The need for environmental and urban planning reached a critical point in the year 2007, when one-half of the world's population could be defined as living in cities. Urbanisation in India is also increasing at a fast rate. Urban chaos in India, emanating from the continuous ignorance of fragile ecosystems, calls for the reshaping of existing cities as 'eco-cities'. The 'eco-city' - a well-known concept in the western world - is new to the Indian context. While western connotations of eco-cities should not be discarded outright in the context of India, core concerns vary significantly for obvious reasons. Recognising two facts - firstly, eco-city development is altogether a fresh approach to human settlement development in India, and, secondly, the manifold increase in the vulnerability of cities - this paper discusses documented good practice, reinforcing evolution towards the eco-city vision. Lessons drawn from the examples cited are further deconstructed in the light of their contribution to urban risk reduction, which provides direction to appreciating the 'disaster-resilient eco-community' concept in Puri, a coastal city in India. Further, this paper attempts to unravel existing community-based practices in Puri, which are boon to the local environment and invariably reduce disaster risk. These seemingly modest neighbourhood initiatives symbolise immense societal wealth, which can be calibrated appropriately for reducing urban environmental risk as well. This paper also illustrates how a 'disaster resilient eco-community' approach is inevitable in the present and future contexts not only to preserve sustainable development gains but also to secure human well-being.
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