Uri Friedman – 70% Of India Has Yet To Be Built

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IndiaASPEN, Colo.—We don’t typically see an upside to slums—the squalid, makeshift settlements that house one-third of the urban population in developing countries. But not everyone’s so glum. The economist Edward Glaeser, for instance, has argued that slums don’t make people poor, but rather attract and inspire poor people seeking a better life in the city.

Shirish Sankhe, a director in McKinsey’s Mumbai office, offers more cause for optimism. For him, slums are cities waiting to be built. By that, he doesn’t necessarily mean newcities conjured from scratch, like China’s “ghost cities.” Instead, he means developing the sophisticated infrastructure that India’s furious urbanization demands. If and when these cities are built, they can be conceived as 21st-century metropolises, equipped to meet modern challenges like climate change in ways that established cities like New York can’t be.

Three hundred million Indians are expected to move to urban areas over the next 20 years, Sankhe noted during a panel discussion on Saturday at the Aspen Ideas Festival, which is organized by the Aspen Institute and The Atlantic. That means India will be 40-percent urban by 2030 (more than 60 million Indians already live in slums).

Read more: http://m.theatlantic.com/70-percent-of-india-has-yet-to-be-built

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