The idea of transformative and sustainable urbanisation is not limited in its approach towards making cities environmentally conscious or climate resilient. It extends to preserving ethnic and cultural contours as well. The generations to come can only appreciate the richness of an ecosystem when it is maintained in the present. We have numerous, small-medium-large, ecosystems that thrive on nature, community, local knowledge, rituals, traditions, landscape, the symbiotic relationship between humans and other living beings. With current spate of infrastructure development, the form of these ecosystems is fast-changing. In a bid to fast-track development, kilometers of roads and highways are being built in our country. These crisscrossing highways are blurring socio-cultural boundaries, encouraging urban-like development in their flanks. The need for development and better life is the primary objective for any nation. However, converting every parcel of land into real estate throughout the length of the highway, imposing elite notions of modernity which tends to alienate local communities and disregarding environment and ecology on the way might turn out to be counter-productive.
The documentary film “Not Just Roads” is one such account of rapid urbanisation and road construction taking place in Delhi NCR, and how it is changing an agrarian ecosystem, socio-cultural bearings of local communities and the local ecology. The film attempts to present the interlinkages between urban, ecology and infrastructure and the resulting conundrums.
The documentary film has been directed, written and produced by Nitin Bathla and Klearjos Eduardo Papanicolaou, with support from Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, India Office, Andromeda Film AG and ETH Zürich.
Mandvi Kulshreshtha is Program Adviser of the Economy of Tomorrow project at the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung India office in New Delhi.