With detailed input from WRI India, the south Indian state of Karnataka launched its vision for sustainable, inclusive urban development, known as Nava Karnataka 2025. The vision provides a roadmap to address the urban development needs of the entire state with a focus on Bengaluru, its largest city.

The Challenge

Karnataka is home to over 60 million people, with an estimated 10 million living in Bengaluru. Challenges include sprawl, rising poverty, inadequate and unequal access to basic services and outdated laws—all compounded by a lack of capacity to manage rapid urban growth.

WRI’s Role

In 2015, Bengaluru invited WRI India to provide technical inputs on planning, policy and governance for the city. Over the next two years WRI provided input to an influential Bengaluru Municipal Restructuring Committee. Assistance included helping city departments use a common spatial database, procure land through an area development approach, and establish short-, medium- and long-term planning goals. In 2017, Karnataka invited WRI and the Center for Study of Science, Technology and Policy to assist in framing chapters on urban development, infrastructure, transport, and energy of the Nava Karnataka 2025, a blueprint for the state. To inform its input, WRI jointly convened workshops with government officials, technical experts, NGOs and the public. WRI’s submission on Urban and Economic Development and Transport and Energy emphasized four essentials: urban and economic development for all, resilient growth strategies, good governance and universal access to basic services.

The Outcome

In March 2018, Karnataka’s chief minister released the final Nava Karnataka 2025, an ambitious development roadmap focused on Bengaluru. The plan proposes reforms and key projects to promote comprehensive regional economic development, resilient growth strategies in harmony with natural resources, good governance and equal access to infrastructure and services. WRI’s input to the Bengaluru Municipal Restructuring Committee resulted in a proposed Greater Bengaluru Governance Bill that would replace outdated urban planning legislation. Building on this work, policy reviews for water pricing and wastewater reuse, and a transit-oriented development and mixed-use focus in the upcoming Bengaluru City Master Plan will go a long way to meeting the dynamic needs of this city of 10 million.