Urban Metabolism

A great concept that can be used by Indian cities to compare their carbon footprint.

Green.view  >> Urban metabolism

Sep 28th 2009  From

Cities can learn from comparing their carbon footprints

HOW and why do greenhouse-gas emissions differ between cities? Since more than half of the world’s people now live in such metropolitan areas, that is an important question. If the worst could copy the habits of the best, climate change might be slowed significantly.

To address this question a team of researchers led by Christopher Kennedy of the University of Toronto has compared the emissions of ten conurbations. Four were in North America (Denver City and County, Los Angeles County, New York City and the Greater Toronto Area). Four were in Europe (Barcelona City, the Canton of Geneva, the Greater London Authority area and the Greater Prague Region). The other two were in Asia (Bangkok) and Africa (Cape Town).



Dr Kennedy and his colleagues tried to quantify the contributions of heating, transport and waste disposal, among other things, to the emission of greenhouse gases in each of these cities, and to calculate the emissions per person that resulted. They also included in their calculations some emissions that took place outside the city limits, such as those associated with the production of fuel that was consumed in the cities in question.

Environment and Climate

Greenwashing in the time of climate change

By Mallika Sarabhai / DNA

If someone were to ask you, which route you preferred while travelling from Delhi to Chennai, the options being via Jammu and via Chandigarh, what would your response be? If someone asked a poor village whether she preferred milk with four per cent fat to that with three per cent, what would her answer be? If someone asked a friend whether, in case he developed cancer, he would prefer cancer of the lungs or the stomach, what would his answer be?

Some questions are stupid, not because their answers will be stupid, but because the framing of the question itself is faulty. The current backslapping and self-congratulatory award functions organised by the "green" building lobby and the institutions that certify the depth of the greenness of the buildings, remind me of questions like these.

Architecture Cities

The Egg Comes to Mumbai: James Law and Cybertecture

Bindu Gopal Rao speaks to James Law, known across the globe for cybertecture. After the Pad Tower in Dubai, he is now coming up with a cybertecture egg in Mumbai, a unique project built without a single column.

“My career has been nothing less than an adventure,” declares James Law, Chairman and Chief Cybertect of James Law Cybertecture International. This company founded in 2001 offers services including architecture, master planning, interiors, multimedia, information technology and strategic planning, based on a first-of-its-kind platform called Cybertecture. Excerpts from an exclusive interview with DH Realty.

On his journey

I believe that in the limited time we are here we should be lucky to find our innate talent and use it to improve others’ lives by designing buildings and cities. Post my studies at UK, I went to Japan at the beginning of the 90s and began to realise that using a creative mind and technology would be the way forward. My aim is to be a visionary and an innovator and offer a new way of doing things and changing the old order. 

realty-5 In fact, I started my company on January 1, 2001 – a date 01/01/01 to signify a new millennium and a new way of thinking. Today we have offices in Hong Kong, Dubai and Mumbai. When I started there were challenges as no one was willing to give me a project but I was clear that we must plan for the future. However the challenge to translate ideas into action and reach out to a critical mass is what makes this journey thoroughly enjoyable.

Concept of Cybertecture

In the old days construction material was glass, wood, stone and concrete. Today’s new age world has changed with invisible information, interactivity with Information technology (IT), information on the Internet and the collective power of new sciences.

I really see no difference between an iPhone and a building or why a building cannot keep us safe.

Architecture Design

Bobby Mukherjee : Sad State of Indian Architecture

Indian architecture scene is sad, rues Aamby Valley architect

By Shilpa Raina for Thaindian.

He is the man who recreated the luxurious living experience of America’s Beverly Hills with the famous Aamby Valley project in Maharashtra. But Bobby Mukherji believes that post-independence Indian architecture has little to be proud of.

“We have shown people enough monuments and architecture from history, but what have we done after independence? Nothing! If you look around, we lure the West with monuments made in the Moghul era. After that it’s zilch,” Mukherji, who is in his 30s, told IANS.

“I would like to do something for today,” he said.

Perhaps he already has – by designing the master plan of Aamby Valley in Lonavala, Maharashtra, which is spread over 10,000 acres of land and offers all facets of luxury living. It took shape during 1998-2003.

Environment and Climate

Mumbai Garbage Dump Gets Rs 26 Crore In Carbon Credits

In a landmark for carbon financing in India, the municipal corporation of Greater Mumbai has earned Rs 26 crore for the scientific closure of a garbage dumping ground.

The cheque from the Asia Carbon Fund of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) is an advance for future delivery of carbon credits. The money essentially is for the capture and combustion of methane gas emanating from the dump which results in a substantial reduction of greenhouse emissions. Before giving the money though, the ADB had the project scrutinised by independent validators.

Carbon credit consultants say the deal is one of the largest Carbon advances under the Clean Development Mechanism to a municipal corporation. "We hope to earn a total of Rs 73 crores from the Gorai dumping ground carbon credits, which would be Rs 11 crores above the entire cost of the project,” said additional municipal commissioner R A Rajeev, who drove the project from start to finish.

Environment and Climate

India’s Actions Provide More Hope for Copenhagen Climate Talks

By Jacob Scherr

At the United Nations Summit on Climate Change this morning, President Obama spoke about the importance of assisting developing countries on adaptation and technology.  He also reiterated the need for developing countries with rapidly growing emissions to "commit to strong measures at home and agree to stand behind those commitments just as the developed nations must stand behind their own."  Over the last several days, one of those nations – India – has made a number of dramatic moves in that direction.

India recently announced it would quantify the emissions cuts it will make under its ambitious National Action Plan on Climate Change (see my colleague Anjali Jaiswal’s blog.).  Last Friday, India’s Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh explained in a talk at Columbia University that: "I am telling the world, because climate change is important for me… I am prepared to take on, voluntarily, unilaterally, mitigation actions as part of a domestic legislative agenda."     


The Changing Skyline of Mumbai

Mumbai Towers by Aruna Rathod  for the BusinessLine

From mill lands to malls and from shanties to skyscrapers, Mumbai’s skyline is changing. In just a matter of months, a string of 50-plus-storey buildings will tower up in the heart of the metropolis. Take, for instance, areas like Lalbaug, Parel and Sewri, which until a few years ago were middle-class settlements housing mill workers and lower income groups, but now have apartments that cost upwards of Rs 5 crore.

Lower Parel itself is in the middle of a metamorphosis, with old dilapidated structures being pulled down to make way for sprawling malls, glossy office buildings and skyscrapers to house the well-heeled. Its newest landmark is the 65-storey Indiabulls Sky, offering ‘private residences’ with all the attendant luxuries, of course at a price. Just a stone’s throw away, the 75-storey Jupiter Mills Tower is coming up as also the 80-storey Raheja Platinum and Waves buildings in Worli, followed closely by the 65-storey Dynamix-Balwas project at Marine Lines, and the 60-storey twin towers in Tardeo. The 45-storey Shreepati Arcade at Nana Chowk, which was the tallest building in the country until a few years ago, is already way behind in the reach-for-the-sky race.

Cities Events News

CTBUH 2010 World Conference in Mumbai

3rd – 5th February 2010 | Renaissance Hotel & Convention Center, Mumbai.

150x150_Mumbai Rapid urbanization of developing countries such as India and China over the past decade have resulted in almost 200,000 people migrating from rural to urban regions somewhere on the planet every day (United Nations statistics). This translates into the need for the world to accommodate the equivalent of a new city of one million people every week. How can our existing – or new – urban centers accommodate this growth? The traditional American model of a dense working downtown core and an ever-expanding residential suburb have been generally recognized as an unsustainable model for the future, due to the high energy expenditure of the necessary expanded infrastructure (roads, power, waste etc), the transport commute itself (largely automobile) and the loss of natural greenbelt / landscape for agriculture and ecological balance. Humanity needs to evolve into a more sustainable pattern of existence, and cities need to become denser with more concentrated centers for living,


Indian Green Building Congress Hyderabad

There were two interesting presentations, among others, at the 7th edition of the Green Buildings Congress that commenced in Hyderabad on Thursday. Both were by iconic architects. Vadodara-based Karan Grover and Hong Kong based ‘cybertect’ James Law presented their visions of design at the same venue within a space of a few hours.

The Indian architect is known for his green philosophy and is synonymous with the world heritage site at Champaner while the Chinese cybertect uses imagination and belief to chart out workable design solutions for the future. Their visions dovetail with each other and are yet dissimilar in crucial respects.


“What Makes India Urban?” : Symposium in Berlin


Opening: / Symposium: October 10, 2009

Aedes Network Campus Berlin, Christinenstrasse 18-19, 10119 Berlin

Opening hours: 03:00pm – 07:00pm

The Symposium "What Makes India Urban?" will be held in English.

Please note to kindly sign up for this event until 30th Sept under:



• Hans Jürgen Commerell, Aedes Berlin/Germany

• Anand Patel, Architect/Curator, Ahmedabad/India


“India is undergoing an epochal transformation. From a rural agricultural society it is becoming a largely urban society. The biggest story in India today is the drama of India transforming its cities to accommodate ever larger numbers of people, and, Indians learning how to live in cities and learning to make sense of them. Will India’s cities add to, or address, the difficult environmental problems the world faces? Will India build cities that make the life of all its people more livable, or will it find ever more ingenious ways of excluding the poor from the hope and promise of city life? Will India transform governance of its cities to strengthen the idea of democracy or will it choose a more authoritarian course? Will India teach the world a new way to think of and live in cities? Answers to these questions will determine the fate, not only of India, but of the world as a whole. I suggest that in this symposium, we keep these questions in the forefront. Hopefully, at the end of it we will have a better sense of how, if at all, India is changing the meaning of what it is to be urban.”

Symposium Note by Bimal Patel, August 20, 2009

Bimal Patel will inaugurate the event through a general overview and the introduction of the audience to the leading questions of the symposium. These will be picked up again in the final discussion.