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Govt to explore transit oriented development model


With India having the most restrictive Floor Area Ratio (FAR) among Asian countries, the urban development ministry is exploring transit-oriented development model to allow higher mixed-use and intensive development. “This [FAR] needs to be revised looking at the infrastructure and the location where it can be increased. One of the possibilities being discussed is transit oriented development where we can have mixed-use and higher and more intensive development,” said Kamal Nath, minister of urban development, during the RICS conference in New Delhi.

He further said that India needs to learn from everywhere particularly from the UK. “We have recently signed an MoU with the UK on urban regeneration and development and it’s my firm belief that such a partnership would provide an enabling platform and deepen the engagement in the areas of sustainable master-planning, transport planning, land economics and PPP arrangements,” he said, adding that some of the huge investment of US$1 trillion that India requires has to come from the private sector.

According to Sachin Sandhir, managing director, RICS South Asia, one key challenge that India is likely to face, while moving forward in the direction of unprecedented growth, is the absence of skilled and trained professionals. “RICS intends to bridge this gap by making available to the industry qualified professionals and experts who provide professional advice on matters as wide-ranging as sustainable urban development; affordable housing; capital markets; urban and rural infrastructure,” he said.

The conference—Cities 2030: Are we on track?—also saw the release of a white paper by Paul Doherty, president and CEO, digit group, titled Smart Cities. The paper outlines the challenges, solutions, results and next steps for any city to become a smart city by leveraging the digital DNA of the built environment.

The paper draws some interesting analogies of a city with a human body with its cardiovascular system (infrastructure), respiratory and digestive systems (energy, waste) and even a primitive nervous system (telecommunications). It urges city makers to think of their cities as a network, with each building acting as a server.

A major issue for a city’s IT department is how to manage large quantities of data generated by the city departments and wider ecosystem. Cities that solve this issue will be on the correct path to evolving into Smart Cities. No matter which of the 10 Smart City elements a city decides to focus on, data generation, compilation and interpretation will be key drivers to all policies, programs, projects and measures, the report said.

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June 2020
10 Jun 2020