Mumbai slums Subhash Sharma/ZumaPress

De dodelijke steden van India

SINGAPORE – China en India zijn de motoren achter de Aziatische trends op het gebied van bevolking en verstedelijking. Volgens een studie van McKinsey uit 2010 wordt verwacht dat de landen van 2005 tot 2025 samen verantwoordelijk zullen zijn voor 62% van de groei van de stedelijke bevolking van het continent en voor een ongelooflijke 40% van deze groei wereldwijd.

Statistieken als deze onderstrepen de urgentie van stadsplanning en groeimanagement. Maar het onderkennen van de cruciale verschillen tussen de twee landen is van even groot belang. Variaties in hun stedelijke groeitrajecten, zowel als verschillen in hun benadering van milieubeleid maken het aannemelijk dat de Indiase bevolkingsuitdagingen veel lastiger tegemoet te treden zullen zijn.

China is dan wel thuisland van 20% van de mensheid, maar meer dan twintig jaar lang is het geboortecijfer lager geweest dan het ‘vervangings-’ niveau (het cijfer benodigd om de huidige populatie in stand te houden), en de verwachting is dat de bevolkingsgroei binnen de komende twintig jaar negatief zal worden. Als resultaat hiervan is India, waar de bevolkingsgroei de afzienbare toekomst voorspeld wordt positief te blijven, het gedoodverfde meest bevolkte land van de wereld. De meeste projecties voorspellen dat de Indiase bevolkingscijfers die van China tegen 2022 zullen voorbijstreven.

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