About some two hundred years ago Rousseau, the French philosopher said, “Go back to nature”. The vision was prophetic. People did not see the wisdom in what Rousseau said then. They did the contrary. Lured by the Splendor and glitter of the cities, they migrated enmasse to the urban centres. The result of such exodus of people from the rural areas to the towns and cities are now too apparent to be stated.
Cities today have become so overpopulated that they cannot sustain any further inflow. The cities are now breaking down under the pressure of the overcrowding generated problems. Mankind all over the world is now busy in finding ways to solve these problems, the problems of deprivation, unemployment, crimes, alienation etc.
As per available statistics in America, Europe and Australia about 80 per cent of the populations dwell in cities. In Asia and Africa the population is evenly distributed between the rural and the urban areas. Even in these two continents the balance is being steadily and rapidly disturbed in favor of cities. The population in the cities all over the world is fast increasing. The question that demands an immediate answer is whether cities can sustain the population pressure. The answer, we all know, is a ‘no’. This implies that we have to devise and implement viable schemes to arrest urban population growth and making cities worth living in.
Thinkers and planners of our time have turned their attention to sustainable cities. In order to survive, modern cities have to be socially, economically and environmentally viable. We have to change our attitude towards resource consumption. We have to think of waste management. We have to frame appropriate policies for the purpose. The details of such policies have been laid down by Girardet in this essay.