Rural planning exercise in the village of Sampur, Ganjam District, Odisha.
Photo: Felix Knopf/GIZ
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Traditional definitions of urban and rural territories do not capture the complexity of different land use changes and realities. The connection between urban and rural areas is crucial to sustainable development, especially in fast growing economies, which has to be addressed in public policies. The Land Use Planning and Management (LUPM) project in India aims to improve the system of land use planning through a regional planning approach.

Like any other natural resource, land is limited. With high growth rates of population, economy and industrial development, pressure on land increases, and the distribution, use and management of land becomes a challenging task. This is apparent in and around urban areas, where borders between rural and urban become blurred. New approaches need to be taken into account in spatial planning in order to meet the changing demands in administering city regions, controlling development and providing infrastructure.

In India, approximately 2.2 per cent of the overall global geographical area accommodates about 18 per cent of the world’s population. Tremendous pressure has been put on land as a result of increasing population growth and rapid urbanisation. Growth occurs not only in megacities such as New Delhi or Mumbai. The population is also constantly increasing in the fringes of most of the Indian cities. The reasons for this are better access to information technology, better roads, higher levels of education and changing economic realities.

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