07 June 2020

Interaction- Prof. Chetan Vaidya, Director, School of Planning and Architecture

Urban planning in India needs new approach

As India enters the 21st Millenium, its urban footprint is expanding rapidly, and it is very chaotic. Urban planning has now become a critical imperative for India to emerge as a nation of Smart Cities. In an exclusive interview to CONSTRUCTION OPPORTUNITIES, PROF. CHETAN VAIDYA, DIRECTOR, SCHOOL OF PLANNING AND ARCHITECTURE, underlines the critical issues in India’s urban planning.



In what way can urban planning help mitigate the crisis of India’s urban infra deficit.

The problem of the master planning approach in India is that it is not oriented towards market forces. There is a need for a paradigm shift in which the cities of today are planned and managed. Urban planning in India needs a new approach. It should be on compact cities basis with higher density, higher Floor Space Index, land use integrated with urban transport, mixed land use, and reserving land for affordable housing.

Challenges faced in blending the Smart element into urban planning.

Smart city program is often seen as technology driven. However, technology alone cannot make an efficient and equitable city. Community participation in urban planning of Smart city is an important element of blending smart elements in urban planning. In Songdo, South Korea, there are so many sensors that traffic accidents can be monitored on real time basis. Bandung in Indonesia has very active twitter population and this has become a toll of citizen communication for urban improvement. Barcelona in Spain has provided Smart Citizens platforms such as Fab Lab to increase citizens’ participation. There could be diversity in increasing public participation in urban planning and management.   


Major challenges faced in redevelopment of brown field projects.

Inadequate space or land area, access, lack of infrastructure and not willing to pay for improved services are major challenges for brown field projects.   Extent of urban planning is far less than the future projection. Moreover, Master Plans are not implemented fully in most cities. Urban areas that were in population size varying between 1 to 5 million in 2011 are projected to expand the most. There were 44 such sized cities in 2011. 


What is there for the construction sector in these urban missions?

 About 20 years ago, a project report for an Urban Engineer was design and costs of infrastructure. We added financing and institutional structure to what is now called Detailed Project Report (DPR). This also includes economic or financial analysis, number of beneficiaries, lifetime analysis, etc. Information, Communication Technology (ICT) will become very important for the Construction sector. Another issue will be sustainability or environment friendly approach.

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