Urban Planning in India

Urban Planning in India

Podcast details

Launched June 2020

11 Episodes

CAU, CUPP

This podcast offers a rich collection of conversations and audio essays on significant issues in urban planning and policy. Like and Follow on podcast apps at /crdfpodcast

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Darshan Parikh: Introduction to the podcast Series

Over the last seven decades, planners in India have tried different approaches and adopted various methods to plan the Indian cities. From the early days of centralised Master planning to current emphasis on local town planning schemes, they embraced different tools. The state has put in place ambitious renewal schemes and smart city missions. However, questions, such as how to make planning mechanisms work for India persists as solutions either appear elusive or fall short of their objectives.

This podcast series, titled Urban Planning in India, is a reflection on the urban story so far. Hosted by the Centre for Research on Architecture and Urbanism (CAU) and the Centre for Urban Planning and Policy (CUPP) at CEPT University, it offers a rich collection of conversations and audio essays. Eminent thinkers, practitioners, public decision-makers and policy advocates recall and reflect, discuss critical issues and point out the way forward. The episodes are of two categories, one that engages with larger and fundamental issues of urban planning and policy and the other that looks at them through the stories of specific city experiences.

Motivated by the excellent reception of a similar attempt on architecture, the centres have put together the podcast series that will benefit students, serve as resource materials for teaching, work as useful analysis to practitioners and support research as archival material.


Rutul Joshi: Land Use-Transport Integration for Indian Cities

Any discussion about land use and transport is essentially a discussion about the dynamic relationship between access and location in a city. The locational advantage could be multiplied by higher access and poor spatial configurations could impair accessibility. This podcast explains how this plays out in Indian cities. It begins by clearing some of the misconceptions about the relationship between land use and transportation. Then it swiftly moves into elaborating the Indian experience and points to the impediments for better integration of land use and transport planning. In the end, it outlines the possible models of making them work together at various scales of planning in Indian cities.

Rutul Joshi is an architect-urban planner teaching at CEPT University. His doctoral research focused on conceptualising the poverty-mobility linkages for Indian cities. Since then, he has continued to work on issues related to transport equity and new approaches to reform urban planning practices. Recently, Rutul led a multi-year research project on contextualizing transit-oriented development for Indian cities with a monograph on TOD planning as the key project output. This was used to train several government planners and officials. Rutul also writes occasionally in the newspapers and media on civic issues.
 


B. R Balachandran in Conversation with Bimal Patel: Keeping Affordability In Mind

In the fourth episode of their series of conversations on making city planning work in India, Bimal Patel and B.R. Balachandran discuss the importance of keeping affordability in mind when framing regulations, norms and standards.  Starting with housing affordability, they talk about how unrealistic norms and standards can be counterproductive, resulting in outcomes that are quite the opposite of what they set out to achieve, often excluding and rendering illegal, large sections of urban population. They also discuss what approach we should take to norms and standards, keeping affordability in mind.

Bimal Patel is an architect, urbanist and academic.  He is President of CEPT University.  He also heads HCP which is a multi-disciplinary design, planning and management practice based in Ahmedabad.  Bimal Patel's research focuses on architecture and urban planning, real estate markets, regulatory frameworks and land management. He has won numerous awards including the Aga Khan Award for Architecture (1992). In 2019 he was awarded the Padma Shri, one of India's highest civilian honours.
 
B.R. Balachandran is an urban planner with over 25 years of experience, currently engaged in doctoral research at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. After 10 years at Environmental Planning Collaborative, Ahmedabad, in 2007, he co-founded Alchemy Urban Systems, a planning practice in Bangalore and also served in senior advisory roles at institutions such as CDD Society, BORDA and ITDP.  While engaged in research on post-disaster recovery in the US, he has continued to work on planning projects in India.


A. Srivathsan in Conversation with Vidyadhar Phatak: FSI: From a Physical Planning to a Fiscal Tool

In this podcast, a sequel to the land market in urban planning, Vidyadhar Phatak traces the evolution of FSI Mumbai. This episode highlights the transformation of FSI as a physical planning tool to a complex fiscal tool.  He discloses the ill-effects of first creating scarcity of development rights through low uniform FSI and then using the scarcity value for achieving development objectives. Further, he explains the failed attempt to reform the FSI regime in Mumbai. He raises the legal question of ownership of development rights and the state’s right to assign such rights at a price. In the end, he has some cautionary words for other cities that wish to emulate Mumbai in using FSI as a policy tool.

Vidyadhar Phatak, is one of the leading urban thinkers in the country with rich practice and teaching experience. He is the former Chief Planner of Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority and also the former Dean of Faculty Planning, CEPT University. Mr Phatak was the director of National Housing Bank from 2006 to 2012 and also worked on several urban planning reforms as a consultant with the World Bank. Over the last 40 years, he has worked on land markets, land-based Fiscal Tools, urban Planning reforms and housing.

A. Srivathsan is an architect and urban designer, and currently Director, Centre for Research on Architecture and Urbanism, CEPT University Ahmedabad. He was previously the Academic Director of the University, and before that taught for a decade and worked as a senior journalist with The Hindu, the national newspaper. His research and writings include the themes of urban history, planning policies and contemporary architectural practices. Srivathsan’s recent work includes work on evidence based affordable housing policies for Chennai, a study conducted for Tamil Nadu State Planning Commission.

 


B. R Balachandran in Conversation with Bimal Patel: Working with Markets

In the third episode of their series of conversations on making city planning work in India, Bimal Patel and B.R. Balachandran discuss how urban planning in India needs to learn to work with a market economy. Bimal talks about the historical context in which planning in India adopted the approach of "providing what the city needs" and why that doesn't work. The discussants argue that the role of planning is to create a framework of rules for the market to operate efficiently. Planning should seek to provide only those goods and services that the market cannot or will not provide efficiently.

Bimal Patel is an architect, urbanist and academic.  He is President of CEPT University.  He also heads HCP which is a multi-disciplinary design, planning and management practice based in Ahmedabad.  Bimal Patel's research focuses on architecture and urban planning, real estate markets, regulatory frameworks and land management. He has won numerous awards including the Aga Khan Award for Architecture (1992). In 2019 he was awarded the Padma Shri, one of India's highest civilian honours.
 
B.R. Balachandran is an urban planner with over 25 years of experience, currently engaged in doctoral research at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. After 10 years at Environmental Planning Collaborative, Ahmedabad, in 2007, he co-founded Alchemy Urban Systems, a planning practice in Bangalore and also served in senior advisory roles at institutions such as CDD Society, BORDA and ITDP.  While engaged in research on post-disaster recovery in the US, he has continued to work on planning projects in India.


Shreya Gadepalli: Demystifying Urban Transportation

In this podcast, through several examples, Shreya Gadepalli highlights the deterrents that impede a sensible urban transportation plan for cities in India. She talks about the complex structure of mobility on Indian streets that favours personal vehicles over public transport. Shreya Gadepalli makes a case for radical rethinking on urban mobility, advocating for inclusive public transport, pricing for parking and safe pedestrian and cycling networks.

Shreya Gadepalli, an engineer by training, is an expert on sustainable urban mobility. She is currently the South Asia Director at the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP), a global non-profit organization that works with cities to bring about sustainable transport solutions.  She has extensively worked on bus rapid transit plans, design of non-motorised transport facilities, parking management, and transit-oriented development. Shreya is an active contributor to national and state policies and guidelines. 


Shirley Ballaney: Land Pooling: Gujarat Experience and the Way Forward (Part-1)

In this two part - series podcast, Shirley talks about the Town Planning Scheme mechanism, a versatile planning tool as it is practiced in Gujarat and recently adopted by other states.  In the first part, she talks about the  historical background of Land re-adjustment and Land pooling internationally and   in India,  chronicling  the experiments in land pooling thus far.

Shirley Ballaney is an architect and an urban planner with over two decades of experience in urban planning, policy & development. She has worked in many cities in India and led a wide array of projects ranging from preparing statutory city development plans, town planning schemes and area development plans. Shirley practices as an independent consultant and works for The World Bank, Asian Development Bank, DFID, NIUA and many private consulting firms. Her research interests are land use planning & management, development regulations, heritage and environment.


Shirley Ballaney: Land Pooling - Gujarat Experience and the Way Forward (Part-2)

In the second part, she  discusses the Gujarat Town Planning schemes and ends with some thoughts on improving and expanding the practice. It looks like the land pooling mechanism will increase in importance in the post-COVID times as resource-strapped city governments rush to enhance existing and provide amenities such as open space, and health and educational facilities.

Shirley Ballaney is an architect and an urban planner with over two decades of experience in urban planning, policy & development. She has worked in many cities in India and led a wide array of projects ranging from preparing statutory city development plans, town planning schemes and area development plans. Shirley practices as an independent consultant and works for The World Bank, Asian Development Bank, DFID, NIUA and many private consulting firms. Her research interests are land use planning & management, development regulations, heritage and environment.

 


B. R Balachandran in Conversation with Bimal Patel: Planning the city for an unpredictable future

In this episode, Bimal Patel and B.R. Balachandran discuss why planning in India struggles to deal with the inherent unpredictability of the future. They look at how plans are excessively deterministic and why they take refuge in a "predict and provide" approach. Bimal argues that conventional plans delusively seek stable outcomes, while economies are always in flux. Such attitudes have been the primary reasons for dysfunctional cities. Later in the conversation, they explore a practical and meaningful approach to planning in the face of unpredictability, identifying the critical elements that need to be planned and others that need to be flexible.

Bimal Patel is an architect, urbanist and academic.  He is President of CEPT University.  He also heads HCP which is a multi-disciplinary design, planning and management practice based in Ahmedabad.  Bimal Patel's research focuses on architecture and urban planning, real estate markets, regulatory frameworks and land management. He has won numerous awards including the Aga Khan Award for Architecture (1992). In 2019 he was awarded the Padma Shri, one of India's highest civilian honours.
 
B.R. Balachandran is an urban planner with over 25 years of experience, currently engaged in doctoral research at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. After 10 years at Environmental Planning Collaborative, Ahmedabad, in 2007, he co-founded Alchemy Urban Systems, a planning practice in Bangalore and also served in senior advisory roles at institutions such as CDD Society, BORDA and ITDP.  While engaged in research on post-disaster recovery in the US, he has continued to work on planning projects in India.
 
 


B. R Balachandran in Conversation with Bimal Patel:
Making City Planning Work in India

Dr. Bimal Patel, renowned urbanist, discusses with B.R. Balachandran, urban planner and collaborator of Dr. Patel, the need for a paradigm shift in the way we look at city planning in India   They reflect on why city planning in India has been consistently ineffective for several decades and what it will take to change this situation.  Dr. Patel makes a case for a paradigm shift in our approach to urban planning.  The discussion unpacks the paradigm shift into several discrete aspects dealing with fundamental dysfunctions in the planning systems currently followed in most Indian cities.  Each of these aspects will be elaborated in subsequent episodes of this series.

Bimal Patel is an architect, urbanist and academic.  He is President of CEPT University.  He also heads HCP which is a multi-disciplinary design, planning and management practice based in Ahmedabad.  Bimal Patel's research focuses on architecture and urban planning, real estate markets, regulatory frameworks and land management. He has won numerous awards including the Aga Khan Award for Architecture (1992). In 2019 he was awarded the Padma Shri, one of India's highest civilian honours.

B.R. Balachandran is an urban planner with over 25 years of experience, currently engaged in doctioral research at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. After 10 years at Environmental Planning Collaborative, Ahmedabad, in 2007, he co-founded Alchemy Urban Systems, a planning practice in Bangalore and also served in senior advisory roles at institutions such as CDD Society, BORDA and ITDP.  While engaged in research on post-disaster recovery in the US, he has continued to work on planning projects in India.


A. Srivathsan in Conversation with Vidyadhar Phatak:
Land Market in Urban Planning

In this episode, Vidyadhar Phatak in conversation with A. Srivathsan, answers some of the crucial questions about land markets and urban planning. Given the lockdown and with Mr.Phatak in Mumbai and Srivathsan in Chennai, discussion of the conversation first happened over mail and then recorded. Mr.Phatak points out the fallouts resulting from ignoring or remaining oblivious to land as private property and market forces. Further, he explains how planning has implicitly presumed large scale public ownership of land. Things have changed, he explains. After the 1990s that is the post-economic liberalisation era, the planners are compelled to take into account the land market in formulating city plans and in evaluating development control measures.

Vidyadhar Phatak, is one of the leading urban thinkers in the country with rich practice and teaching experience. He is the former Chief Planner of Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority and also the former Dean of Faculty Planning, CEPT University. Mr Phatak was the director of National Housing Bank from 2006 to 2012 and also worked on several urban planning reforms as a consultant with the World Bank. Over the last 40 years, he has worked on land markets, land-based Fiscal Tools, urban Planning reforms and housing.
 
A. Srivathsan is an architect and urban designer, and currently Director, Centre for Research on Architecture and Urbanism, CEPT University Ahmedabad. He was previously the Academic Director of the University, and before that taught for a decade and worked as a senior journalist with The Hindu, the national newspaper. His research and writings include the themes of urban history, planning policies and contemporary architectural practices. Srivathsan’s recent work includes work on evidence based affordable housing policies for Chennai, a study conducted for Tamil Nadu State Planning Commission.


Upcoming Episodes

B. R Balachandran in Conversation with Bimal Patel: Making Implementable Plans
B. R Balachandran in Conversation with Bimal Patel: Making Implementable Plans
17, July 2020