Re-imagining Township Design
by Prerna Mehta 15 September 2014 | New Delhi
EMBARQ India in collaboration with NAREDCO (National Real Estate Development Council) hosted a half day Round Table Discussion and Workshop titled “Re-imagining Township Design - A Sustainable Mobility Approach” held at the India Habitat Center in New Delhi on 26th August 2014. The event witnessed participation by around 50 professionals from organisations, including national Town and Country Planning Organisation (TCPO), Delhi Development Authority (DDA), Central Public Works Department (CPWD), Delhi State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd. (DSIIDC), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), National Buildings Construction Corporation Limited (NBCC), UNESCO Chronicle, Alliance for an Energy Efficient Economy (AEEE), Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL), AECOM, Vatika Group, Suncity Projects, Tulip group, Indiabulls Real Estate Limited, Wave Infratech, One City Infrastructure, ATS Infrastructure Limited, Orris, Maas Architects, Mahagun India, In Awe and TERI University.
The intent of this workshop and round table was to engage with the public and private sectors for: • Sharing results of township design audits and post occupancy residents’ surveys with plausible solutions for the issues raised during these audits and surveys. • Understanding public and private sector perspectives on including sustainable mobility as an important design consideration for townships and • Inviting inputs from the public and private sectors which shall become part of an upcoming best practice design guidebook, due to be released soon.
The workshop began with a formal welcome and an introduction by EMBARQ India’s Senior Consultant, Saritha Sudhakaran. Vinaya Bansal, Project Manager, Market Alliances, EMBARQ India, then framed the context by highlighting the relevance of sustainable mobility in township design for the Real Estate business. He elaborated on the solutions to bring in a sustainable mobility approach in township design through strategies like prioritizing non-motorised transport (NMT), creating public spaces, opting for mixed use developments, encouraging public transport and parking demand management. He also shared EMBARQ’s work with the developer sector over the past few years, through workshops, conferences and design audits and EMBARQ’s outreach vision for bringing in a sustainability approach to real estate development.
Saritha Sudhakaran, then shared the intent for the day’s dialogue and presented key findings, observations from design audits and household surveys conducted in gated communities in Bangalore. The findings highlighted the level of consumer satisfaction and concerns regarding traffic congestion, public transport accessibility, NMT, public spaces, connectivity and pedestrian infrastructure. For example about 57% people demanded mixed use, 69% expressed concern over safety while travelling, and 46% people expressed that they would walk if sidewalks were present or use NMT modes if it is safer to so do, and so on. She emphasized that “all issues highlighted during the design audits and resident’s surveys can be dealt with through strategies and recommendations such as developing alternate mobility networks, prioritizing pedestrian and NMT links, designing safer intersections, creating lively nodes for people to gather, and ensuring access to the premises through multiple modes of transport”.
The second half of the workshop involved an interactive dialogue on market demands, perceptions towards adopting sustainability approaches in design interventions, policy and regulation reforms and expected incentives for private developers. This dialogue was initiated by Prerna Mehta, Manager, EMBARQ India who engaged the participants and helped draw out their views on the topics mentioned above. The following key issues were highlighted by the participants: • Inculcating a market demand for safety considerations in mobility, • Reviewing development control regulations to cater to sustainability, • Mandating traffic impact assessment studies as part of project design and approval process, • Enhancing last mile connectivity options, • Increasing taxation on car purchase, • Introducing rebates in development application process as an incentive for sustainability, • Providing preferential parking spots for car-pooling initiatives and • Making sustainable mobility a Unique Selling Point (USP) for projects.
The participants participated enthusiastically and the discussion generated various ideas for promoting a sustainability approach in building new township developments in India’s growing cities. A few eminent participants from Vatika Group, ATS Infrastructure limited, AECOM, In Awe, and Wave Infrastructure complimented the well-knit presentations and dialogue. Overall, the feedback received for the workshop was positive.