In observance of this year’s World Habitat Day (WHD) theme 'Resilient Urban Economies: Cities as Drivers of Growth and Recovery,’ we invite you to a thought-provoking event that addresses the critical issue of climate change and economic resilience in Mumbai. It will closely examine Mumbai's vulnerability to climate change, emphasizing the far-reaching economic and social consequences of these challenges.
Our panel of experts will draw upon their diverse backgrounds in policy, research, and the arts to explore how citizens can play a pivotal role in safeguarding our city's future through active community engagement, innovative advocacy, sustainable financing, and other impactful interventions, turning Mumbai into a beacon of sustainable urban living.
Join us in this collective effort, as we unite to lead the way towards a climate-resilient Mumbai.
P.K. Das is popularly known as an Architect-Activist. His priority has been to establish a very close relation between architecture and people by involving them in a participatory planning process. His wide spectrum of work includes organizing slum dwellers fro better living and evolving affordable housing models, engaging in policy framework for mass housing, reclaiming public space in Mumbai by developing the waterfronts, re-envisioning the city and the open spaces of Mumbai, urban renewal and conservation projects along with an architectural practice involving urban planning, urban design, architecture and interior design assignments across the country. He hopes to integrate architecture and democracy to bring about desired social change in the country.Read more
Kunal Khanna is an economist by training, but has well and truly adopted the ways of permaculture which now guides his approach to everything he is involved in. He spent his early professional years in Melbourne, Australia where he was the Catalyst at the Innovations Lab at the City of Melbourne where he bought ideas, people, infrastructure and data, to explore potential solutions to urban environmental issues and improve city services. In 2020, Kunal founded the All Living Things Environment Film Festival or ALT EFF, a platform that inspires and mobilizes communities to take action towards creating a sustainable future. Now in its fourth year, ALT EFF uses the medium of film to create awareness accompanied with conversations and workshops to drive impact. Under Kunal's leadership, it has become the largest film festival of its kind in India reaching an audience of over 20,000, and a footprint with events and activations in 12+ cities and towns.Read more
Lubaina Rangawala is Program Head, Urban Development and Resilience with the Sustainable Cities and Transport team at WRI India. She has been associated with the institute for nine years. Her current work focuses on green infrastructure projects, nature-based solutions to address long-term climate risk in Indian cities, and working with vulnerable communities to build their resilience capacities. She is currently involved in climate action plans, disaster management and flood mitigation measures in Indian cities. At WRI, Lubaina led the development of a global tool called the Urban Community Resilience Assessment, and continues to address issues of gender, equity, diversity and inclusion in city resilience plans. Lubaina started her career as a researcher and visiting lecturer at two architecture schools in Mumbai. She worked with the KRVIA design cell on projects affiliated with the Mumbai Transformation Support Unit (MTSU) and the World Bank. During her short stint at the City of Emeryville, California, USA she helped set up the online building approvals portal, and worked with the City of Berkeley on local economic development strategies in low-income neighborhoods of South Berkeley. Lubaina is an Urban Planner and Architect from Mumbai, with over 14 years of work experience in India and the United States. She earned her undergraduate degree in architecture from the Kamla Raheja Vidyanidhi Institute for Architecture (KRVIA), Mumbai University, and a dual master’s in Architecture and City and Regional Planning from the University of California, Berkeley, USA, with a focus on housing, community, and economic development.Read more
Meghana AT is a theatre artist and a theatre addict, who works as an actor, writer, director, producer, pedagogue. She has worked in Mumbai’s theatre circuit since 2012. She has collaborated with several theatre artists including Mahesh Dattani, Trishla Patel, Rehaan Engineer, Quasar Thakore Padamsee, Faezeh Jalali among others. She has a Master’s in Authorial Creativity and Pedagogy from The Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. As the founder of tafreehwale, she aims to build a space for playfulness, research, pedagogy, and activism.Read more
Vaishnavi Chandrashekhar is an award-winning journalist based in Mumbai. She has worked as an editor and reporter across media for more than two decades, including at the Christian Science Monitor in Boston and The Times of India in Mumbai. Over the years, she has reported on everything from culture to economy but specialises in issues related to science, environment, and development. Her work has appeared in The Guardian, The Atlantic, Science, Yale E360, and the New York Times, among others. She has a master's in science journalism from Columbia University in New York.Read more
World Habitat Day
The first Monday of October each year is celebrated as World Habitat Day to reflect on the state of our habitats and the fundamental right of all adequate shelter designated by the United Nations. The Day is also intended to remind the world that we all have the power and the responsibility to shape the future of our cities and towns. The first World Habitat Day was celebrated in 1986 with the theme “Shelter is My Right”. It continues to be celebrated with the objective of reminding the world of the collective responsibility for the future of human habitat.
Economy: Cities as drivers of growth and recovery
The theme for World Habitat Day 2023 is Resilient Urban Economy: Cities as drivers of growth and recovery. The growth of the global economy has declined to about 2.5% which is the weakest growth experienced since 2001, apart from the initial COVID-19 crisis in 2020 and the global financial crisis in 2009 (IMF, 2023), The cities across the globe create value and boost economic recovery. According to the UN-Habitat Report 2022 given the size of the contribution of cities to the national economy, the future of many countries will be determined by the productivity of its urban areas. Hence to ensure sustainable economic growth and recovery cities need to embark on various models that will help them absorb, recover, and prepare for future economic shocks.
Impact of Climate Change on Mumbai
Mumbai’s land has evolved from seven islands to what is now known as Greater Mumbai due to massive land reclamation and rapid development over the centuries. This reclamation has happened at the cost of the city’s diverse and thriving coastal ecosystems including the mangroves, mudflats, coral reefs, creeks, and estuaries. Mumbai and its people have been withstanding the aftereffects of the rise of cyclones in the Arabian Sea, leading to increased flooding, and a rise in seawater levels, and many communities like the Koli have a huge impact on their livelihoods too. The city is undergoing many urban infrastructural development projects to fulfill the needs of the rapidly expanding population and their needs, one such project is the Coastal Road across the western coastline of Mumbai which also has an impact on the environment.
Climate Change Mitigation in Mumbai
Past few years,
several measures have been adopted to reduce the impact of climate action,
especially due to rising sea levels and flooding. The Mumba Climate Action Plan
was proposed in 2022 by the Maharashtra Government with support from the C40
Cities initiative. It aimed to mediate the ambitious goals of
the Paris Climate Agreement at a local level like 97 other megacities across
the globe. It also recognizes the unbalanced impact of climate change-induced
hazards on vulnerable communities such as the Kolis and discusses ways to
strengthen their resilience. There are many small organizations like Aarey
Conservation Group, Earth5R, Beach Please, Green Yatra, and Vanashakti working
at various levels and domains to fight the impact of climate change in Mumbai.