Resource requirements of inclusive urban development in India: Insights from ten cities

Ajay Singh Nagpure, Mark Reiner, Anu Ramaswami

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


This paper develops a methodology to assess the resource requirements of inclusive urban development in India and compares those requirements to current community-wide material and energy flows. Methods include: (a) identifying minimum service level benchmarks for the provision of infrastructure services including housing, electricity and clean cooking fuels; (b) assessing the percentage of homes that lack access to infrastructure or that consume infrastructure services below the identified benchmarks; (c) quantifying the material requirements to provide basic infrastructure services using India-specific design data; and (d) computing material and energy requirements for inclusive development and comparing it with current community-wide material and energy flows. Applying the method to ten Indian cities, we find that: 1%-6% of households do not have electricity, 14%-71% use electricity below the benchmark of 25 kWh capita-month-1; 4%-16% lack structurally sound housing; 50%-75% live in floor area less than the benchmark of 8.75 m2 floor area/capita; 10%-65% lack clean cooking fuel; and 6%-60% lack connection to a sewerage system. Across the ten cities examined, to provide basic electricity (25 kWh capita-month-1) to all will require an addition of only 1%-10% in current community-wide electricity use. To provide basic clean LPG fuel (1.2 kg capita-month-1) to all requires an increase of 5%-40% in current community-wide LPG use. Providing permanent shelter (implemented over a ten year period) to populations living in non-permanent housing in Delhi and Chandigarh would require a 6%-14% increase over current annual community-wide cement use. Conversely, to provide permanent housing to all people living in structurally unsound housing and those living in overcrowded housing (<5 m cap-2) would require 32%-115% of current community-wide cement flows. Except for the last scenario, these results suggest that social policies that seek to provide basic infrastructure provisioning for all residents would not dramatically increasing current community-wide resource flows.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number025010
JournalEnvironmental Research Letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2018
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • General Environmental Science
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


  • clean fuels
  • electricity
  • inclusive development
  • infrastructure
  • material use
  • slum


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