Cities must have a hu­man heart

Del­hi­ites need to take mea­sured steps to­wards a health­ier, eco­nom­i­cally sus­tain­able and a live­able city In­te­grated trans­port: Re­duce Metro stops En­cour­age growth in sub-cities around NCR

HT Estates - - HTESTATES - Sub­harthi Guha

The much con­cerned health of a city such as Delhi can­not be solved in a day, but mea­sured steps can pre­pare a brighter fu­ture for us and our chil­dren. Cities are com­plex ob­jects, al­though they are made of in­di­vid­ual el­e­ments, but they must al­ways be looked as a whole with their sur­round­ings through in­te­grated plan­ning tech­niques. This must be a com­plete growth model, at the core of which should be the agenda of hu­man com­fort level in a city. By do­ing so, we can prove that bet­ter liv­abil­ity will di­rectly con­trib­ute not just to a health­ier Delhi, but a more eco­nom­i­cally sus­tain­able model that can be at par with a global model such as Lon­don. We think if the whole city is con­nected by Metro, it would be a bet­ter place. In fact it’s quite the op­po­site. Cheaper MRT trans­ports such as Met­ros only en­cour­age more peo­ple to move to an al­ready congested Delhi. We need to re­duce Metro stops, as more stops mean more time of travel. We need to in­te­grate mod­els of trans­port such as rick­shaw, au­tos, Met­ros and rail­ways; and au­tho­rise them with a card sys­tem like Hong Kong. A user must be able to travel through mul­ti­ple modes of trans­port to reach door-todoor des­ti­na­tions. Only when the trans­port is com­fort­able for a ci­ti­zen in Delhi will he be will­ing to give up his car. This cen­tral­i­sa­tion will im­prove the dif­fer­ences in trans­port pay­ments and re­dis­tribute it be­tween all — Metro, au­tos, rick­shaws. Satel­lite towns close to Delhi only in­crease the cities’ bur­den as they con­gest con­nec­tiv­ity zones and in­crease de­lays. If we re­ally want Delhi to open up, we need to zoom out into sub- cities such as Meerut, Ro­htak, Re­wari, Bu­land­shahr etc, in neigh­bour­ing states and con­nect them with high speed rail. This will re­duce travel time to an hour and at the same time pro­vide am­ple space for peo­ple to re­side. It’s by far the most ef­fi­cient and faster way to con­nect cities. China, Amer­ica and Europe al­ready have such plans in place. It should be re­mem­bered that hav­ing a high speed rail be­tween al­ready dense cities would choke them fur­ther. The new al­ter­nate car num­ber plate pol­icy was first im­ple­mented in Bei­jing a few years back with an idea that it would en­cour­age peo­ple into car-shar­ing; al­ter­nately peo­ple chose to buy new cars as it didn’t cost as much. It in­creased car sales rapidly and put more cars on the road with added ben­e­fit to the pe­tro­leum in­dus­try and Bei­jing’s smog pol­lu­tion level con­tin­ued to in­crease. We need to fo­cus on how to re­duce traf­fic at in­ter­sec­tions where there are jams. In­creas­ing widths and in­vest­ing pub­lic money in fly­overs will only make the streets more pop­u­lated with cars, in­turn in­creas­ing pol­lu­tion and jams. Sim­i­larly, in­creas­ing FAR Also, none of th­ese con­nec­tors will be of any value if done in­di­vid­u­ally. Ev­ery­thing must be done to­gether, through a proper re­search and a drafted plan with plan­ning guide­lines fol­lowed to the T. Equal par­tic­i­pa­tion is re­quired from all stake­hold­ers — in­vestors, govern­ment and most im­por­tantly peo­ple. Such a model builds econ­omy faster than one can imag­ine. on an ex­ist­ing land is a strat­egy doomed for col­lapse such as the hous­ing in front of AIIMS, which once com­pleted would clog one of the best fly­overs in the city. We need to im­pose a tax dur­ing peak hours to dis­cour­age mo­torists from en­ter­ing congested ar­eas, em­ploy guards to mon­i­tor a cen­tralised park­ing model. This would re­duce il­le­gal park­ing.

HT FILE PHOTO

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