The way ahead
In many countries such as Singapore, old structures have been redeveloped to coexist with modern skyscrapers
If implemented well, redevelopment could lead to private cooperative housing societies getting together to redevelop flats. These societies could end up getting brand new amenities at absolutely no cost - the extra apartments created could be used to pay for the redevelopment.
This is already happening in Mumbai where builders are finding it cheaper to raze old buildings and set up new units. It is also cheaper than buying new land from the government.
According to Amit Bhatt, a town planner, many countries have FAR in double digits. Hong Kong, for instance, follows what is known as the Value Capture Proposition in which some land parcels along the metro are sold when prices go up after the metro is functional. “Money recovered from the sale of these plots helps in funding the entire metro construction and there is no subsidy burden,” points out Bhatt.
In Mumbai, too, funding is done through the transfer of development rights mechanism. The TDR (transfer of development rights) policy was launched in 1991. Under the scheme, owners whose plots were reserved for playgrounds, markets and gardens or meant for road widening — could surrender their land to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation and get an equivalent space in the suburbs. This is also a revenue generation mechanism.
Singapore, too, is a good example where old structures have been redeveloped to coexist with modern skyscrapers. The country also does a periodic review of buildings that are over 25 years old. The Marina Bay area is a case in point. It is located on an area of reclaimed land which was formerly the Telok Ayer Basin. The area is today one of the leading financial centres.
Canary Wharf in East London is another example. Once known for its warehouses and wastelands, the area has now been transformed into a modern urban living zone.