Rapid urbanization has led to severe strains on the world’s natural resources, environment, and society. In turn, ecological and environmental pressures have made cities vulnerable to multiple risks. India, which has so far had a significant rural majority, is expected to house a major part of the world’s urban population by 2050. It is thus imperative for the country to meet the challenges of sustainable urbanization.
The Mumbai Center brings together scientists, planners and policy analysts, social scientists, and humanists to addresses these challenges. This is a cross-cutting theme, researched across several departments at Columbia University. Areas of current faculty research include Air Quality Improvement, Urban Climate Resilience, Disaster Management, Sustainable Land Use, Energy Markets and Policies, and Solid Waste Management.
The Center will continue to partner with a project entitled Cyclone and Storm Surge Risks to Mumbai led by Adam H. Sobel, Professor, Department of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics and Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences. Mumbai has been cited as one of the top 5 megacities to be affected by sea surge due to global warming. The city is also a signatory to the C40 Cities forum for reducing greenhouse gas emissions globally. In addition to hosting relevant lectures and workshops, we plan to develop policy briefs and citizen action plans and extend the work to other areas affected by disaster and climate change.
Air quality in major Indian cities is amongst the worst in the world. Sources of emissions include coal-fired power plants, industry, vehicles, and
agricultural and biomass burning, which contribute to harmful air pollutants and greenhouse gases. Under a President's Global Innovation Fund grant awarded to Professor Ruth DeFries, the Center facilitated a workshop in February, 2016, as a planning activity to initiate long-term collaborations, joint projects, and student exchanges, bringing together an interdisciplinary group of scientists from public health, atmospheric chemistry, and atmospheric transport modeling. We plan to extend this work in the next two years.