Pre­serv­ing the iconic char­ac­ter of Lu­tyens bun­ga­low zone KEY POINTS OF DUAC’S PLAN

DUAC has pro­posed keep­ing the LBZ bound­ary close to the orig­i­nal plan while re­mov­ing com­mer­cialised ar­eas

HT Estates - - HTESTATES - AS Si­vara­makr­ish­nan

The most i mpor t ant ques­tion in the con­text of the ur­ban de­sign of iconic cityscapes across the world is whether de­vel­op­ment or preser­va­tion is in greater pub­lic in­ter­est. Most suc­cess­ful in­stances of ur­ban de­sign and plan­ning seek to cre­ate a city that is peo­ple ori­ented, aes­thet­i­cally ap­peal­ing as well as func­tional through the con­tin­ued de­vel­op­ment of the built en­vi­ron­ment.

With spe­cial at­ten­tion to ur­ban de­sign, over the years, New Delhi’s Lu­tyens Bun­ga­low Zone (LBZ) has also been con­tribut­ing to the liv­abil­ity and char­ac­ter of the Cap­i­tal city and its im­me­di­ate neigh­bour­hoods. Mean­while, with the ris­ing re­quire­ment for hous­ing for an ex­pand­ing pop­u­la­tion base, since the Cap­i­tal at­tracts a mi­grant pop­u­la­tion seek­ing em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties al­most on a daily ba­sis, there have been grow­ing con­cerns over al­ter­ing ex­ist­ing land use plans and in­creas­ing the Floor Area Ra­tio (FAR) in var­i­ous parts of Delhi, in­clud­ing the LBZ.

With the goal of pre­serv­ing the orig­i­nal char­ac­ter of the LBZ, there­fore, the Delhi Ur­ban Arts Com­mis­sion (DUAC) has re­cently pro­posed keep­ing the LBZ bound­ary close to the orig­i­nal plan of Ed­win Lu­tyens in 1912, while re­mov­ing the trans­formed/com­mer­cialised ar­eas that do not bear any sem­blance to the char­ac­ter of this iconic area. Ur­ban de­sign poli­cies typ­i­cally com­bine as­pects of ar­chi­tec­ture, l and­scape de­sign, pub­lic works, and art by com­ple­ment­ing them with poli­cies on en­vi­ron­ment, hous­ing, land use, parks and open space, and trans­porta­tion el­e­ments. DUAC’s lat­est pro­posal plans to re­tain LBZ’s char­ac­ter­is­tic green ar­eas that were in­cluded in 1988. Ac­cord­ingly, the pro­posal sub­mit­ted to the min­istry of ur­ban de­vel­op­ment plans to ex­clude ar­eas such as Jor Bagh, Golf Links, Ben­gali Mar­ket, Panchsheel Marg, and Chanakya­puri, among oth­ers, from the LBZ.

The new plan pro­poses to re­duce the core area by about 5 sq km to stand at about 24 sq km. In line with pre­serv­ing the green cover of the area, the premises of the Supreme Court, which had been deleted from the LBZ in 2003, will be rein­tro­duced if the lat­est pro­posal The pro­posal sub­mit­ted to the min­istry of ur­ban de­vel­op­ment plans to ex­clude ar­eas such as Jor Bagh, Golf Links, Ben­gali Mar­ket, Panchsheel Marg, and Chanakya­puri, among oth­ers, from the LBZ The core area will be re­duced by about 5 sq km to stand at about 24 sq km The newly pro­posed de­vel­op­ment con­trol norms for resi- is ac­cepted. While the ex­ist­ing de­sign guide­lines for LBZ do not pro­vide for any spe­cific FAR or ground cov­er­age for bun­ga­lows in the area, the newly pro­posed de­vel­op­ment con­trol norms for res­i­den­tial bun­ga­lows call for a FAR of 20 with 12.50% ground cov­er­age. Set­back norms will de­pend on plot sizes; and build­ing height will be re­stricted to 12 m with the num­ber of dwelling units not to ex­ceed four, again de­pend­ing on the size of the plot. Al­though there are pro­vi­sions for base­ments in the pro­posal, th­ese are to be used just for house­hold stor­age and car park­ing. This point has been in­cluded in a bid to pre­serve the es­sen­tial res­i­den­tial char­ac­ter of the neigh­bour­hood, by dis­cour­ag­ing com­mer­cial use. The re­stric­tion on the num­ber of dwelling units per plot size will also ef­fec­tively sus­tainin the hous­ing den­sity in the area.rea. den­tial bun­ga­lows pro­pose a FAR of 20 with 12.50% ground cov­er­age Set­back norms will de­pend on plot sizes; and build­ing height will be re­stricted to 12 m with the num­ber of dwelling units not to ex­ceed four, de­pend­ing upon the size of the plot Char­ac­ter­is­tic green ar­eas in­cluded in 1988 are to be re­tained

In terms of build­ing height, a to­tal of seven floors, in­clud­ing the ground floor, are to be al­lowed. Over­all build­ing height is not to ex­ceed more than 32 m, how­ever, with up to a three-level base­ment for park­ing, which will not be in­cluded in FAR. For de­vel­op­ing or re-de­vel­op­ing plots for non-res­i­den­tial pur­poses, the norms of the Delhi Mas­ter Plan 2021 will be ap­pli­ca­ble, as well as the Delhi Build­ing Bye-laws, 1983.

It is un­likely that the her­itage sta­tus of LBZ will be im­pacted by this new pro­posal, since all the main mon­u­ments and land­marks will con­tinue to be in­cluded within the core LBZ, and it is merely the pe­riph­eral edges of the area that are pro­posed to be re-de­signed. A bal­ance would, there­fore, be struck be­tween pro­tect­ing the her­itage sta­tus of the Cap­i­tal and the avail­abil­ity of devel-devel- opable space in cen­tral Delhi.

If this pro­posal from the DUAC is ac­cepted by the PMO, it will fall in line with the larger ur­ban de­vel­op­ment en­deav­ours of the Delhi Mas­ter Plan, which is to al­low for ex­pan­sions over the next 20 years to ac­com­mo­date the grow­ing pop­u­la­tion and in­fra­struc­ture needs of the Cap­i­tal. So far all ex­pan­sions have been re­stricted along the out­skirts of the city, be­cause of the lack of avail­able land in the core area. In case the pro­posal is ac­cepted, more de­vel­opable land will be­come avail­able in the cov­eted cen­tral dis­trict, lead­ing to es­ca­lated real es­tate and hous­ing con­struc­tion ac­tiv­ity in the re­gion. This up­turn i n real es­tate ac­tiv­ity will in­clude the growth of hous­ing de­vel­op­ment in the lo­cal­i­ties of Jor Bagh, Golf Links, Sun­der Na­gar, Ben­gali Mar­ket, Ashoka Road, Mandir Marg, Panchsheel Marg, Sar­dar Pa­tel Marg and Chanakya­puri. This real es­tate and con­struc­tion ac­tiv­ity, in turn, will lead to the ad­di­tion of res­i­den­tial units in the city.

If the pro­posal is ac­cepted, a mar­ginal price rise may be ex­pected. Al­though, the re­gion al­ready com­mands one of the most ex­pen­sive property prices in the coun­try, high de­mand, large plot sizes and pre­vail­ing land prices in cen­tral Delhi are likely to in­crease price points.

HT FILE PHOTO

If DUAC’s pro­posal is ac­cepted, a mar­ginal price rise may be ex­pected in the area that is home to some of the most ex­pen­sive prop­er­ties in the coun­try

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