Urbanization in India: creating housing, thinking urban mobility ahead

mobility of the future | Urbanization | In our fast-moving world, urbanization is fundamentally changing the way we live together. Especially rising nations like India are facing unprecedented challenges: How can the huge country reduce inequality, fight housing shortages and smog in its cities, and prepare the overloaded urban transport network for the future all at the same time? We have been looking for answers.

Almost every sixth person on Earth lives in India. That makes 1.3 billion people. For many outsiders, the country is still a symbol of the worldwide population explosion – a prejudice that has been refuted by the nation’s declining population growth for years. India’s real challenge in the present and future is the rapid growth of its cities – urbanization. In 1901, only one in ten Indians lived in the city. By 2030, the UN estimates that more than 40% of Indians could already be living in megacities. And two of the ten largest cities in the world are Indian already today – Delhi and Mumbai.

According to Bloomberg India, India's urban population is expected to rise to 517 million by 2020 and to break the breathtaking 700 million mark by 2050. The country faces major challenges in mastering the rapid pace of urbanization and modernization.
According to Bloomberg India, India's urban population is expected to rise to 517 million by 2020 and to break the breathtaking 700 million mark by 2050. The country faces major challenges in mastering the rapid pace of urbanization and modernization.

Social opposites attract people to move in the city

The growing number of people living in confined spaces has significantly changed the image of India’s cities, both positively and negatively. “In less than thirty years, half of India’s population will live in the cities,” says Bharat Vishnani, Managing Director of thyssenkrupp Elevator in India. “The socio-spatial hierarchy in these ever-expanding cities is growing deeper – even as inequalities of income, access and opportunities remain unarrested.“

The extreme contrasts are already reality today. Indian’s economic hub, Mumbai, is the adopted home of many super-rich people – but the city’s district Dharavi is also the largest slum in Asia. Indians working in cities now generate more than 62 percent of the gross domestic product. At the same time, Delhi’s smog alone is responsible for about 20 to 30 percent of all respiratory diseases in the city. The vital question is: How can India’s cities offer their inhabitants a better life?

The “Smart City” as an answer to urbanization

One thing is clear: Indian politics has recognized the problems of urbanization. The country is participating in the United Nations’ “New Urban Agenda”, which aims to make cities more networked, closer to their citizens and more sustainable in the future. In the “Housing for all” project, the government aims to provide affordable housing even for the poorest – a total of 20 million houses in more than 2,500 cities. And with the “Smart Cities Mission”, more than 100 urban spaces are to be transformed into digitally networked conurbations. “The government‘s ‘Smart Cities Mission‘ holds a lot of expectations,” says Bharat Vishnani. “We are confident that it is able to deliver the right impetus to developments in our housing and infrastructure sector.“

Almost a third of Indians access the Internet exclusively via smartphones. It's a perfect gateway to the Smart City of the future and to digitally connect mobility infrastructure. With its
Almost a third of Indians access the Internet exclusively via smartphones. It's a perfect gateway to the Smart City of the future and to digitally connect mobility infrastructure. With its "Smart Cities" mission, the Indian government wants to make this goal a reality.

Urban mobility: step by step to the “last mile”

In order to improve the quality of the air in the cities for the long term and to give the population living there enough freedom, India must continue to think ahead, especially when it comes to mobility. Where traditional neighborhoods give way to skyscrapers to meet the growing housing demand, innovative transport concepts for local public transport are in urgent need. Above all, this applies to the “last mile”. That are those distances that public transport does not cover – be it the way from the front door to the train station or the way from the subway wagon to the surface. New ideas are also needed for mobility within buildings. Because space-saving high-rise buildings only make sense if the apartments on the top floor can also be reached easily.

MULTI and ACCEL: with thyssenkrupp to a better quality of life

As a technology group with decades of experience in the field of urban mobility, thyssenkrupp is making its contribution to systematically improve the quality of life in India’s megacities. For example, the sideways moving MULTI elevator could make new underground stations with multiple access points at strategic locations possible. And thus enlarge the catchment areas of individual stations. In the long term, the technology even has the potential to reduce the total number of train stations and in turn, the total costs for building new metro lines – not to mention the new possibilities for direct elevator connections from the station to nearby local traffic stops, shopping centers, above-ground traffic hubs or even to the top floors of a high-rise building.

Escalators are fast, durable and proven, making them perfect for underground stations. Their problem: their diagonal design occupies a lot of space in confined subsoil. The ropeless MULTI elevator from thyssenkrupp could overcome the challenge – it can travel not only vertically but also sideways.
Escalators are fast, durable and proven, making them perfect for underground stations. Their problem: their diagonal design occupies a lot of space in confined subsoil. The ropeless MULTI elevator from thyssenkrupp could overcome the challenge – it can travel not only vertically but also sideways.
A new type of transport system with high capacity and particularly high speeds – and without waiting times for the passengers. This has been the demands placed on ACCEL. Because the solution can transport up to 7,300 passengers per hour in one direction alone, waiting times at train stations could soon be a thing of the past.
A new type of transport system with high capacity and particularly high speeds – and without waiting times for the passengers. This has been the demands placed on ACCEL. Because the solution can transport up to 7,300 passengers per hour in one direction alone, waiting times at train stations could soon be a thing of the past.

The MULTI could also carry passengers directly to thyssenkrupp’s ACCEL. The high-speed moving walkway, which like MULTI is based on magnetic levitation technology, brings pedestrians to their desired destination safer and faster than ordinary moving walks, for example the nearest local transport station.

meta100 and enta200: new elevator solutions for vertical living spaces

For mobility within residential buildings, the new meta100 and enta200 elevators are a cost-effective and sustainable solutions to master urbanization. The compact meta100 offers a real alternative for India’s urban planners, due to its low price, design and sustainable features. When developing the enta200, which has the same engine as its relative, the engineers focused on comfort.

“Rapid urbanization shall drive the demand for elevators and escalator in the mega cities, regions and corridors,“ predicts Bharat Vishnani. To develop the world’s fastest-growing and second-largest elevator market, thyssenkrupp built an 84,000-square-meter plant in Pune in the Indian state of Maharashtra. “The facility, rightly called multi-purpose, is a production and logistics center, customer experience center, development campus and product development center in one. It is designed for an initial capacity of manufacturing 6,000 elevator units and extendable to over 10,000 units in the foreseeable future.”

The tasks facing India are manifold. With its support programs, however, the country is showing that it is fighting for a future worth living for all its citizens. We at thyssenkrupp stand shoulder to shoulder with the country and want to help ensure that every Indian has equal chances of a good life – whether in the countryside, the suburbs or in the metropolises.

Many more exciting facts about smart cities, urbanization and the future of our urban mobility can be found on URBAN HUB!

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