Effect of river environment on the land use of Guwahati city: perspectives from nature-culture relationship

Pallabi Borah, A K Bhagabati


The city of Guwahati has a rich historical past and finds frequent mention in medieval historical sources and epics. From the pre-historic existence, the city has evolved through various stages of development and lately, the city has entered a phase of vigorous growth changing remarkably its fabric of settlement and the overall morphology of the urban landscape.

Throughout the history of growth and development of Guwahati city, the river Brahmaputra has played the most important role in shaping the socio-economic life of its dwellers and the land use pattern of the city. The river still continues to play a unique role in maintaining the city’s scenic beauty, grandeur, health and prosperity. In fact the nourishing presence of the river in the heart of the city provides a variety of facilities and opportunities to the city dwellers, some of which are, however, directly visible, while many others need careful observation for assessing their contribution.

Of late, this eco-city has also been witnessing a severe demographic hazard because of migration of people from other parts of Assam and the Northeast as place of opportunity. The growing urban congestion and extension of human settlement, roads and other constructions to the marginal and delicate areas like the hill slopes, fringes of the beels, wetlands and rivulets have now made the city’s drainage highly complicated and increasingly inefficient. These have caused some severe problems such as killer landslide, erosion, water logging and flash flood.


Land use, urban landscape, river-city relationship

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Published by Centre for Environment, Education and Economic Development (CEEED), Assam.