The ascent of cities - urban youth in New Delhi

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 “Connected people will help bring about change” (Tarun Kumar Mann)

We are in the grip of a population explosion, and nowhere is this more evident than in cities. As part of our series on rapidly developing cities, and in collaboration with Y4PT, the UITP-sponsored youth NGO that promotes public transport among young people around the world, we have spoken to a number of youngsters about how they see their city changing and how they see public transport services evolving in the coming years.

The first city on our round the world public transport tour is New Delhi, the capital of India. Tarun Kumar Mann is 28 years old and holds an MBA in Business Sustainability from TERI University and he travels around his city by feeder bus and metro. New Delhi’s population stands at almost 18 million, and is expected to pass 20 million by 2020. Estimated figures say that 200,000 to 300,000 people a year settle in Delhi permanently from other states in India as migrants (figures from India Online).


Delhi is one of the world’s oldest civilisations, and it is growing very rapidly. Transport and infrastructure are also growing to accommodate the growing population, which has advanced a plan for high-capacity public transport systems that are energy efficient. Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) now has six lines compared to one in 2000, as well as BRT corridors and enhanced bus connectivity.

In the future, I think Delhi will look like a scene from a Hollywood sci-fi movie; where people will be landing directly to their office from mono rail. I also think that Delhi is going to grow vertically with more skyscrapers, multi-storey roads, double-decker highway, flyovers, over pass and with more and more roads.
I can see governments and public administrations being vigilant about using hi-tech devices, and I think more rational decisions will have to be made based on people who are actually using public transport. I can also see an emphasis on social responsibility, with people becoming more concerned about public transport and its relevance in their day-to-day lives.

More green space, more passenger information

Tarun Kumar Mann, Y4PTIf I could change something about my city, I would increase the amount of green space, and I would improve transportation. I would also like to see an integrated application that shows the arrival and departure times of all public transportation systems, to be used for my journey from my location to my workplace.

I think that change can be brought about by using a top-down approach i.e more schemes from policymakers to make a greener urban Delhi as well as a bottom-up approach where citizens collaborate their ideas and information from each locality and submit it to government authorities, providing real time information for all citizens.

I think it is a good idea to join hands with active people who want to bring change to today’s scenario. There is a movement called ‘Raahgiri Day’ or reclaim your street, which started in the nearby city of Gurgaon, where citizens celebrate car-free mornings by promoting cycling, walking and using public transport.

Change is happening

I think there are too many people, but I wouldn’t move to the countryside after living for 28 years in one of the hustling and bustling cities of the world. Due to urbanisation, the quality of life may have been impacted but on the other side of the coin, new innovations are also happening. Change is happening, development is happening and I strongly feel that the right ways is sustainable development i.e. development that is people-centric where citizens take part in being the change and feel connected to each other in order to bring about this change.



We will be hearing of the rapid development of the Australian city of Melbourne in the next installment of The ascent of cities – urban youth.

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