Working PaperCitiesRegion & Country Studies

Better Cities, Better Growth: India’s Urban Opportunity

Meenu Tewari, Nick Godfrey

India is experiencing an urban transformation. Given the rapidity of change and the long-lived nature of urban form and infrastructure, the decisions that India’s policy-makers take in the next 5–15 years will lock in its urban pathway for decades to come.


Meenu Tewari UNC, ICRIER

Nick Godfrey NCE, Coalition for Urban Transitions


November 2016

This report provides new analysis across 479 Indian cities – using an innovative combination of satellite data of night-time lights, census, environmental, and economic data – which demonstrates a clear link between more compact, connected urban growth and stronger economic performance in India, corroborating global findings.

India can foster a better urbanisation – one that promotes more rapid economic transformation, improves the quality of life of city dwellers, and curbs the potential harmful spillovers of urbanisation, such as congestion, wasteful energy use, and unwanted pollution. Better, smarter urban growth could be an economic opportunity for India worth up to 6% of GDP by mid-century, with significant savings at the household level.

Note: Some of the research cited in this paper is from forthcoming academic publications. We will provide the link as soon as possible.

For more information on the New Climate Economy’s special initiative on cities, see the website for the Coalition for Urban Transitions.

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