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Town Planning - Introduction

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The planet earth appears blue from outer space due to the huge amount of water covering the globe. The exposed land above this ocean water is only 30% the ocean water portion being the remaining 70%. India stands 7th nation after Russia and china in its extant of land which is about 32,263 Sq km. This land asset available to the earthlings, which is the fundamental asset, is limited in its extent. This asset belongs to the entire life system that exists at any point of time on this planet. It can only be borrowed for temporary convenience by any life that exists on the planet at any time period.

Successful Town planning is based on the fundamental principles which should take into account the envisaged roll of the town, its location, weather and topology. Hence Town Planning starts at the time of selection of a suitable site for the new town.

Any design is valid only as far as the assumptions that need to be made at the start and are valid till the life span of the town. It requires the planner to visualize as accurately as possible the town and its roll in the country which it belongs to.

Towns are different from the villages where agriculture is the main occupation. The towns have governments, their offices, and possibly industries. The Schools Colleges Universities are the other category of necessities that get added up apart from big Hospitals, eateries, malls etc. The main difference, in effect, a town has from a village is the population density. The population density of a town can be really high. This leads to increase in vehicular traffic and other resource crunches. Polluting Industries could be the added challenges.


Evolution of towns:

Towns are in existence since the days of mythology. Towns and civilizations are in synchronization. As such, their evolution and decline are in step with each other. There are new cities which come up and grow in maturity and glory to decline and obliterate eventually at the end of its life span. 

What is Town Planning? 

Town planning is similar to planning ones own residence. Architects are trained in designing spaces for peoples use. He is also one who designs the spaces and supervises the construction of buildings or other large structures, in general. In a residential building the spaces are like kitchens, bed rooms, toilets etc. In the case of a town it is residential, green, entertainment, work and commute spaces for entire communities that are expected to reside temporarily or otherwise. These have to be designed individually and integrated to serve the Town optimally for the complete set of all the communities. Architects are trained to contribute towards the spatial design with aesthetics and utility. Engineers on the other hand have the expertise in various technical areas like civil, mechanical, mass transport and sanitation which is required to translate the spaces designed / dreamt by architects in to reality in towns. It is this challenge that the engineers have to meet successfully to achieve physically the esoteric dream designs conceived by the architects. 


Should have:- 

Esthetical value Convenience essential services water food entertainment electricity transport sanitation communication fire safety police education universities of learning movie / fine art theaters 

Sustenance Requirements 

Grocery Cloths Cosmetics Foot ware Travel Ware Jewels Art etc

Agriculture based food Cereals Pulses etc aqua and land animal flesh food Vegetable Fruits   

Should not have:- 

Pollution. Polluting Industries and Hazardous Industries should be in separate exclusive cities.

The Dynamics of a growing Town (uncontrolled) and Game Theory 

The principles of non cooperative game theory, including strategic form games, Nash equilibrium, sub game perfection, repeated games, and games of incomplete information in a direct and uncomplicated style are the broad spectrum of the fields of a modern game theory.

The theory of non cooperative games studies the behavior of agents in any situation where each agent's optimal choice may depend on a forecast of the opponents' choices. "Non cooperative" refers to choices that are based on the participant's perceived self interest. theory that have been most useful in the study of economic problems. It also has some applications to political science. 

While game theory is useful in competitive situations as is clear from the above points, Town planning is better and should be without competition. This is where  the good sense prevails over ambition.


The main principle is that a town is like a living organism. It has a purpose and cannot or should not grow unplanned haphazard manner. Taking a leaf out of nature is perhaps in order. Each species of a town could be classified depending upon its roll. - Seat of power, Industrial, commercial, a business hub etc.   

Combining these is normally resorted to for increasing the land value which invariably results in unmanageable competition and should be avoided.

Cross posted from 


psaram42's picture

Economic Considerations and frustrations

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Economic Considerations 

  1. Quality of resources
  2. Demand
  3. Technical Competence
  4. Should result in net Increase of value 

Town planning frustrations 

Man is a social animal as all other animals. Economic justification should hardly be the priority over ambiance peaceful rewarding Social living conditions. 

Nariman Point  in Mumbai is an example where the land value is comparatively the highest in India. The successive Maharashtra government’s efforts in attracting businesses by offering to provide incentives in the form of necessary infra structure and allied facilities. Mumbai the capital of Maharashtra state can pride it self of having succeeded in proactively planning for highest land value. This land value though an important index of good town planning, has also succeeded in creating lot of frustration to the locals etc. 

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Impact of Internet and out sourcing 

Out sourcing has proved beneficial to developed countries like the United States of America. There is no need for those Indians who can work from Bangalore to be in different towns of The US. SM Krishna was instrumental in bringing IT to Bangalore. Are these IT parks in Bangalore a boon or a curse to the city? In terms of the raw materials or trained human resources any city would have succeeded as Bangalore.

Naveen's picture

Growth places burdens

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I think the success of Mumbai as India's financial capital & Bangalore as a scientific capital had it's origins several decades, if not a century ago, or more.

Mumbai succeeded since it was well located with access to one of the largest natural harbors that had attracted trade during old times. Further, the british had also made it the capital of Saurashtra under their rule & had developed the city with good rail & road facilities.

Bangalore had been an educational hub from the very beginning & had been producing huge number of technocrats, which made it the natural choice for locating IISc, IIM, as also almost all of the Indian air industry & various others such as ITI, HAL, HMT, BEL, BEML, etc. These trends were followed by the IT industry with Texas Instruments establishing base here in the mid-1980s, followed by hundreds, if not thousands more later.

Both these cities have seen severe strain on infrastructure & have been "fire-fighting" for some thirty years now. Thus, there are many negatives, but advantages far outweigh the disadvantages.

varsh's picture

it is really tough to

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it is really tough to implement new rules and methods in an already developed city than a city that can be newly formed ex : lavasa

it is brilliant to see what all can be implemented starting from a gps mapping for the entire city making it more convinient for the public. Self sufficiency is taken care of.

when a city grows out of its limits it must be decongusted.

for already exisitng cities like bangalore planning must be taken care of in an efficient way retaining its older heritage too.

we have lost most of the pete/keray/tota/ the lines on which the city was planned

psaram42's picture

Decongesting cities

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@ varsh 

That is a vague statement indeed. You are a student architect. Can you kindly expand what strategies that do we adopt to decongest Bangalore? 

@ Naveen 

"Bangalore had been an educational hub from the very beginning & had been producing huge number of technocrats, which made it the natural choice for locating IISc, IIM, as also almost all of the Indian air industry & various"  

The Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, has recently decided on Chitradurga, approximately 200 Km from Bangalore, for its new 1,000 acre Campus. IISc and its planners are to be congratulated for finalizing a new campus well beyond the reach of the Bangalore metropolitan region. Pl see the report here


Where was the necessity of this reversal of policies? I am just wondering. IISc was forced to go away from Bangalore and is being congratulated for the same.


idontspam's picture

In terms of the raw materials

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In terms of the raw materials or trained human resources any city would have succeeded as Bangalore.

Theoritically yes, The city also requires a eco-system of partners to maximize the potential and feed off each other. In early stages the eco-system plays a major role, which takes time to replicate. There are good reports available on the Bangalore story and why in the early stages it was hard for other cities to replicate. The entry barriers have partly been broken for vannila services but niche still holds for innovation.

I think the success of Mumbai as India's financial capital

If you dont know RBI/Govt/Authorities have a caste system. For example, Any foreign bank has to first open its branch compulsorily in Mumbai. Then license is granted to metros and only then they can expand to other cities. There is preference given to starting financial 'stuff' in Mumbai. Bangalore doesnt do something like that in IT.

varsh's picture

bangalore initially started

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bangalore initially started out to be a region filled with keray+tota+pete+kota which essentially revolved around lakes,greenery,shopping areas and a fort to surround the town.but with the british invasion bangalore  developed as a bi nucleii city with the concentrations being around the pete region (chickpet,balepet,chamrapet and so on) and the cantonment region later on that was commerical street ,mg road and brigade road.

. but in the near past with the development of various centers like jainagar,baswangudi,girinagar,srinagar,vijaynage etc in the south to malleswaram ,rajajinagar,basweshwarnagr and so on in the north with multiple centers in the west and east.with this growth bangalore has become a multinucilated region and has started congesting in all these nodes.

now, a thought... we can deconjust the city by actually creating a downtown (which we can consider as the pete region ) and ensure that it is developed.probably the residences can be moved to the suburbs so that the commercial area stays to the centre only and the residences around the periferal regions. this would eventually result in declutterin the city from malls such as mantri which have opened in bottleneck regions- around residences and main traffic centers.also it would result in a noise free suburban region with lesser pollution.

if patrick geddes had planned iisc it would have turned out as a single larger campus so ive heard!


psaram42's picture

Patric Geddes who are they?

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 @ varsh 

Can you kindly let us know who these “Patric Geddes” are? If you can give the actual references when you allude to something which may be worth reading by praja, it would be valuable. 

As you have mentioned in your historical perspective, we can try to make out why Bangalore is like what it is to day. However Town planning is a step ahead to figure out how to avoid some pit falls, in planning the future growth of an existing town. 

What I feel is to plan any thing one should list out what are the requirements that a city is likely to have in future. It depends on the roll of the city. Obviously one cannot expect a single city to be all in one. What do you think a capital of a state like Karnataka should and should not have? comment guidelines

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