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THE PORT­LAND PRO­JECT, USA CURITIBA IN BRAZIL COPEN­HAGEN IN NETHER­LANDS HONG KONG

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One pro­ject that comes clos­est to the Karkar­dooma pro­ject is the Port­land Re­de­vel­op­ment Pro­ject in the US. This is a pub­lic-private part­ner­ship that used tran­sit to lever­age large-scale re­de­vel­op­ment in Port­land’s Pearl Dis­trict, a neigh­bour­hood built along a street­car line. The street­car was built to con­nect two large parcels of va­cant in­dus­trial land north and south of down­town.

This private in­vest­ment – an es­ti­mated $3.5 bil­lion in 2008 – helped the city meet sev­eral pub­lic goals and ob­jec­tives, in­clud­ing ac­com­mo­dat­ing a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of new hous­ing units within the city’s ur­ban growth bound­ary. The re­sult was 10,000 units of hous­ing, one quar­ter of which was af­ford­able; 4.6 mil­lion square feet of com­mer¬cial space within two blocks of the street­car; Port­land’s 20-year hous­ing goal was met in just seven years on one-tenth the pro­jected land. The Port­land street­car proved to be a pub­lic in­vest­ment that at­tracted private in­vest­ment and helped the city meet many pub­lic goals, in­clud­ing af­ford­able hous­ing, very high-qual­ity streetscapes and parks and plazas. By coupling the de­vel­op­ment of a pedes­trian friendly com­mu­nity with an ef­fi­cient low-emis­sions Bus Rapid Tran­sit (BRT) sys­tem and lower car park­ing avail­abil­ity, Curitiba, the cap­i­tal of the Paraná state of Brazil, has suc­cess­fully re­duced the over­all travel of its res­i­dents. The suc­cess of its BRT is all about plan­ning ur­ban de­vel­op­ment and trans­port to­gether. The city’s pub­lic trans­port con­sists of el­e­ments such as a net­work of feeder lines, links be­tween trans­port and the road sys­tem, links be­tween trans­port and land use and the BRT cor­ri­dors. As many as 80% of the city’s pop­u­la­tion uses the BRT to travel to work. Stud­ies have found that due to this the city uses 30% less fuel per capita re­sult­ing in re­duced air pol­lu­tion. Also, res­i­dents spend only about 10% of their in­come on travel. Other fea­tures of the BRT sys­tem in­clude fare col­lec­tion be­fore board­ing, fast pas­sen­ger de­board­ing. The land close to the tran­sit ar­ter­ies is set aside as a high den­sity area and very lim­ited park­ing is avail­able in the down­town area. The city boasts had TOD as far back as 1947 (it was not known as such though) when a pol­icy known as the Fin­ger Plan went into ef­fect. The plan called for de­vel­op­ment to stretch out in five “fin­gers,” in par­al­lel with com­muter lines is­su­ing from a cen­tral core, with green spa­ces be­tween the ex­tended dig­its. Sub­se­quently, in the 1990s, the city planned and cre­ated the Ørestad dis­trict, which has a de­vel­op­ment plan around mu­nic­i­pal light rail. The north­ern sub­urbs form the lit­tle fin­ger of the plan and are tra­di­tion­ally the wealth­i­est. The north­north­west­ern part of the sub­urbs forms the ring fin­ger. The area largely con­sists of mid­dle in­come houses. The north­west­ern sub­urbs form the mid­dle fin­ger and con­sist of mid-in­come units and low-rise pub­lic hous­ing. The west­ern sub­urbs form the in­dex fin­ger and com­prise of in­hab­i­tants with the low­est per capita in­come. The south­west sub­urbs form the thumb under the plan. The de­vel­op­ment of the Ørestad area is part of the sixth fin­ger plan. Hong Kong’s prin­ci­pal rail oper­a­tor is the MTR Cor­po­ra­tion (MTRC) that has adopted the “Rail + Prop­erty” de­vel­op­ment approach. MTRC’s ac­tive in­volve­ment in prop­erty de­vel­op­ment is what dis­tin­guishes it from other pub­lic trans­port or­gan­i­sa­tions world­wide. An­other in­ter­est­ing fea­ture is that MTRC does not re­ceive any cash sub­si­dies from the Hong Kong gov­ern­ment to build rail­way in­fra­struc­ture; in­stead it re­ceives an in kind con­tri­bu­tion in the form of a land grant that gives the com­pany ex­clu­sive de­vel­op­ment rights for land above and ad­ja­cent to its sta­tions.

Th­ese grants re­lieve MTRC from pur­chas­ing land on the open mar­ket. What this means is that it buys the land ad­ja­cent to all fu­ture rail lines from the gov­ern­ment at pre de­vel­op­ment prices and once the link is con­structed and the land de­vel­oped along it, it uses the in­creased value of the land to fund rail op­er­a­tions and fur­ther ex­pan­sion plans.

The sys­tem wit­nesses a rid­er­ship of around 4.5 rid­ers daily.

PHO­TOS: IS­TOCK AND SHUT­TER­STOCK

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