Sunday, July 15, 2007

Why is shanghai so much better of than bangalore?

Shanghai's population has topped 20 Mn while bangalore ( and many other indian cities ) is 10 Mn (unofficial estimate).

The other day i was watching the making of a futuristic hollywood movie where the setting has been chosen to be Shanghai. The director was all praise about Shanghai, with the best architecture and so it was visible in the background beautiful buildings spacious front ages clean wide roads..

Where does a city 2 times the size in population as Bangalore get that much space? That set me thinking on what could be the woes of bangalore and many other indian cities today?

Few thoughts came to my, Old bangalore is spacious and well planned, new bangalore is not! Most of old bangalore was planned by a central government authority, new bangalore is all about private layouts and private land delas, very little government participation.

Agriculture lands are ad hoc converted to urban land residential or commerical and work begins with no regard or clue on what is going ot come up on adjacent properties.

So much so that while I was on a house hunting trip ( i have given up on buying anyting in bangalore now thanks to the infrastructre and prices) in Marathahalli, I found thta there were some amazing private colonies but getting there was like going through hell. The same with a large L& T project in south Bangalore (JP Nagar X Phase ) where a huge complex has come up with no access to it from the outside world. WE will need Helipads and choppers soon to get ourselves in and out of our homes .

Why is it that Bangalore is chaos while Shanghai is spacious and well planned with all infrastructure? the thoughts that came to my mind shook me up.

Shanghai is i guess (no factual support here ) has been planned by a central authority while Bangalore grows adhoc with no planning or control how does this effect facilities space and cleanliness?

Lets look at some facts.

1. Most properties shown in Shanghai are large pieces of land (1 + Acres atleast ) most land in Bangalore are micro properties )
2. The development has been coordinated in the sense government takes up the whole tracts of land into its control before redistributing to publi use this also helps allocate facilities that normally do not compe up in a developers radar (especialy small ones ) like hospitals schools temples? sports facilities etc..
3. The whole city is one well planned unit unlike here which resembles garbage is a dump truck!

Now returing to the space problem I also saw through how well organized development leads to increased space for everything if we take a tract of land whihc is say 1000 acres, and then go about looking at both Shanghai and Bangalore

In shanghai there would probably be 200 large properties put in that amount land, in bangalore there would 50 layouts with 10000 houses totally. This would mean

1. In shanghai they would need fewer km (therefore SqM of road area to reach these properties) in bangalore a subtantial chunk is lost in road area whihc are narrow and of congestive nature

2. Fewer roads means ability to put larger roads (4 -8 Lane) proper drainage, wiring for services and sewage systems all of these multiple in the banalore model.

3. Larger properties of land results in more FSI and taller structures so a 10 acres property could become a mini-petronas while a 60*40 site can go max 3 floors without becoming a nusiance to the neighours. Also these large properties, through their tall nature allow a lot of ground space for other use, front age, coommon utilities shopping etc.. Parking can be managed undergournd while in india parking would on on site or on road worsening the conditions for locality people so a 440000 Sft land (10 acreas provides) ~ 4.5 Mn SFt of built up area where as in bangalore one could achieve a max of 0.8 Mn SFT

4. This also results in a lot of space available for sports complexes hospitals and other public buldings

5. S constructuion is being done by 1 large entity who can be governed and has the where withal these structuresw are architecturally and civic wise great, in 10000 sites one cant do that well!!

6. Finally as these 100 acres where synchronously planned the access exits basic facilities etc.. are well provided and can be well controlled. Not so in the bangalore style of development

This gives a strong aargument for planned and controlled development for our going forward. I would suggest the following approaches

1. Government takes control of a ring of land around the top 100 -150 cities. the ring depth can be based on the city size and could vary from 25 - 100 km ( debatable could be more too!)

2. The government then approaches the top 300 architects or groups to develop these lands with a set of policies like residential, commerical public govenrment inductrial allocation

3. The architects put in their plans for each of these rings and the best plan is developed as a single piece. The role of the architect here is to only do land development. Once this is done individual pieces of land are auctioned or given back to public based on allocation

4. Original land owners are compensated from the earnings that the government gets on the auctions

This could see a great improvment in urban development in this country. Until then we will continue to live the difficult challenging exciting lives we do on a dialy basis


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