Anil Pharande, CMD – Pharande Spaces
The Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) is all set to merge 20 more villages into its city limits, thereby giving these rural areas the benefit of its globally acclaimed infrastructure-based model of planned urbanization. The list of villages to be included is as follows:
- Nere, and
Of these, Chakan is the most important area from the perspective of industrial growth. Hinjewadi is among the most gripping chapter in the annals of India’s Information Technology sector, while Alandi and Dehu are major pilgrimage destinations. We are once again witnessing the process of urbanization that has made the PCMC a global showcase model of holistic development.
The geographical expansion of city limits has historically been proven as the only viable means of rational urbanization. Without the benefit of expanding city borders, a city tends to densify and eventually stagnate. A city’s ability to grow geographically directly affects its economic diversity and health.
In fact, the Indian real estate story shows us that the only cities that retain and increase their economic viability are the ones that have the ability to expand. By the same coin, cities which do not or cannot grow eventually stagnate in terms of infrastructure, property market potential and their overall ‘liveability’ quotient.
Why Indian Cities Over-Densify And Decay
Some of the most serious problems that stagnated cities face are over-crowding, pollution, unrealistic rises in property prices, gradual reduction in employment opportunities and generalized urban decay. In India, this phenomenon is not always the result of lack of peripheral rural areas to urbanize.
Relative to its available land resources, India has remarkably few modern cities – and these cities offer the maximum number of employment. As a natural consequence, people from the rural areas steadily migrate to urban areas to earn a better livelihood.
While many Indian cities do have the ability to expand their borders, lack of forward-looking city planning leads to rapid densification within the urbanized areas. At the same time, the peripheral areas that could relieve the strain on these urbanized pockets suffer from complete neglect, leading to a huge disparity in economic profiles. When these cities finally expand their borders, they do so as a means of 11th hour damage control – and with a remarkable lack of vision.
As a result, we see areas that nobody had ever heard of suddenly being profiled as ‘upcoming locations’. Developers rush to these areas, attracted by the lower land prices, and lose no time in putting up ‘affordable housing’ projects before any kind of supporting infrastructure has been put in place. This phenomenon has been seen in various parts of the country, including in Mumbai, Chennai and Delhi NCR.
Planned Urbanization – The Inclusive Approach
Over the years, the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation has been attracting more and more people from the nearby areas. The PCMC model of urban development is based on planned social and civic infrastructure and the scientific allocation of residential, commercial and industrial areas. This fabric needs to maintained by geographic expansion, and this is precisely the process we are now witnessing.
Including more villages into the municipal limits brings prosperity, real estate development and infrastructure to these areas. The PCMC has consistently employed the method of expanding the spread of its real estate map as the most viable means to prevent core congestion.
Anil Pharande is Vice President – CREDAI (Pune Metro) and Chairman of Pharande Spaces, a leading construction and development firm that develops township properties in the PCMC area of Pune, India.
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