Other metros to follow Chennai model for development
A recent article in the Economic Times high lights the fact that India’s other metros are taking lessons in development from Chennai. Most of our urban centres are a burgeoning sprawl leading to tremendous pressure of the support infrastructure and utilities leading to frequent break downs and choke points. Metros like Mumbai and Delhi who had hitherto followed zoning models that were either vertical or flat are now trying to adopt the mixed residential zoning approach pioneered by Chennai. This approach is considered to have dispersed development and eased the pressure on infrastructure compared to other cities.
According to the ET, the exclusive zoning approach, adopted in the West and by some of the other metros, have led to major problems with regard to the support infrastructure. But Chennai chose a mixed zonal approach as it was considered better suited for the city’s social way of life. So the choice was made to suit the lifestyle of the city, rather than force a model on it that would break down the existing social structure and way of life. A mixed zone would be chosen based on the existing use, suitability and potential for future development of the area. In this model, roads less than ten metres wide cannot have special buildings. However, developers could amalgamate a number of smaller plots and form a larger one for a bigger project, provided they ceded space for widening of the road thereby enabling easier access to the larger development.
This kind of zoning enables the redevelopment of areas by companies or individuals. Apparently this was possible in Chennai from as far back as 1975, but it is only now that this approach had become part of the realty development landscape according to a CMDA official who spoke to ET. The infrastructure in Chennai is therefore relatively good as compared to other metros where there has been a lot of demolition in recent years to enable development. Even the IT boom has not made a change in the residential pattern in Chennai as the major IT parks or townships are all coming up on the outskirts of the city. Today other cities, such Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore have recognized the merit of the Chennai model and are adopting it. Bangalore’s master plan has already incorporated it apparently.
If only the benefits were more apparent to the common man!