Walking cities-India’s answer to the increasing urbanisation pressure: Shaishav Dharia, Lodha Group – ET Realty

January 3, 2018 By Lodha Web

Walking cities-India’s answer to the increasing urbanisation pressure: Shaishav Dharia, Lodha Group

03 January 2018, 12:44 PM IST

BY: Shaishav Dharia, Regional CEO, Lodha Group

The year 2017 has been a transformational year for the industry owing to the government’s thrust on enhancing the transparency and consumer confidence by implementing critical reforms like RERA and GST.

The advent of these reforms has invigorated a firmer, reliable business operating framework which was a pre-requisite for greater foreign and local investments to boost the sector. Similar to implications of all major reforms in other sectors in the past, there were bound to be some initial hiccups. But interestingly, the long-term repercussions of these changes are giving rise to a new dawn which is full of opportunities for all the industry stakeholders, right from developers, investors, partners to end-consumers.

These changes coupled with other efforts like granting the infrastructure status to the affordable sector, introduction of Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme (CLSS), and relaxation of home loan interest rates among others are infusing even greater impetus. The last quarter of this year witnessed launch of around 18,000 units in the first two months of the quarter while unsold units in top 7 cities of India declined by 8% between Q3 2016 and Q3 2017, showed data from Anarock. This demonstrates that the demand is on the rise and the buyers – some of whom were fence-sitters are investing in the market.

The increase in housing demand, however, poses a critical challenge for developers and governments. Can the mounting pressures of urbanisation be addressed without compromising quality of life for citizens?

Come 2018, the impending challenge that requires immediate attention is the burgeoning urbanization. It is imperative to address this trend, considering that 35% of India’s population lives in urban areas i.e. 350 million people and another 300 million (size of Europe) tonne will be added by 2030.

On an individual level, this will translate into worsening quality of life and long travel time. This can be countered well by sketching a robust plan for brownfield and greenfield cities which will not only facilitate better infrastructure but reduce travel time significantly.

Taking this into consideration, integrated developments are increasingly becoming a way of life than just a trend for good quality of life. We can take inspiration from models in developed economies like Singapore where homes, education centres, recreation facilities, everyday convenience stores, etc. are all co-located. And by pursuing this strategy with “walkability” as the central theme we can manifest an environment that improves the liveability quotient for all.

In other words, “Work, Live, Learn and Play” will come together cohesively. A strategy to build cities that provide a perfect blend physical and functional integration besides incorporating a deeper sense of community. Overall, with a healthier ecosystem, 2018 seems to be a perfect year for the industry to assimilate such reforms and work towards a sustainable development of the nation.