Carbon Intensive Urbanization, Climate Variability and Urban Vulnerabilities in Hill Areas : A Case of Gangtok Urban Region, Sikkim <Articles>
JIDC_18-4_93.pdf 5.14 MB
Acharya, Shrawan Kumar
Rapid high carbon intensive urbanization is one of the important concerns in the environmental and global warming debates in the context of environmentally fragile and sensitive areas like the Himalayas. Rapid urbanization and urban growth leads to rapid destruction of green infrastructure, high emission of GHG from transportation, construction, manufacturing and associated sectors. High waste generation and improper management and disposal of the waste further aggravate the problem. The ecological footprints of supplying food and basic services like water along with the destruction and deterioration of other eco system services makes the urban areas vulnerable to hazards and climate impacts both in the short and the long term. The problems get further accentuated because of poor regional and urban planning practices and weak implementation of planning bye laws and development control regulations. All these have significant impact on the local climate, including heat island effects leading to increased variability and intensity of rainfall, temperature and humidity. As a result the urban areas become more vulnerable to hazards, disasters and epidemics and disease. Under such circumstances vulnerability mapping and evolving response and coping mechanism by internalizing them in sustainable habitat planning and development practices becomes important. Taking action to mitigate the problem is important but equally important is to evolve adaptation strategies which are locally conducive. The paper intends to understand these issues with respect to Gangtok Urban region using the available census and other statistical information. Attempt has been made to understand the weather, climate variability over the last few decades in the region and document the history of hazards and disasters through secondary literature. The study also focuses on the impacts of rapid urban growth on the local environment and its impact on eco system services. To what extent planning and urban management practices have tried to address these concerns have been explored by reviewing existing plan documents, bye laws and their implementation mechanism. Based on these analyses the study highlights vulnerabilities in Gangtok urban region and suggest coping mechanisms and strategies at the local and state level to address urban vulnerabilities in Sikkim.