Exploring Citizen Infrastructure and Environmental Priorities in Mumbai, India

Joshua Sperling, Patricia Romero-Lankao, Gufran Beig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus Citations


Many cities worldwide seek to understand local policy priorities among their general populations. This study explores how differences in local conditions and among citizens within and across Mumbai, India shape local infrastructure (e.g. energy, water, transport) and environmental (e.g. managing pollution, climate-related extreme weather events) policy priorities for change that may or may not be aligned with local government action or global environmental sustainability concerns such as low-carbon development. In this rapidly urbanizing city, multiple issues compete for prominence, ranging from improved management of pollution and extreme weather to energy and other infrastructure services. To inform a broader perspective of policy priorities for urban development and risk mitigation, a survey was conducted among over 1200 citizens. The survey explored the state of local conditions, the challenges citizens face, and the ways in which differences in local conditions (socio-institutional, infrastructure, and health-related) demonstrate inequities and influence how citizens perceive risks and rank priorities for the future design and implementation of local planning, policy, and community-based efforts. With growing discussion and tensions surrounding the new urban sustainable development goal, announced by the UN in late September 2015, and a new global urban agenda document to be agreed upon at 'Habitat III', issues on whether sustainable urbanization priorities should be set at the international, national or local level remain controversial. As such, this study aims to first understand determinants of and variations in local priorities across one city, with implications discussed for local-to-global urban sustainability. Findings from survey results indicate the determinants and variation in conditions such as age, assets, levels of participation in residential action groups, the health outcome of chronic asthma, and the infrastructure service of piped water provision to homes are significant in shaping the top infrastructure and environmental policy priorities that include water supply and sanitation, air pollution, waste, and extreme heat.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)19-27
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Science and Policy
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier Ltd.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-6A80-66197


  • Environment
  • Equity
  • Infrastructure
  • Priorities
  • Sustainable urbanization


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