HT Estates

2034: will it help Mumbai residents?

The Mumbai Developmen­t Plan may develop 3,700 hectares of land; 65% of it will be for affordable housing

- Puneet Bhatia letters@hindustant­imes.com The author is director and headreal estate, Mirae Asset Global Investment­s (India). Views expressed are personal

A few years back, my business partner andIwereon­afundraisi­ng trip in the US and decided to stay in a hotel on the outskirts of New York City. All dressed up in suits and our overcoats in the freezing cold, while we were waiting for the bus to take us to the train station, we were surprised and a tad bit anxious to find an unknown car stopping and offering us a lift to cross George Washington Bridge and drop us to the nearest train station. We thanked the driver after the ride. It was later that I understood that the driver was benefittin­g in the process, as this was a unique wayofthego­vernmentto promote car pooling. His toll card could qualify for the “Carpool Discount” if he had more passengers in his vehicle. While the issues related to such hitch hiking are debatable, the event remainsetc­hedin mymemoryas an innovative way to increase active participat­ion of the general public to overcome infrastruc­ture issues.

In the recently unveiled Mumbai Developmen­t Plan 2034, under the aegis of the Urban Design Research Institute, 250 NGOs, approximat­ely 2,500 citizens and 24 resident associatio­ns have been actively involved in the review process initiated in January 2014. It’s the first developmen­t plan to be made available for such public scrutiny.

The developmen­t plan envisages the potential developmen­t of 3,700 hectares of land with approximat­ely 65% allocated for affordable housing. The planned creation of 8 million jobs and 1 million affordable homes reaffirms the government’s commitment to the “Housing for all by 2022” objective and provides much-needed impetus to monetisati­on efforts of potential redevelopm­ent parcels in the city.

The Master Plan is slated to act as a catalyst for improving the life of the common man by offering the following: Boost to mid-segment housing; converging housing projects with the advantage of extra floor space index (FSI), thus synchroniz­ing with mass transit system; planned housing offering availabili­ty of large layouts of land parcels; mixed-use developmen­ts on the rise with a possibilit­y of walk to work in future developmen­ts; creation of newnodesan­ddecongest­ing existing choked infrastruc­ture; foreign developers andFDIcapi­tal along with global best practices to bring in planned developmen­ts; additional 15% incentive area for redevelopm­ent in housing societies older than 30 years. With a population of 21 million people, Mumbai is among the world’s most densely populated cities, at 31,700 people per sq.km. Asplannedu­rbanised area is projected to reach 1,300 sq.km by 2032, the success of urban land policy measures in global cities such as Seoul, Jakarta, Singapore, Hong Kong and San Francisco indicate that the right combinatio­n of land use implementa­tion, clearly defined property rights and expansion of available area in the region are crucial in achieving sustainabl­e developmen­t. FSIs in these cities range from 5.0 to 15.0, compared to the currently proposed permissibl­e FSI of 2.0 for Island City and suburbs in Mumbai. Further, with the limit being set to 3.0 in Central andSouth Mumbai and 2.5 in residentia­l suburbs, and special focus on areas aroundmass­transit systems and the road width, the plan may achieve parity across different regions. Critical aspects of the plan include creation of parks, playground­s and amenities to supplement residentia­l projects, and the push towards affordable housing provides an alternativ­e to the stagnant sales being witnessed in the luxury and highend segment.

Linkages to the mass transit system and road width will see higher impact in office space developmen­ts with the revised permissibl­e FSI set at 5.0, up from 1.33 and 2.50 in the Island City and suburbs, respective­ly. The enhanced FSI will also need to create a business case due to premiums to be paid to the government.

The plan also creates an opportunit­y for enhanced requiremen­t of finance with a spate of new launches expected over a period of time. At present, considerab­le capital is being utilised in refinancin­g existing projects. The developmen­ts may also create a requiremen­t for long-term patient capital, particular­ly in large residentia­l schemes and office projects.

I hope the implementa­tion of the new developmen­t plan happens in the right spirit, acting as a catalyst to better lives for Mumbaikars. Hopefully, the infrastruc­ture woes reduce and the l i ves of Mumbaikars improve with the Master Plan’s implementa­tion.

 ?? MINT/FILE ?? The Master Plan is slated to act as a catalyst for improving the life of the common man
MINT/FILE The Master Plan is slated to act as a catalyst for improving the life of the common man

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