Townships and New Urbanism
By Sibani Sarma
With a limited land supply along with a huge gap between demand and supply for individual plots, apartments or sites; developers are now cashing on developing integrated townships in the suburban areas. According to a McKinsey Global Institute report, ‘India’s urban awakening : Building inclusive cities, sustaining economic growth,’ India would need 25 new townships to house about 590 million people by year 2030. This concept has been adopted well and proven a success model in the many developed countries for over 3-4 decades. Since last few years, developers in India are now trying to duplicate this success model in Indian cities.
There is a significant segment of consumers living in major urban centres that are becoming interested in the idea of living in one of a number of planned townships that are being built away from major urban hubs and chaos. These townships not only help in meeting the demand for residential and commercial space but also raise the quality of life that is lacking in high density core areas of Indian cities. Along with that, these townships also provide possibilities for town managers and developers to perform with densities and put into exercise thoughts of new urbanism that gradually raises the way of life of people current in these town-ships.
Recently, one of my friends shifted from Delhi to Pune city for a job in a company that has an office space in Magarpatta city. In Delhi he used to commute 2 hours daily to work in rush-hour traffic and spent as much time on the journey back home. He loves driving but given the traffic and related problems; he hired a driver. Still, he was frustrated by the amount of time wasted on road and at the end of the day he never used to get time for himself and his family. Then last August, his company rented an office space inside Magarpatta city, which is an integrated township in Pune.
This shifting has made his life very easy and comfortable as he has taken a new apartment inside the township which is hardly 10 minutes walk to his office. This township has a shopping mall, multiplex, hospital, school and most of the necessary amenities within walking distance. Now he gets time for his family and friends as he has cut down his commuting time.
Integrated township projects are slowly gathering momentum as the concept of walking to work is picking up among city dwellers. Apart from the change in family structure (from joint family to nuclear family), growing income levels have led to a change in consumer profile. More consumers want plethora of amenities; such as, swimming pools, clubs, landscaped gardens, 24 hours security and housekeeping. Due to huge demand coupled with economies of scale, an integrated township offers all these amenities and at a relatively low and affordable price.
Since such projects have their own infrastructure, they do not depend heavily on amenities provided by local Municipal Corporation. These townships usually have their own sewage management, water supply and overall maintenance of the immediate surroundings. The maintenance of integrated townships is centralized and managed very well. Also, since such residential projects have strong security measures to protect the entire area under township, people are assured of much higher levels of safety for themselves, their families and possessions. Since all the construction work is centralized there is very little room for variation in construction standards.
These townships provide win-win situation to developers. Developers in India have understood that in order to lure their customers they have to provide housing with all the required amenities. Thus, the future lies in Integrated Townships Development.
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Sibani Sarma is an MBA with a degree in Architecture, spent fifteen years in research and consultancy in real estate and construction. She writes on subjects related to Real Estate in India and Development Management in India.
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