Understanding the dynamic changes in India's peri-urban regions and building capacity and resilience in the context of urbanization and climate change
One major theme of the 21st century is intensifying global environmental change, including climate change, which can often have negative impacts on ecosystems, livelihoods, health, and well-being. A second major theme is urbanization. The proportion of those living in cities and peri-urban areas is projected to reach 66% by 2050, with most of the million-plus cities and megacities concentrated on the Indian subcontinent and in China. Peri-urban areas, which are beyond a city's administrative limits but adjacent to it, are transition zones between urbanized pockets and the rural agricultural hinterland. They are also regions where there are resource constraints, and where access to services such as water, energy, transport, and housing is becoming increasingly fragmented as a result of land use change (e.g. the development of gated communities and special economic zones). Such unplanned growth, along with environmental changes, poses serious challenges to sustainable development. Patterns of urban growth vary widely by region, with different consequences for sustainability. In South Asia, peri-urban areas are growing at a much faster pace than many core cities and towns. There is currently no assessment available of the dynamics driving peri-urban change in India. The overall goal of the study is to co-develop a strategy, working closely with stakeholders, for identifying climate-resilient development pathways for peri-urban regions adjacent to Bangalore and Chennai. The research plan is divided into three phases. Phase 1 will serve as a preparatory phase and the results will help set research directions, expansion, and replication in Phases 2 and 3. Working at the intersection of scholarship and action on climate change, peri-urban development, and regional planning, this first phase proposes to initiate the research through a consortium. IDRC is collaborating with the Centre for Study of Technology and Policy at Bangalore, the Indo-German Centre for Sustainability, and the Indian Institute of Technology in Madras, Chennai. The project is funded through the Opportunity Fund of the Think Tank Initiative (TTI), a multi-funder program dedicated to strengthening independent policy research institutions, or think tanks, in developing countries. The program aims to enhance their ability to provide sound research that informs and influences policy. This second TTI phase (2014-2019) will fund 43 institutions, helping them consolidate their role as credible development actors in their countries, and, in some cases, regionally and internationally.