Peri-Urban Ecosystems and Urban Resilience

Published in 2021 | Type: Case Study
The peri-urban is a fast-changing, semi-natural ecosystem which provides natural resources for growing cities in terms of water bodies, open and green lands, and orchards. Peri-urbanisation leads to usurpation of ecologically sensitive lands for housing and other construction activities. These change the face of agriculture, reduce open spaces, enhance pressure on natural resources like water. These areas are marked by a lack of hygiene and sanitation infrastructure, industrial effluence, air pollution and inadequate provision of basic services. Often, the solid waste of a city is dumped in peri-urban areas.

The resilience of most of the secondary cities in India is threatened with the decline of ecosystem services. With rapid land-use changes and an economic shift from agriculture to urban development, small-scale and marginal farmers in peri-urban areas, whose practices provide redundancy to urban food production, are on the brink of collapse. The diversity of peri-urban agriculture, including its ability to provide food in periods of floods and waterlogging, is an example of how the provisioning services of ecosystems help in developing the flexibility of hard systems.

Peri-urban ecosystems are increasingly at risk of degradation and loss as natural resource consumption and waste in peri-urban areas increase due to rapid urbanization and increasing human activity. Cities do not operate in isolation but within a “sphere of dependence” on surrounding areas and their ecosystems. As such, the degradation of these ecosystems results in loss of ecosystem services that support urban and peri-urban populations.

This Knowledge Compendium is a collection of case studies from different cities in India which establishes the important connect between the role of peri urban ecosystems and urban resilience.

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