smart Cities Limited (JSCL) has launched the Eco City-Region Fellowship – 11–month program that will empower 12 fellows and give them insights on urban government systems. WRI India is supporting JSCL as a knowledge partner, to collaboratively plan, design, and implement the Jalandhar Eco City-Region Fellowship.

The chosen fellows under the TULIP program will be involved in various projects, such as urban blue-green systems, solid waste management, GIS-supported urban planning, community awareness building, and stakeholder engagement. Additionally, they will have the chance to collaborate with peers and stakeholders from the government and civil society to conduct action research aimed at enhancing Jalandhar’s resilience and livability.

Addressing the fellows, Abhijeet Kaplish, Commissioner of Municipal Corporation Jalandhar & CEO of JSCL said, “We will aim at strengthening the young fellows’ technical skills that will help them best address the identified challenges in the city. I believe they can learn a lot from WRI India’s mentors. I would also advise the fellows to work more on the ground and regularly engage with local communities that they will be working with.”

Speaking at the launch, Samrat Basak, Director – Water Resilience, WRI India, highlighted the importance of thinking through an ecological resilience lens and the need to include gender equality, disability, and social inclusion (GEDSI) in the project frameworks.

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30th August: WRI India Launches a Map Explorer to Explore the Impacts of Urbanization on Natural Infrastructure Across Indian cities

New Delhi, 30th August 2023: Urbanization in India often occurs at the cost of ecologically sensitive zones, natural infrastructure, and permeable open spaces to create developed, saleable land. In our publication ‘Urban Blue Green Conundrum: A 10-City Study on the Impacts of Urbanization on Natural Infrastructure in India’, we utilized Google Earth and Google Earth Engine open-source, high-resolution satellite imagery, to estimate the historical changes in the spatial extent of built-up areas and natural features, (water bodies, green cover, and permeable open spaces), across the 10 most densely populated city-regions of India between year 2000 and 2015.

We are delighted to announce the launch of our new Map Explorer based on this research. Now one can easily explore the correlations between built-up area and natural infrastructure changes across India’s 10 most populated cities, at the click of a button.

The Map Explorer lets you explore layered changes in five categories – Built-up Area, Blue Cover Change, Vegetation Trend and Groundwater Recharge Potential. It also features insights on water loss, blue cover change, peri-urban agriculture and groundwater stress. Click the link to explore.

To read the full publication, click here.

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30th August: WRI India Supports and Mentors 12 Fellows Under the Eco City-Region Fellowship Jalandhar

Jalandhar, 30th August 2023: Since its launch on August 1st, the Eco City-Region Fellowship Jalandhar (ECRFJ), hosted by Smart City Jalandhar Limited and supported by WRI India, has provided a medium to empower young leaders and embed them closely into the process of building a sustainable future for their communities.

The fellowship has made significant progress with fellows undertaking multiple field visits, taking on their professional projects such as field surveys for pond revival and recharge using treated wastewater, mapping accessibility to services in informal settlements, strategizing to improve solid waste management in the city by interacting with varied stakeholders in Jalandhar.

One of the highlights of this fellowship has been the initiation of mentor-fellow collaborations. Each fellow is supported by mentors from Municipal Corporation Jalandhar, Jalandhar Smart City Limited, and WRI India. 5 mentors provide guidance to fellows on sectoral issues while also giving them opportunities to discuss ongoing initiatives, potential projects and fellows’ aspirations in a structured format weekly. Additionally, a training session is organized every week to deep dive into one particular topic, facilitated by subject matter experts.

The session on ‘Research Ethics’, led by Shahana Chattaraj (Director – Research, Data and Innovation, WRI India), on 17th August sensitized the fellows on the importance of ethical considerations in research. The ‘Research Methodology’ session, on 24th August featuring Ms. Sahana Goswami (Senior Program Manager – Water Resilience, WRI India), equipped the fellows with advanced concepts in research methodology. It introduced the fellows to research tools and methods as well higher-order thinking skills, such as analysis, evaluation, and creation, allowing the fellows to critically assess their own research designs and ideas for supporting transitions towards eco city-regions. The journey also included a workshop on ‘Basics of Communications, led by Ms. Rashmi Mishra (Senior Program Associate – Communications, WRI India) on 5th September. Fellows left with a deep understanding of good messaging practices, audience identification, content planning, and effective utilization of communication channels.

In the last one month, the Jalandhar Eco City-Region Fellowship’s journey has been marked by growth, collaboration, and learning. The fellowship’s commitment to nurturing responsible innovation and ethical research practices is evident in the knowledge and skills the fellows have acquired. As they continue their journey, they carry with them some of tools and insights needed to make a tangible impact in the field of sustainable urban development in Jalandhar.


15th September 2023: WRI India Kickstarts ‘MANTHAN’ Sessions for Understanding of Urban Development and Sustainability Challenges

Jalandhar: The MANTHAN 1.0 meeting was dedicated to fostering knowledge exchange, problem-solving, and collaboration among the Jalandhar Eco City-Regions Fellows through –

Diverse Discussions: We covered a wide range of topics related to urban development and sustainability in Jalandhar. These discussions encompassed crucial issues such as pedestrianization, solid waste management bye-laws, revamping of Beant Singh Park, and Mithapur Stadium’s landscape design.

Meaningful Dialogue: The meeting facilitated meaningful dialogue between ECR Fellows and Ms Sindhuja Janakiraman, WRI India. Follow-up sessions are being planned to develop comprehensive solutions to address these critical urban development and sustainability challenges.

MANTHAN 2.0 was another important gathering dedicated to addressing pressing challenges in Jalandhar. The key objectives of this meeting included:

Solid Waste Management Strategy: Participants provided inputs on preparing a well-defined strategy and framework for addressing solid waste management issues in Jalandhar. This included identifying key parameters and relevant resources, as recommended by Sahana Goswami of WRI India.

Enhancing Accessibility of Niku Park: The meeting also offered clear guidance on making Niku Park in Jalandhar more accessible for differently abled individuals. This involved adopting a research-driven approach and taking initial steps toward developing a city-level policy to ensure inclusivity.

MANTHAN sessions are a productive forum that supports ECR Fellows in diving deeply into pressing issues and exploring potential solutions collectively.

25th September 2023: World Rivers Day Focus - Looking at Built-Up Area Growth in Flood Plain Areas of Kashmir Valley

Many parts of the world are witnessing widespread flooding, stressing the critical need to better understand the underlying causes behind these tragic occurrences. On World Rivers Day, WRI India’s GeoAnalytics team looked at the Jhelum River in the Kashmir valley.

This intermontane valley, nestled within a fragile ecosystem, faces high risks of both flooding and seismic activity. Over the past two decades the area has seen a rapid increase in urban built–up – on lakebeds, connected wetlands and floodplains.

Unplanned urban expansion, in eco-sensitive regions, deepens fault lines even as concretization on floodplains reduces the carrying capacity of rivers and streams, exacerbating urban flooding. We conveyed how adopting an #EcoCityRegions lens, that takes a systems approach to understand the impacts and footprints of city-regions, can help us to deepen our relationship with rivers and their connected ecosystems.

Click here to read our post on LinkedIn.

26th September 2023: WRI India team interacts with Pablo Lazo, Global Director, Urban Development, World Resources Institute on Eco City-Regions Approach

New Delhi: Pablo Lazo, Global Director, Urban Development, World Resources Institute recently interacted with the WRI India team and shared insights on developing the #EcoCityRegions approaches for Indian cities and city regions.

With over two decades of experience in overseeing extensive urban regeneration projects in Latin America and China, Mr. Lazo discussed sponge city projects and associated implementation challenges and scalability opportunities.

Drawing from his prior experiences, he spoke about -

:arrow_right: The importance of partnering with local communities in developmental projects.
:arrow_right: Improving uptake by centering the narrative around the consequences and impacts of such initiatives.
:arrow_right: The value of developing cost-benefit analysis to ascertain the costs city-regions will have to bear if they continue with a business-as-usual (BAU) approach.
:arrow_right: The need to mainstream climate positive actions within urban decision making.

30th September 2023: Eco City-Regions Fellows Move Forward with Smart City Projects, with Support from WRI India’s #ExpertTalks

Jalandhar: After the successful launch of the Eco City-Region Fellowship Jalandhar (ECRFJ), hosted by Smart City Jalandhar Limited and supported by WRI India, we have been hosting a series of #ExpertTalks aimed to foster collaboration, knowledge exchange, and problem-solving among fellows while addressing a wide array of challenges within the smart city framework in Jalandhar.

The first session in September helped the fellows take up specific smart city projects. These included projects related to parks, Kala Sanghiann, bulk waste generators, solid waste management plan, Guru Nanak Dev Library, Smart Road and Parking, GIS data layer generation, and biodiversity Parks. This diversity highlighted the comprehensive nature of the smart city development approach in Jalandhar.

To ensure the success of these projects, Mr. Surjit Saini, an expert from Jalandhar Smart City Limited and Mr. Rishab Gaba, WRI India, played a crucial role in guiding the Fellows. Their expertise provided valuable insights and direction to the Fellows as they embarked on their respective projects.

The second session in September was a comprehensive discussion focused on the Integrated Command and Control Center (ICCC) project in Jalandhar. A key speaker from Ernst & Young, Mr. Amit Prajapati, shared insights and expertise related to the ICCC project. His contribution was instrumental in guiding the discussions.

The meeting aimed to develop a collaborative roadmap for addressing key challenges and opportunities within the ICCC project and Jalandhar’s broader smart city initiatives. This roadmap was created through collective insights, shared expertise, and collaborative discussions among participants

2nd October 2023: World Habitat Day - Looking at Migration Patterns and Migrants’ Exposure to Diverse Climate Risks

In a rapidly urbanizing world, cities have emerged as growth engines. Today they are becoming job magnets attracting thousands of people each year. On this #WorldHabitatDay, we looked at major job centers in Tamil Nadu and pattern of inter-city and inter-state migrations. Additionally, we spatialized data on precipitation patterns and exposure to heat stress within Tamil Nadu to understand how it impacts the major employment hubs and destinations favored for work opportunities.

Our maps highlighted that while urban economies concentrate a significant share of these migrants, those who migrate to these locations are simultaneously also being exposed to newer dimensions and degree of climate risks like extreme heat and heavy precipitation.

This analysis reinforced the point that in trying to make our cities grow into resilient urban economies, they don’t merely need to improve job opportunities, but also ensure secure shelter and decent quality of life for its workforce. Our #EcoCityRegions approach envisages creation of more livable cities through improved access to urban services, open spaces and opportunities which can together enhance urban resilience.


@Palluyir_Trust Yuvan, this might be of interest

11th-14th October 2023: WRI India Team Visits Bodoland Territorial Region (BTR), Engages with Government Officials and Regional Stakeholders

WRI India team members undertook a 4-day visit to Bodoland Territorial Region (BTR) where team members engaged with the Hon’ble Chief of Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC), Parmod Boro, key government officials like Executive Member, Head of Urban Development Department and Secretary, Forests and Environment department in addition to regional stakeholders and municipal chairpersons from all districts to gain insights into the unique characteristics and context of BTR and discuss the way forward for a long-term partnership.

Government officials extended a warm welcome to Neha Lal (Managar, Sustainable Cities and Transport), Raj Bhagat Palanichamy (Senior Program Manager - Geo Analytics), Pratibha Patil (Program Associate, Sustainable Cities and Transport) and Krishna Kumar (Junior Program Associate) from WRI India who then presented an ecocity lens to regional context of BTR such as employment patterns, flood risk, land use and cover, demography etc. to build a spatial perspective of BTR. The team also proposed areas of collaboration for the partnership based on needs and challenges discussed amongst the stakeholders.

Located between the Himalayan foothills and the riverine landscape dominated by the Brahmaputra River, BTR offers a unique geography and regional ecology that determine its food, livelihoods, socio-cultural practices and exposure to climate risks. Under the BTC, the Bodoland Territorial Region is looking to accelerate growth in the region for a peaceful, smart and green Bodoland.

This visit was part of the #ThrivingEcoCityRegions initiative, through which we will be supporting Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) in co-creating a regional strategy and improve its capacity to implement change. Our team met officials from the Urban Development Department and Forest and Environment department to discuss issues, challenges and potential ways to achieve the goals of ecological conservation and sustainable regional development through climate positive actions.