Saturday, August 01, 2009

CITY NEEDS PLANNING

CITY NEEDS PLANNING
Our metro seems to be burgeoning out of control; experts say every stage of growth should be planned
Aarthi R | TNN

Bangalore: It’s a growing city — gangly and spreading wildly, bustling with teenage spirit. It’s a city with great potential. But what does Bangalore need to be that ‘global city with world-class infrastructure’ — a polished, poised metro which welcomes with grace? While some say it has a long way to go, others think just a few small steps are enough.
Here’s what experts from the city had to say.


MASTERPLAN NOT ENOUGH
Ashwin Mahesh | MEMBER OF ABIDE AND CENTRE OF PUBLIC POLICY, IIM-B
Trust me. Bangalore cannot become a global city with world-class infrastructure alone. Becoming a global city with global standards means it should be an attractive place for people to come and live. Unfortunately, there’s not much evidence to suggest that we are moving forward. Global city is related to infrastructure but not completely dependent. Much of it needs proper planning. And people should find more things to do — this includes a wider variety of cultural entertainment and avenues for after-office hours, and shopping destinations. Taking references from urban experts like Jeb Brugmann, he points out: “A masterplan does not make a world-class city, varied citizen participation does. It’s time we seriously look at ‘citizen participation’. In the long run, this can throw up a wide variety of aspirations, and also help shape neighbourhoods differently. Give them the money to spend it themselves for their development. It’s worked in many places around the world.”
WHAT WE NEED
Citizen participation in issues that concern them and also give them a chance to bring about a change Gender equality: We are still very far from it. It cannot happen overnight. Institutional efforts also need to complement the government initiatives Better education: Our education is not diverse but more often becomes just narrow trajectories of learning. There is a need to cover diverse disciplines



WE LACK BASICS
A Ravindra | ADVISER TO CHIEF MINISTER B S
YEDDYURAPPA ON URBAN
AFFAIRS
Bangalore already has the characteristics of a global city. Attracting global strength with its cosmopolitan culture, steady IT growth and strong human resource base, with increasing migratory population. What we lack is proper planning, more in terms of basic amenities and physical infrastructure — this includes power and water. We have already initiated many projects to tackle these issues, and it might take time to see the benefits. However, we also need to look at creating smaller townships with better connectivity. Areas of health and education also need to be worked on. We have some of the world’s best hospitals and premier institutes for higher education. But what we also need is primary health care and affordable education.
PATH TO PROGRESS
Good roads by easing congestion Affordable and quality primary healthcare and education for all Retain and strengthen our technology base



IMPLEMENT PROJECTS
Eijaz Ahmed Sait | EXCHAIRMAN FOR CIVIC AFFAIRS, INFRASTRUCTURE, FKCCI
Bad roads, inadequate transport facilities and an acute shortage of power despite frequent assurances by the chief minister — Bangalore is ruining its position when it comes to civic affairs and infrastructure. It’s not just increased funds that matter, the government should also ensure that the projects taken up are periodically reviewed by a committee that also involves representatives of stakeholders like NGOs, trade bodies and resident welfare associations. Timely implementation of projects is another issue — most often, delay in completion pushes up costs and also public temper.
THE THREE FACTORS Good roads: They’ve gone from bad to worse. Can be worked at various levels: within the city and then within the state, involving all national highways Transport: Focus on mass rapid transport. Metro Rail is not the only solution. Alongside, we need to consider supplements like the monorail. Set up transport terminals with world-class facilities at every entry point Ample power: This will help boost industrial growth. Karnataka, once among the top five in overall industrial growth, has fallen to number 15.



NO MORE HEAVY INFRASTRUCTURE FOR US M N Sreehari | TRAFFIC EXPERT Experienced world cities plan on global standards when population crosses 10 lakh and execute them when it reaches 20 lakh. Unfortunately, in Bangalore we have crossed 80 lakh and are still debating what to do, despite the innate potential to be there. Bangalore has some of the finest building structures already. But roads have not grown in proportion to these developments. Nearly 60% of city roads are narrow, which makes them unfit, or they are widened, which is again impossible. On the other hand, flyovers and underpasses are required for all major arterial roads and ring roads. But, putting up this infrastructure within narrow roads creates further problems. Even developed cities like Bangkok have the same problem. Bangalore has not grown as a city. Over the years, villages have turned into towns, these towns have changed to a city, the city into a metro and the metro is being converted into a megapolis. This is the global trend. Had we planned all these stages, we could by now have turned Bangalore into the global city with world-class infrastructure we aspire for. We could bring in some relief by not going ahead with further proposals of 40 or more flyovers and underpasses in the heart of the city as they may not be viable.
WHAT’S THE WAY OUT?
Planning agenda: first, introduce mass transportation. This includes the Metro, monorail, high-capacity buses, Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) that’s complemented by Intermediate Public Transport.
Let’s not add any more flyovers and underpasses in the heart of the city
World-class cities have a concept of an ‘old’ and ‘new’ city. Why not create a new Bangalore city on a separate 500 sqkm? Start by developing elevated road infrastructure. Then go for downtown on either side, with not more than 10 lakh population. Provide these townships with adequate infrastructure alongside employment potential, so they don’t have to travel much outside this area. Seems a dream, but surely not impossible if planned and executed well.

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