QUITO, ECUADOR: At a time when Delhi Development Authority plans a transit-oriented development projects in highly congested areas of east Delhi, renowned urban planner PK Das has said that the concept is “irrelevant and counter-productive” for major Indian cities.
Das was awarded the first international Jane Jacobs Medal at Quito on Monday for his work towards revitalising open spaces and rehabilitation of slums and for bringing the voice of Mumbai residents into a participatory planning process.
While development around transit corridors could be important, some question the idea of making the already congested areas denser.
In Delhi, residents have been protesting against DDA’s plan for TOD in Mayur Vihar phase-I (Not future-ready: DDA plan for east Delhi locality hits hurdle, published on October 14, 2016). They said these areas are already congested and TOD would only add to the burden of existing services. The project is being planned as the Delhi Metro is building its network there. DDA has already started work on two more TOD projects in east Delhi.
TOD was a good idea in new cities and greenfield areas where transportation became the generator of life and development around it, Das said. “Transport link will be the first area of growth. But TOD can’t be accepted in large existing cities where congestion is already high around metros, railway stations and commercial zones,” he added.
While the government is pushing for slum-free cities and high-density vertical growth, Das warned against “slumification” of cities through these developments. “Some of the new highrise buildings coming up in Mumbai and other metros without open spaces, adequate amenities are in fact a slumification process. We are increasingly slumifying our cities through these developments,” said Das, who has been working for revitilising open spaces in Mumbai.
Though he agreed that cities should be slum-free, he said it is important to understand the definition of slums. “Slums are not just shanties, informal settlements. It is a way of life; it is about quality of life. To which we are referring to people having lack of light, air, ventilation, privacy etc. But this is what is happening in some of the new developments in the form of high rises,” said Das.
Credits ET Realty