It is generally known that abundant urban green spaces – large areas allocated to trees, lawns and all types of flora and fauna – are a major contributor to high quality living environment. Sufficient green spaces in cities improve the quality of the air in residential areas because trees absorb pollutants such as ozone, nitric acid vapour, ammonia, nitrogen, carbon monoxide and sulphur dioxide. In turn, they provide life-giving oxygen, provide shade, attract rain and improve the aesthetic quality of the whole area.
In its heyday, Pune was renowned for its generous urban green spaces. Unfortunately, the hammer of commercialized real estate proliferation has caused most of the city’s green cover to vanish. Coupled with the massive traffic movement within the PMC limits, it is not surprising that so many Punekars now suffer from various ‘mysterious’ ailments. High blood pressure, asthma, bronchitis, energy depletion and depression are rapidly becoming common-place. The city that once rivaled Bangalore with its generous urban green spaces is now literally oxygen starved.
When the PCNTDA (Pimpri Chinchwad New Town Development Authority) set out to plan the residential zones in Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation – Pune’s prosperous sister city – the vital factor of green cover was a main priority. Not many are aware of how much thought went into the real estate blueprint for Pimpri-Chinchwad, which is now a masterpiece of systematic residential zone development. Thanks to close collaboration with healthcare officials, construction and civil engineering agencies and the town planning authorities ensured that PCMC would remain a predominantly green zone. The rationale was based on firm scientific facts:
- People who live in residential zones with abundant green cover suffer fewer health problems and experience lower stress levels
- The survival rate of senior citizens who spend their Golden Years in green surroundings is far higher than that of their contemporaries living in the concrete jungles of the inner city
- Green cover in a residential zone encourages its residents to spend more time outdoors and show lower preference to an unhealthy sedentary lifestyle
- The happiness level and mental/emotional health quotient of any residential community is directly related to the extent to which individuals socialize. The availability of green areas such as parks, gardens and lawns encourages more inter-personal contact between residents
By now, social scientists know for a fact that urban green spaces tend to attracts people outside their homes and to interact with each other. Parks and gardens are places where people can meet and spend time together in the outdoors. People who have access to green spaces in cities like Pune enjoy a higher level of social activity, tend to know their neighbours and are more concerned about the general welfare of the community.
Despite the rapid depletion of urban green spaces within the Pune Municipal Limits, Pimpri-Chinchwad offers the citizens of Pune the option of green living. The verdant residential townships in localities like Ravet and Moshi have been designed in complete compliance to the PCNTDA guidelines for green spaces within PCMC residential zones. At the same time, the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation offers to them vastly superior civic and social infrastructure and significantly lower property rates.