Most of the early civilizations have sprung on the banks of a navigable river or at any natural port which has provided it security and also acted as a commercial link from one civilization to another.
It started way back in the time of Indus Valley Civilization when towns like Harappa and Mohenjodaro were in existence. Then came the Vedic period when towns were planned out prior to building of houses inside. Then came the Buddhist period which gifted us Arthshastra- a treatise of economics of town living. Thereafter, trade and commerce developed in medieval time with the Mughals adding to garden architecture. Colonial time brought in the concept of hill stations, large port towns and cantonments. And finally the industrial age and rapid transportation evolved for the contemporary Indian towns leading to the current modernization and pollution/ecological problems.
(1) Chronology of city evolution-https://bit.ly/2GdrQ73
(2) Brief distinction between each era-https://bit.ly/2UVyUib