As part of the national aeronautic and space administration's (NASA) interdisciplinary research in earth science programme - impacts of urbanization on the environment solicitation, nine projects have been approved for funding. One of the teams to receive funding has Atiqur Rehman, reader, department of geography, Jamia Millia Islamia, as its member.
The project is led by Soe Myint from Arizona State University and the other members of the project are from Yale, North Carolina and Arizona universities. Rehman is the only Indian representative on board.
The project is titled 'understanding impacts of desert urbanization on climate and surrounding environments to foster sustainable cities using remote sensing and numerical modeling.' It is a three-year project that began in August 2012 and will continue till July 2015. The total cost of this project is $7,65,990, which would be funded by NASA.
Rehman points out that out of the 100 proposals received by NASA, only nine were granted approval for funding. The study aims to understand urbanization in desert cities to provide suggestions for the sustainable development of these cities in the future.
Five sub-tropical desert cities have been selected across US, India, Israel, China and Egypt where NASA's thematic satellite data would be employed for analysis. They will look at changes brought about by urbanization in these cities across three decades from 1990-2010. Some of the aspects that would be studied include internal earth features, vegetation, building types, internal morphology, land-use patterns and land-fragmentation. The city, as well as the surrounding area, would be examined.
"If we look at India's urbanization pattern, we realize that it is largely unplanned and uncontrolled. As a result, urbanization’s negative repercussions are causing immense damage to the environment. Hence, it is important that future urbanization focuses on sustainable development," sums up Rehman. The purpose of this study is to quantify the impact of urbanization on desert cities so as to propose better means that would be insync with sustainable development.