Water tanks, Madurai, India. Credit: Arvind Pandey, National Institute of Urban Affairs

This article was originally published by SAGE publications in ‘Environment and Urbanization ASIA’. Please visit the link below to view and download the full article.


Madurai city, in the state of Tamil Nadu, is one of the ancient temple cities of India and has been existing since two millennia. It is the second largest city in terms of area and the third largest in terms of population in the state. Despite this, the city’s population and economy is shrinking. In 2010, the city’s boundary expanded to cover the entire urban agglomeration. But even after 9 years of integration, differences exist between the newly merged areas and the old city. The spatial division in provision of basic services coupled with the characteristics of a shrinking city has posed fundamental challenges in the path of sustainable development. This article discusses the development of Madurai city with regard to its history, demography, economy, health and education infrastructure. It also offers insights into the unique challenges faced by the city and discusses the policy implications for reversal of the retardation of the city to that of holistic progress.

Kundu, D., Lahiri, B., Pandey, A., & Sharma, P. (2019). City Profile: Madurai. Environment and Urbanization ASIAhttps://doi.org/10.1177/0975425319867487