Urban planning is a new field of intervention, but concerns remain

The Union budget presented on Tuesday predicts that half of India will live in urban centers by 2047 and lays out a roadmap to prepare for it. Megacity governance reforms and facilitation of Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities are a priority area.

Urban planner Anjali K. Mohan said that Karnataka suffers from inequitable spatial distribution of urban centers of economic activity and development of Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities is essential. While the population of Bengaluru is 1.34 crore, Mysuru, Mangaluru, Hubballi-Dharwad and Belagavi are 10 lakh towns.

Competitive process

However, urban planner Ashwin Mahesh argued that while it is true that we need to develop Tier 2 and 3 cities, the Union or the State cannot drive this. “Seeking investments is a competitive process. These city governments must be empowered to chart their own destiny, which neither the Union nor the state governments are prepared to do. Unless this is done, we cannot stimulate the growth of these cities,” he said, adding first and foremost that the Union government talking about town planning itself was part of the problem.

City planners are pleased that the budget says to achieve sustainable living in cities. Urban planning cannot continue with a status quo approach. A high-level committee of planners and experts has been announced.

long awaited

“It was long overdue. It elevates the conversation on urban planning. However, we must be careful that it does not become a one-time exercise. Context is very important in urban planning,” Ms. Mohan warned.

The budget speech emphasizes building urban capacity to implement reforms in building regulations, urban planning schemes (TPS) and a major push towards the transit-oriented development model ( TOD). “This will facilitate reforms for people to live and work closer to transit systems. The Union Government’s financial support for mass transit projects and the AMRUT program will be leveraged for the formulation of action plans and their implementation to facilitate TOD and TPS by states,” the statement said. budget speech.

The state capital has already moved towards the TOD. The comprehensive mobility plan released by BMRCL provided for TOD along Namma metro routes. An earlier version of RMP-2031 was dropped to include TOD. A new draft of RMP-2041 is in progress and will include the TOD approach. V. Ravichandar, a former member of the BBMP restructuring committee, said he welcomed the TOD approach, but had reservations that it would lead to social gentrification of these dense corridors with Higher FAR and therefore a spike in real estate prices. “TOD policy must include a housing component for the poor. Otherwise, it will be unfair to them,” he said.