Eco­nomic plan­ning a must for cities

De­vel­op­ment of new in­fra­struc­ture is not enough to im­pact realty mar­kets. For cities to be truly smart, new jobs have to be cre­ated

HT Estates - - FRONT PAGE - Van­dana Ram­nani smart cities an­nounced so far Each smart city will re­ceive crore in the first year and the crore over the next three years

Af ew weeks ago t he govern­ment re­leased t he t hird l i st of 27 c i t i e s i n cl u d e d i n i t s Smar t Cities Mis­sion. The 60 cities out of a to­tal of 100 cities to be de­vel­oped in the next three years in­clude five from Ma­ha­rash­tra, four each from Tamil Nadu and Kar­nataka, three from Ut­tar Pradesh, two each from Pun­jab, Ra­jasthan and Mad­hya Pradesh, and one each from Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Gu­jarat, Na­ga­land and Sikkim.

All of these cities will get ₹ 200 crore each for im­prov­ing their in­fra­struc­ture. The se­lec­tion process for the re­main­ing 40 cities will start in Jan­uary next year. The mis­sion’s fo­cus is gov­er­nance and ex­perts say that the in­crease in in­fra­struc­ture spend­ing and re­de­vel­op­ment will lead to an in­crease in prop­erty prices. Some small and medium size cities in the list will also be able to at­tract in­vest­ments and thereby cre­ate jobs. How­ever, if the govern­ment has to re­ally lever­age its spend­ing, it has to fo­cus on creat­ing jobs and em­power the city ad­min­is­tra­tion to take de­ci­sions on not just area plan­ning but also eco­nomic plan­ning, say ex­perts.

Su­nil Agar­wal, manag­ing direc­tor, Black OliveVen­tures, a con­sul­tancy on real es­tate as­set man­age­ment, says as of now public spend­ing on in­fra­struc­ture and public gov­er­nance has no co- re­la­tion with job cre­ation. Cit­ing Mum­bai’s ex­am­ple, he adds, “Job cre­ation and in­vest­ment in the city so far have been in­ci­den­tal and driven by avail­abil­ity of man­power in a city, rather than qual­ity of life and real es­tate fac­tors. The con­di­tions in which peo­ple live in Mum­bai are not great (ex­pen­sive hous­ing and long com­mute times). Even in Ben­galuru, while there are enough jobs and a sta­ble prop­erty mar­ket, the in­fra­struc­ture is crum­bling.”

Apart from push­ing prop­erty prices up be­cause of in­fra­struc­ture spends and re­de­vel­op­ment, the mis­sion will also en­sure that in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ment in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities will at­tract in­vest­ments from comm­pa­nies and im­pact real es­tate te prices.

Amit Bhatt, strat­egy head­dur­ban trans­port, EMBARQ, Q, agrees with the premise that at only suf­fi­cient job op­por­tu­ni­ties es will en­sure that the city is tru­lyly smart. Cities that have madee it to the smart cities list noww need to think about not only y utilising the funds to cre­ate bet­ter in­fra­struc­ture but also plan what eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity will be re­quired to sus­tain them over the years. For ex­am­ple, au­thor­i­ties in Farid­abad, which is town fo­cused on heavy in­dus­tries, need to un­der­stand that this will not carry it for­ward for the next 20 years and there­fore it needs to de­velop an­cil­lary al­lied in­dus­tries to at­tract ta­lent and cre­ate jobs. It needs to re­alise that a di­verse eco­nomic base is es­sen­tial for it to grow and de­velop.

It is im­por­tant for job cre­ation to be part of city plan­ning. For that, city agen­cies need to be em­pow­ered, say ex­perts. In most cities around the globe, pow­er­ful may­ors have been ef­fec­tive change­mak­ers. In In­dia, cities are gov­erned by states, which have other pri­or­i­ties. Ide­ally, may­ors should be em­pow­ered to de­cide on the eco­nomic plan­ning of a city.

As ur­ban­i­sa­tion in­creases, we need to em­power in­sti­tu­tions at the lo­cal level. “If cities have to trans­form, they need lead­er­ship and gov­er­nance at the city level. Once you em­power the right qual­ity of lead­er­ship comes in right at the city level and only that lead­er­ship can bring about change,” says Amit Bhatt, strat­egy head - ur­ban trans­port, EMBARQ.

Hud­son Yard in the US is a great ex­am­ple of smart city plan­ning com­bined with eco­nomic vi­sion. The area is a brand new neigh­bour­hood lo­cated on the western side of New York City. The idea for de­vel­op­ing this 28-acre area was con­ceived by Re­lated Com­pany’s bil­lion­aire de­vel­oper Stephen Ross. As per es­ti­mates, the de­vel­op­ment is ex­pected to add about $19 bil­lion an­nu­ally to New York City’s gross do­mes­tic prod­uct. The area has also been given tax breaks.

De­vel­op­ments com­ing up in the area in­clude 8 mil­lion square feet of of­fice space, a 1 mil­lion square-foot mall, shops, res­tau­rants and 4,000 res­i­dences and 14 acres of open space. Es­ti­mates sug­gest that in 2025, about 125,000 peo­ple, in­clud­ing res­i­dents and work­ers will visit the area ev­ery day. Cur­rently, a 1BHK in the area is priced at $1.95 mil­lion and the av­er­age price per sq ft is around $3,300.

PHO­TOS: ISTOCK

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.