Smart Cities India foundation and PAC seminar addresses Bengaluru’s urban planning challenges

Bengaluru, 15th December 2017 : “The Revised Master Plan for 2031 for Bengaluru will bring in visible improvement in the city. The plan is a significant move towards a better tomorrow for the state of Karnataka. It is all possible with the support and efforts of the state government,” said Mr. Hardeep Singh Puri, Union Minister for Housing & Urban Development while addressing delegates at a seminar on “Smart Urban Planning for 21st century” being organised by the Smart Cities India Foundation here today.

Representingthe state government at the seminar was Mr. K.J. George, the Minister forBengaluru Development and Town Planning besides Urban planning experts andother stake holders.

Speakingabout the seminar, the Director of the Public Affairs Centre (PAC) G Gurucharansaid, “Bengaluru has seen a sharp decline on the livability index and in thequality of life. Unless, the state, the civic body, the market and thecommunity work in tandem, an impending crisis lies ahead.  We need toadopt better governance structures and this seminar is one such forum toexplore alternatives’.

Echoing thesentiment was Chairman of Smart Cities India Foundation (SCIF) and DirectorGoverning Council, PAC Dr A. Ravindra, “The master plan approach used forbetter planning of cities has not worked for India, and hence we need toexplore other strategies whereby the economic, social, environmental andinstitutional aspects of urbanisation can be integrated”.

Speaking onthe occasion Mr M R Jaishankar, Founder Member, Smart Cities India Foundation(SCIF) and Chairman & Managing Director, Brigade Group said, “I believe theonly way Bengaluru can sustain is developing the peripheral cities. Additionally,if we develop places like Mysuru and Mangaluru which is closer to Bengaluru thesubstantial growth of Bengaluru will be better and a lot of problems that weare facing will be resolved. As far as the Master Plan is concerned it  isnot clear and not well thought of. While the Central Govt is talking of makinghousing affordable and housing for all by 2022 and giving directions to thevarious state governments to increase the FSI so that more area can be built ona lesser land area since land is a primary contributor to the cost of housing,the present Master Plan has reduced the FAR by 40% across which means housinggoing forward will become much more expensive than today.”

“Lastly, Iam firmly against the layout business because an Arkavati layout with nearly2000 acres will be able to accommodate 10,000 people. Same thing if it isvertically developed, better parks and playgrounds can be accommodated in aboutless than 500 acres. And with acquisition of land being expensive the cost willultimately be passed on to the citizens and make housing also more expensive,”averred Mr Jaishankar.

The seminarwas aimed at beginning a new conversation on understanding the loopholes in ourpreset urban planning systems and processes, and how it can be planned better forthe future.  The day-long seminar  also included thematic paneldiscussions that addressed the dynamics of mutual engagement betweengovernment, industry and civil society in  urban planning.  Theseminar saw heads of parastatal organization, urban planning and developmentexperts along with real estate heads and deliberate on issues like landhousing, real estate, low cost housing to urban planning and sanitation.

About PAC: PublicAffairs Centre (PAC) is one of India’s leading think tanks dedicated to helpimprove the quality of governance in India through citizen and civil societyparticipation. The focal points f PAC’s model  include public, policyresearch, participatory governance research, social accountability throughcitizen action and environment governance research.  

About SCIF:Smart Cities India Foundation (SCIF) is an independent social enterprise, setup with a vision to “moving towards smart, flourishing,  livable andresilient cities in Inda”. For more information email scifbangalore@gmail.com


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