Friday, January 20, 2012

Development Plan ie DP & Challenges of Future!

I never think of the future - it comes soon enough...Albert Einstein.

This quote is key of the planning especially when we draft development plan of a city like Pune! So fast the days pass & even we have planned for 20 years we never know how the time has tickled down & again its time for new plan! Such must be the feelings with planning team at most of the urban metros & Pune isn’t exception for the same! The new DP i.e. Development Plan has been tabled & is under discussion in the City Improvement Committee. Like a box of Pandora each day we keep on hearing something about it but let’s look at some of the key issues in DP.

Pune being a conglomerate of old i.e. historic as well new development, it’s always a challenge for any planner to balance the both segments  of the city! It is interesting to see how our planners have taken the challenge especially when city needs more space for housing as well other supporting needs for the same. The old wads of Pune has always been pride of the city yet because of the type of construction i.e. clay & wood as basic ingredient over the years many wadas are in structurally critical state & with more number of tenements its impossible to redevelop the same. The new DP has given a special thought for the cause & increased FSI has been given to accommodate the existing occupants as well the new residents in such development. Redevelopment of the old city is very important factor in the growth of our city as unless the old structures don’t come for redevelopment road widening in the central part of the city is impossible increasing the traffic problems & this issue seems to have given importance this time in making DP. Similarly diminishing biodiversity in old city is also an area of concern. This also can be balanced by creating more space in new development as the new structures will have to follow new norm like side margins & open spaces giving more space for plantation which too is a need of time. The old city needs to retain its charm no two minds about it but at the same time it has to change as per the needs of time & for that lots of out of the box thinking is a must.
This DP has sure done some out of the box thinking as for the first time a thought has been given to old establishments in A zone area which is not gaothan. Here for many those who don’t understand the concept right from British raj a city or town has been divided in gaothan & outer area i.e. congested part of town like in our case Peth areas where FSI is 2 & even more. But there are many areas in old city which are not part of gaothan so the fsi has been restricted to 1 only & as these structures are also old needs to be redeveloped. But because of fsi restriction it wasn’t possible now they can avail TDR & redevelopment is possible here too. As earlier TDR was allowed to utilize in B, C & D zones of the city only & now it has been allowed A zone also. Most important factor here is the process as well making TDR available at faster rate as for now unfortunately the process of getting TDR which is a problem, making it impossible for common man to have it! The DP should have some solution for the same.
Similarly will like to see the DP from the eyes of so many citizens who cant buy a home in this city because of ever increasing rate & for that scarcity of the space is the main reason. We need to build more homes which will be dear to the pockets of the common man & in short time, for millions who are constantly migrating in this city & the city needs their services. And for this we need policies which will make it possible as well making the space available for such homes. And the DP is the main source for such planning which is need of not only future but present too!

Another important aspect is for the first time the planning authority has taken in to consideration problems of accommodation for the students or individual accommodation. The city is now educational hub not only country wise but globally & thousands of students come here each year for education. They all need accommodation & at affordable cost! And with the new DP announcing additional FSI for the establishments where hostels will be developed in 200 meter distance fro the educational institutes, more accommodations will be available for the students. Only thing is one should get such open lands near vicinity of educational institute, what I feel is there should not be such distance limit considering the need of the single room accommodation. At the same time we can think of giving such additional FSI to the institutes itself so as encouraging them to build the hostels. Because being an education hub doesn’t mean just to have educational institutes but to have a proper infrastructure for the same.

All the time we keep seeing many of the roads getting dug up even when they have just newly done. The scene is common though my statement will hurt to some but its outcome of poor planning is a fact. And the DP is supposed to avoid such incidences. Here a common man will ask what’s DP’s role in it? Well a well planned DP with deciding all services at one go & execution accordingly will certainly avoid such needs of digging the roads repeatedly.

Another important aspect is conservation of biodiversity in & around the city. With increasing building as well developments around the natural habitats of the birds as well other species are reducing fast & it’s high time the city should have proper places for species other than just human beings. And what better that a properly planned city can have which will balance the living of all species together!

Last but least it will be interesting to see about the provisions for public transport & ambitious projects like Metro as it’s very nice & good to announce such projects, important is to lay a plan to execute the same! And here there will be test of DP making team to make these dreams come true. I am no expert on planning yet what a common man's feel is, it's necessary to know & study the reasons why the previous DP's implementation wasn’t up to mark in the time span for which it has been made. And accordingly take in account those mistakes while presenting this DP!

There are many dimensions to the DP & time & again we will be discussing more about the same but let’s remember DP isn’t job of some single department of PMC but as a citizen we all become part of it & we should understand our responsibility towards the same & execute it, then only it will be a real thing & not just a futuristic planning!

Sanjay Deshpande

Sanjeevani Dev.

Envo-Power Committee, Credai, Pune

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