Not only does growth pose challenges for food security, but it also threatens the flora and fauna surviving in an already limited number of hotspots as settlements sprawl unplanned in the countryside.

Urbanisation doesn’t just mean burgeoning megacities

While the problem of bursting cities in India is well known and the cities’ governments are already implementing urban planning strategies to manage growth, there is a gap between urban and rural administration in terms of mandate and capacities for spatial planning. Whereas the global debate on urbanisation often focuses on big cities, the process has in fact been happening mostly in the continuum of rural areas with villages, towns and cities of fewer than 500,000 inhabitants. Approximately 1.3 billion reside in provincial towns and small and medium cities, most of which are closely linked to their surrounding rural areas through their economies and labour markets, social networks, culture and the proximate environments they share.