ADDRESSING INDIA’S URBAN HOUSING CRISIS
Urban India is grappling with an under-supply of housing units.Here are a few ways in which the housing gap can be bridged
India’s urban housing shortage is around 19 million as per a research by Cushman & Wakefield and PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry. This gap is set to widen if the housing demand continues to remain unmet. To effectively deal with the issue, the government needs to play an important role by giving impetus to affordable housing, paving the way for redevelopment schemes and laying more emphasis on city planning.
Boost affordable housing
In a country where millions of people are homeless, the importance and relevance of affordable housing can hardly be exaggerated. No one can argue that there is a huge unmet demand, which, if tapped, will result in high velocity of sales.
A majority of reputed developers in India do not build affordable housing projects. They mainly focus on mid to high-end and luxury projects. India’s urban housing shortage is led by EWS and LIG sections but the upcoming supply in urban centres is beyond the reach of the people who belong to such sections, says the research.
Building integrated townships
Integrated townships are built in places where a large tract of land is readily available. These townships essentially contain retail, housing as well as commercial developments. Such townships also have hospitals and schools; so every amenity is in close proximity. Several states in India are promoting the concept to ease pressure on big cities, as per the C&W report.
Providing impetus to redevelopment
Slums are unfortunately a part of a typical Indian cityscape. A majority of people who belong to the EWS and LIG sections work in unorganised sectors and live in slums for lack of better options.
The problem can be resolved by demolishing slums, temporarily housing dwellers in another locality and creating better quality housing to replace the slums. Similarly, existing old buildings can give way to vertical cluster development.Slums and old buildings are a part of central business districts and city centric locations at the moment. Unfortunately, redevelopment is a much politicised subject in India; tenants often do not agree to move to temporary houses in far-flung locations.
However, urbanisation mandates effective land-use, and redevelopment is an intrinsic part of that process. It needs to be streamlined in a manner so as to benefit all stakeholders involved. Redevelopment schemes can be undertaken only with government intervention. If planned and executed well, it can be a solution to most infrastructure issues in our cities.
Increasing FSI limits and building vertical cities
There is a strong pitch to increase permissible Floor Space Index (FSI) in Indian cities considering the space crunch in cities. Higher FSI brings in more supply into the market, creating more homes.
But vertical growth must be planned. Without the required infrastructural upgradation, higher FSI will result in extra load on the already congested and chaotic roads.
India lags behind in FSI norms compared to top cities of the world. Cities such as New York, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Shanghai offer FSI limits between 10 and 15. In Mumbai, the permissible FSI ranges between 2.5 and 4 for redevelopment projects, and between 1.33 and 4 for nonredevelopment projects.
Mumbai is perhaps the only city where FSI limit has been downscaled; it was set as 4.5 in Mumbai when it was introduced in 1960s.