Saturday, August 31, 2013

"The Sky is the Limit"

In the latest issue of the Urban News Digest (Aug 2013 : See ), the headline is "The Sky is the Limit". Basically, it argues forcefully about creating vertical cities in the context of increased urbanisation trends across the globe. I quote:
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" With a population of 1 billion and growing, India has no choice but to go 
vertical. Having said that, it is imperative the government begin massive 
infrastructure projects that allow a high-rise city to thrive. Expanding 
horizontally, which means more road construction, more electrical grid 
extension, more cars and eating up valuable land that could and should be 
used for agriculture, is not the way forward for India. . ..."
- Timothy Johnson
Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH)
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I was reminded of our efforts beginning with the national seminar on 'Densification of Cities' held last year and the various expert committee deliberations leading to recommendation for change in the Building Rules of NKDA so that areas in CBD/Sub-CBD lying within 250m from the Metro Rail corridor, a higher F.A.R. would be allowed  on payment of fees to Hidco.

In today's Board Meeting of Hidco, this decision was endorsed and a fee structure was recommended. While it will still take few weeks to get all notifications and approvals in place, the 'Sky is the Limit' story gives us confidence that we are moving in the right direction.
* * *
Yesterday, Chief Minister of Mizoram visited Hidco to complete formalities of a plot. A photo:
Extreme Right: CM Mizoram

* * *
While water is receding slowly from Eco Park and already the Eco Park is almost normal now, today's Telegraph carries a photograph of the situation we passed through:

Here is a clipping from yesterday's Khabar 365:

And, finally, a clipping from yesterday's Bartaman:


  1. Expanding vertically doesn't solve the problems much. Like, if an acre of land has only single storied building, on an average 40 families can live there. But if the same place is filled up with 10 storied buildings, then 400 families are able to live. Though it helps in accommodating more people but it takes its toll on the infrastructure. The road space remains the same, the sewerage lines also remain quite the same. There are also many other problems, like more garbage is generated, pollution (noise, air and everything) and extra pressure on public transport. The ultimate solution, though very difficult to implement practically is to reduce the population. If our country had taken proper steps in this direction, many of the problems that we are seeing now would have never happened.

  2. Going vertically is the way to go. We need to have proper infrastructure to take care of more people per sq meter. We need to have school, college, hospital, shops and other recreation facitlities in each area. Currently we have horizontal grwoth without or very little amenities in each area. Experienced Town planner should be engaged to develop new areas and redevelop old areas of the city. Mass housing projects with better amenities is very much needed to provide better life to common people.

  3. Dear Sir,

    With great respect I am requesting you to kindly consider the plight of Ghuni residents (Surise Greens,PS Ixora,Clubtown,etc).We are happy to get your response in the old post.Some more have written there today in the post "Limit to....."
    You are doing so much for our Bengal and we are hopeful too.

  4. in the mindof a person like me(with no Architecture/town planning/engineering background).. Vertical growth is the only solution that seems to save our city/country from going into spatial anarchy .. 1)Population is growing but surface area is not 2)Greeneries are taking the toll 3)Without beautifully landscaped cities there is no chance of investments flowing in,consequently economic development of the area/state will be stalled .. Congrats to Mr Sen for taking all necessary steps towards futuristic development of New Town

  5. Dear Sir,

    Today a contractor in New Town expressed is concern that so many trees in Eco-Park are already dying due to rain water logging. Even I saw so many trees turned red/yellow.

    And he also said it is still knee-deep waterlogged inside the village of the other side of the eco-park. He said HIDCO/NKDA blocked the natural outlet channels. In his version the overflown water used to go down through different canals. But now these channels are blocked due to road construction or something by HIDCO. He also said the drains (dimensions) which are being built by HIDCO (600*400) are not adequate and once the township gets populated it will even worsen the situation.

    Although I doubt his credibility, I became apprehensive about the fact if this is the water-logging situation right now what will come next? Are we really planning for another 30-40 years?

    Also this amount of rain is not very uncommon in Kolkata/Bengal. Did this situation happen before in Eco-Park? If not, then definitely there is some problem which cropped up in between.

    Will due respect sir, as a common citizen of Kolkata, I beg you to check if everything is right. I hope the natural outlets are not blocked without creating any alternate front, in case that is possible.

    1. This is definitely a genuine concern.
      I have no idea about the drain dimension but if there is some truth in the allegation, then it will cause a nightmare as we plan to build a "dense" New Town.

      Also, I am for densification of cities. But as we all know, we need to have the necessary infrastructure for that. Tragedy is that a large number of towns in KMDA is yet to have the 2 basic infrastructures of any civilized urban life i.e 24*7 purified drinking water supply and underground sewerage connection. This is even after 67 years of independence.

      Even if we forget the neighbouring towns, in Kolkata, we are taking years to develop key infrastructure projects like BRTS or building a comprehensive network for water supply from Dhapa water treatment plant for areas adjoining to EM Byepass.

      I am not writing this to condemn anybody. There are many complex issues involved like funding etc. However we need to roll out the infrastructure quickly at least now after 70 years of independence.

      In one sense, Kolkata was fortunate that we had less number of job creation and less inward migration. People from almost every family in greater Kolkata Area migrated outside the state and the population pressure is much less than what we could have in case of a job boom.