Transit-oriented development: The Pune case study
Mumbai, India, Apr 16, 2016
All over the world, cities are facing the challenge of uncontrolled urbanisation. According to the United Nations, 54% of the population across the world today, resides in urban areas, and that this figure will R
Urbanisation rises, infrastructure declines The alarming changes over the last two decades in Pune’s real estate terrain, are testimony to the onslaught of urbanisation.
In the frenzied scramble to consume all available land in Pune, the once-peaceful, nature-blessed city, has lost almost all of its previous attributes. The inability to deploy support infrastructure in tandem with real estate development, has led to the rapid erosion of Pune’s traditionally high lifestyle standards.
Air pollution, monumental traffic issues, mercenary depletion of natural resources and inadequate water supply, are just some of the problems that Pune’s citizens have to face today.
Pune is by no means a unique case – a similar state of affairs has been noted in countless cities across the world, primarily in developing countries. Urban development experts suggest countering this unwholesome trend with transit-oriented development (TOD).
What is transit-oriented development? A fairly new model of community improvement, transit-oriented development essentially involves working on residential and commercial spaces as well as retail, healthcare and entertainment facilities. However, the development must occur in a manner that puts all of them within easy reach of the inhabitants.
The standard equation that is applied in transit-oriented development, is that all developments must be within half a mile of good quality public transportation, or within a walkable distance.
Benefits of transit-oriented development Inhabitants can reach their places of work easily, with minimal transit and likewise, get home faster. With significantly reduced commuting, pollution within the neighbourhood reduces drastically. Reduced travelling leads to increased savings, and therefore, better economic well-being. In fact, people can choose to dispense with maintaining cars and two-wheelers altogether, and rely solely on public transportation. As a combined result of the above, both, housing and commercial spaces have much higher demand than in normal urban areas and therefore, superior investment potential. Reinventing the residential experience The benefits of easy access to everything make a very strong argument in transit-oriented development’s favour.
In a city like Pune, connection to the primary city is a very important element for the overall quality of life. As a result, only transit-oriented developments which are close to the city, really work well. In this context, the 170-kilometre Ring Road being developed around Pune and the Pimpri–Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC), is proving to be a game-changer.
This major road will provide connectivity to various important areas of the city. Locations along the Ring Road will benefit the most, and transit-oriented township development in such areas, will be the clear winners.
(The author is managing director, Pride Group)