Influence of Urban Forms on Social Sustainability: A case of Guwahati, Assam

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The social dimension of sustainability and the extent to which the physical form of cities may foster it, is gaining importance in the international sustainable urban development context, however in India, the concept remains poorly conceived. New approaches and tools at policy, design and implementation levels are highly biased towards environmental and economic sustainability, ignoring the social dimension which is fundamental to the character of Indian cities. This narrow focus coupled with massive and inequitable urban growth has resulted in social crises often evident in the cities physical forms posing critical challenges to sustainable urban future. Past investigations in the western context have also remained less satisfactory, further raising concerns about their applicability to the developing world cities which face essentially different urbanisation challenges and socio-cultural shifts. As India prepares itself to become an urban majority in 2050 by giving shape to its futuristic smart cities, there is clearly a pressing need to develop stronger empirical evidence about the influence of urban forms on social sustainability that links to sustainable designs, policies and practices. This research therefore, tests the influence of urban form components (open spatial-network, land-use, density, blocks and built-components) on six aspects of social sustainability using both, qualitative and quantitative strategies, which are calibrated and validated for Guwahati, the dominant city of North-East region of India. It asks: Do urban forms (at neighbourhood and block-segments scales)
Supervisor: Amarendra Kumar Das