Why Indian cities are so chaotic? Decoding from the urban development efforts of Chandigarh

Arindam Biswas (Department of Architecture and Planning, Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee, India)

Smart and Sustainable Built Environment

ISSN: 2046-6099

Publication date: 24 July 2019



The purpose of this paper is to compare and learn from Chandigarh in addressing an orderly urbanisation in India. Chandigarh is considered as a benchmark for city design in India. The aim is recapitulate the city design process and garner useful inputs towards city design process in India.


Considering the purpose of the study, two research methodologies are identified – namely “case study” and “analytical narrative”. A case study method is usually focused on certain urban systems with a view to explain why certain systems were a success and why some ended up being a failure. It mostly concerns itself with questions of efficiency. A narrative analysis seeks to understand urban development process and change. It appeared in disciplines such as policy analysis, urban history, social science, political science and economics. Analytical narrative evaluates the explanatory performance of new genre, using some philosophy.


This paper contributes in reinvigorating the aura of Chandigarh and its contribution in developing an Indian city with its own identity. It also reflects upon the series of failure among the recent city planning endeavours, and its avenue of differences from the successful case.


The paper contributes in understanding the existing shortcomings of city design approaches in India from the perspective of a relatively successful case of a functional Indian city. It also helps to point out the forgotten dimensions of city design that contributes in creating a functional city.



Biswas, A. (2019), "Why Indian cities are so chaotic? Decoding from the urban development efforts of Chandigarh", Smart and Sustainable Built Environment, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/SASBE-05-2018-0023

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