According to the United Nations report (2019), more than 50% of the world population lived in
urban areas by 2018. Half of the world’s population is contributed by only five
countries, including India. India is estimated to contribute world’s maximum
number of urban dweller of 416 million in the coming 30 years. As per the 2011
census, 31% of India’s population was living in cities. Today, more people are
shifting to urban centres than ever before because cities offer better
opportunities and quality of life. While the total population of India has
doubled in the last 50 years, its urban population has grown by five times.
This rapid urbanization has led to the unplanned growth of the urban area,
which has introduced complex ecological, economic and social changes.
Globally, the implications of climate change in
cities remain an urgent concern. Addressing this, sustainable development goal
number 11 (United Nations,
2015) concentrates on building sustainable
cities, which it specifically defines as cities that are resilient to disaster
and adaptive to climate change. The fifth assessment report of IPCC identifies
urban areas with a ‘very high confidence’ level of risks from increased storms
and extreme precipitation, inland and coastal flooding, drought and water
scarcity (IPCC, 2014). Cities are the first responders in a crisis and
are also the first to experience the threats. Rapidly growing cities, along
with their imminent threats, require an immediate intervention in terms of
redesigning the urban system, policies and governance for sustainable development.
Sustainable and inclusive growth is the key to unravel the true potential of
urbanization. A resilient city considers both the above-mentioned factors.
Flood is one of the most frequent and extensive
natural disasters. About one-third of the world’s population was affected by
floods during 1985–2003. India leads the table among the most flood-affected
countries in the world. Urban areas are likely to be more affected by floods
because of the sheer number of resources and people exposed to them. Among the various
types of floods, urban flooding is a frequent disaster affecting many cities
worldwide. It is becoming more dangerous and costly to manage as the city
grows. As climate change, urbanization, increase in population growth and land
use change takes place, it is an urgent need to understand the urban flood risk
and make flood-resilient cities.
Traditionally, urban flooding is assumed to be an
infrastructural problem and thought to be solved with engineering solutions.
Sometimes such interventions cause more problems as opposed to resolving them.
Moreover, these are cost-intensive, especially for developing countries.
However, conventional engineering does not consider the dynamic of land use
change. For long-term sustainability, a good land use plan is required, which
will consider the forthcoming disaster risks and balance both the present and
future needs. Land use planning is a powerful tool in disaster risk reduction,
thereby increasing the city’s resilience.
Bhubaneswar, one of the first planned cities of
Independent India, has developed rapidly over the decades, making the planning
process clumsy. Because of its topography, Bhubaneswar is more prone to
waterlogging when natural courses are disturbed. Rapid urbanization has
disrupted the hydrological environment of the city’s geographic area. This
research article tries to find the rift in the current practice of land use
planning in Bhubaneswar and explores the plausibility of formulating a flood
resilient spatial plan. There are two objectives of this study. The first
objective is to analyse the existing natural drainage systems in the city with
respect to its immediate land use and its changes over the recent years of
urbanization. The second objective is to assess the urban flood hazard, risk
and socio-economic vulnerability of the city. These two objectives would
collectively help to understand the lacuna in the present methodology and pave
the path to plan a city that can take care of flood risk.