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Bangalore and Ribbon Development

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Urban DevelopmentGovernance

Bangalore's peripheral areas all messed up? Blame it on Ribbon Development. Let me introduce you to a term very relevant to the congested sprawl that our city is witnessing. Simply put, Ribbon Development means building shops and houses along the roads radiating from a town. If you were to look at Bangalore from the skies and track recently laid or widened major arterial roads leading out of the city, you would notice that almost all big ticket construction/development happens solely along (rather right on top of) these roads.

Do me another favor. When on the periphery of Bangalore, try take a left or right out of any big radial road. This is most likely what you would see [pictures below]. Pathetic roads, poor quality of construction and even narrower streets if you were to venture into a "layout".

Or try this. Take Outer Ring Road, Marathahalli area. Notice the amount of construction that has happened around Outer Ring Road in the area? Notice how a multiplex, and a bunch of retailers alike are making use of Outer Ring Road as free parking space?

Because businesses want to be located right on the major roads (for lack of better defined and developed commercial areas), because residential developers want to construct right next to these radial roads (for they don't want to share the burden of building access roads), and because BDA/BBMP wont do a good job of building interior access roads leading deeper into the peripheral areas - we get this extreme congestion on almost all such big radial roads. Tumkur Road, Hosur Road, Old Madras Road, ITPL Road (Mahadevpura), Mysore Road - you name it and witness the situation every morning and evening for yourself. The reason? The very-local traffic uses these roads for lack of alternatives, and plenty of parked or slow moving vehicles due to commercial establishments.

Big radial roads should be designed to serve the purpose of long-range connectivity and that alone. But due to lack of zonal norms or enforcement, they also serve as commercial/business roads, parking lots, and residential access roads. And that is the reason ladies and gentlemen, our city, especially the peripheral areas are in a state of mess.

If you move further out of the city and look at high speeds enabled by widened Mysore highway leads to a lot more deaths and accidents now, thanks to lack of norms and ideas to control or stem Ribbon Development.

Come in deeper inside the city, and you have problems that have very similar origin. Can't really call it Ribbon Development, but do notice that every road wider than 15 feet is seeing action it was not designed for. JP Nagar for example (a place I observer a lot) has temples, shops, big apartment complexes and the so-called 'individual' houses - all - vying with each to get a piece of mains and crosses that are 'wide' enough to enable access and parking for them.

The result of all of this? A royal and horrible mess that is fast getting out of hand.

What is the solution here? And are we seeing BDA/BBMP/BMRDA making efforts to address it? Do they see things this way in the first place? Let me save some for next post on the subject. Till then, please poke holes in my theory or augment my little knowledge :)


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bulls eye

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this is where the head hit the nail. stuck in old street designs. does not work with private vehicles around. in those days it was ok. not anymore.
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we the people

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I think we are spoiling the fair name of 'ribbon' - its actually bastardizing of our beloved city. In fact, the road skirting madivala lake in BTM just before meeting Bannerghata Road must be a front runner -- we have apartments which open up to the road -- who on earth gave permissions for such monstrosities? the basement parking opens up to the road and i am pretty sure that corrupt officials and unscrupulous builders and foolish buyers (that's us) are hastening the disaster. Also, a slum is developing big time right next to madivala lake near the BTM bus stand and i don't see anybody taking action. Who can i complain to have this cleared? Hyacinths are covering half of madivala lake (ESG, how can i help you in this?). Right across the road, a chicken vendor encroaches the footpath and slows up traffic big time..How do I do my mite to take this up? Any ideas please?
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well put. this is so distressing. please look at this image to understand the enormity of this mindless destruction. IISc did a study of the Bellandur Catchment area you can read parts of it here. (Someday., I'll upload the rest of it.) Is this the way to build cities? Is there anybody who has a planning theory or a design principle? they are not able to maintain natural flows. they have destroyed a valuable source of potable water. hogli, atleast have they supplemented the valeys with pipes? no. everytime it rains silkboard floods. hogli, have they used up all this land to make solid well planned layouts, no. so what is it that they did? even viruses grow in pattern and have a method. the even more frustrating part is that there are no solid plans to refurbish belandur catchment area. depending on your inclination you will laff/cry if you look at the NURM CDP about SWD. this is not the story of BLR only, it is the same story in HYD/Pune they have messed them up so much they cannot revive musi/mula try as hard as they do.
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how wide is wide enough

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so how much space should be devoted to roads and parking in a city? i have read numbers that say in US cities 30-60% of the city area is devoted to roads and parking! 60%! what a waste of space. wonder what bangalore's stats are.
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It's A Road To Chaos

Marathahalli boasts swanky apartments, IT firms and glitzy showrooms. Amid mounds of garbage and muck. Here you will see luxury vehicles moving on mud tracks. Today we take a look at the mind-boggling traffic woes.

Marathahalli was a village 15 years ago, but now it’s a booming residential and commercial hub. With many factory outlets selling branded garments and concentration of IT firms, it is growing in leaps and bounds. It’s also home to the first multiplex in the City - Innovative Multiplex. The multiplex offers best of facilities - game zone, theatre, food court and ample parking space.

It is an area with rich residents but poor civic amenities. It is just 2 km from HAL airport. Shoppers do business in lakhs everyday, but there is no space for customers to park vehicles. Same is the fate of the common public. Many residents own property worth crores, but struggle hard to get drinking water. Those having borewells sell water at Re 1 per pot.

Come weekend, the Marathahalli Main Road is flooded with thousands of vehicles. Hundreds of customers throng shops. Four-wheelers are parked on sidewalks as there are no parking yards.

Professionals, particularly those wor king in IT firms and enjoy two-day holiday during weekends, find Marathahalli the best place to shop. Reason: Outlets of more than 250 factories, be it apparel industry, leather industry or jewellery, are located here.

“This is the best place in south India to shop for consumer goods. Business here is bigger than that of MG Road, Brigade Road or Commercial Street. You should see how we struggle to manage our customers, particularly during weekends,’” said Niranjana Murthy, manager of Colour Plus, ready-made garment shop.

Shops on the road are open throughout the week. “Employees enjoy holiday on a rotation basis. We do good business when IT professionals get holidays. On any Saturday, our shop makes over a lakh rupees. During festivals, sales increase,” said Tahir, manager, Park Avenue showroom.

However, all is not well on the road. Shoppers feel they can do better business provided traffic woes are addressed properly. “I have to leave home (Koramangala) by 8.30 am if I have to each my shop in Marathahalli by 10.30 am,” said Ananth, manager, Colour Plus.

Every day, he spends nearly four hours riding his motorbike to and from the store. “Though business is good, we lose many customers because of the traffic. Many customers who get fed up with traffic jams on Marathahalli Road choose to visit either Commercial street or Brigade Road,” he said.

Infrastructure Upgradation
Marathahalli is the area where Bangalore City is growing at a high speed. Many IT firms are setting up their firms in the locality. It is the area where high-storey apartment complexes are coming up in large numbers. As a result, traffic movement is increasing by the day. The Palike has taken up upgradation of roads in Marathahalli sub-division at a cost of Rs 10 crore. We have taken up upgradation of all major roads in the area. The work will be completed by end of the present financial year.

Another major problem in the area is drinking water supply. The BWSSB has taken up a project to provide Cauvery water for residents of new areas of the Palike. As much as 80 per cent of the work is complete, pipelines have been laid and feeder line set up.

Narayanaswamy, JC,
Mahadevapura Zone (BBMP)

Apartment Complexes
There are 4,000 apartment complexes in the erstwhile CMC and gram panchayat areas. Now, the have been brought under BBMP. Of these, 1,000 apartments are in Marathahalli alone.

Builders feel there is a huge demand from the public for houses in the locality. Mr D V Raghu, general secretary, Bruhat Bangalore Builders’ Association, said new apartments are coming up in the area. However, meeting the demand for water is a difficult task. There is no supply of Cauvery water. Builders have to depend on borewells, while the groundwater table has got depleted. Water is available only at 800 ft deep.

Mr Raghu said builders are going in for rainwater harvesting to meet the demand for water. Every new apartment is coming up with such a rainwater harvesting system.

Marathahalli is a hub of IT companies and high-rise apartments. Many new complexes are coming up here. A new shopping mall with over 200 showrooms is coming up on the road.

“Our customers come in four-wheelers, but there is no parking space. On week days, we try to provide space in front of our shops, but during evenings and weekends, it’s difficult,” says Niranjana Murthy of Color Plus.

Abdul Raheem, who runs a shoe shop, says BBMP should consider setting up a parking complex close to Marathahalli Main Road. “You will not find any space on sidewalks during weekends. Vehicles are parked everywhere. Police find it hard to handle traffic during peak hours. A parking complex is the only solution,” he said.

Nicole Fernandes, a businesswoman, said residents have to deal with traffic congestion every day. “During peak hours, travelling on Marathahalli Main Road is a cumbersome task. Police deployment has to be increased.

Besides, the bad condition of roads has affected traffic movement,” she said.

Ridhima Gupta, a housewife, feels effective measures must be taken to prevent traffic snarls. “Traffic jams need to be controlled. Schoolchildren face a big problem while crossing roads. They should be provided with safe roads,” she said.

According to K C Ramamurthy, Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic), Marathahalli Main Road sees heavy traffic due to the construction of a bridge. “More traffic police personnel will be deployed to ensure smooth flow of traffic apart from making use of services of Home Guards. Unless the number of vehicles comes down in Bangalore, there is no end to the traffic woes,” he said.

Property Price
The price of a built-up area in Marathahalli varies from Rs 1,600 to Rs 2,000 per sqft in apartment complexes with 50 flats. However, price goes up to Rs 3,000 per sqft in bigger apartment complexes. The price of sites varies from Rs 1800 to Rs 2,300 per sqft.

Special Features

Hub of IT firms, apartments
Best choice for IT professionals for weekend shopping
Nearly 1,000 apartments in an area of 40 sqkm
More than 250 factory outlets
Shoppers do business worth lakhs on weekends
Has the first multiplex of the City

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Mumbai repeals Land Ceiling Act

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Maharashtra repeals Urban Land Ceiling Act 

In a crucial move, Maharashtra legislative assembly on Thursday repealed the Urban Land Ceiling and Regulation Act (ULCRA) which had hitherto regulated urban land holdings in India’s commercial capital and in the process locked up thousands of hectares in litigations, which might be freed now for development.

Repealing the well-intentioned but completely infructous socialist legislation of 1976 was a pre-condition that was imposed by the Central government on the state to access the much-needed funds from Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission for Mumbai’s transformation. Under the ULCRA, one could hold up to 500 sq meters land in Mumbai and extra land became surplus, which had to be surrendered to the government for mass housing.

Another purpose behind the state government’s move to pilot repeal of the ULC was to reign in spiralling land prices in Mumbai. Only three days back, on Monday, the MMRDA (Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority) hit a jackpot when three plots measuring barely six acres were sold to three bidders at a whopping price of Rs 2790 crore.

While Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries paid Rs 918 crore for 10,183 sq mt, Wadhwa group paid Rs 831 crore for a plot fo 7,107 sq mt and TCG Urban and Hiranandani paid Rs 1,041 crore for a 8,076 sq mt plot. In another such example, a builder offered to pay Rs 27,000 per sq ft to a housing society in Mulund suburb for redevelopment.

The ULC, which was an enabling act, was enacted by the parliament in 1976 during the emergency period to prevent land hoarding, but instead of freeing surplus land, the act engendered litigations, corruption and land scarcity, fuelling high real estate prices. The Centre as well as most of the state government scrapped the act in 1999, but Maharashtra remained an exception.

Chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh had tabled a resolution for repealing the ULC in the assembly in April this year, but a decision on it was deferred to the monsoon session and later to the winter session of the legislature. Finally, after a two-day debate, the resolution was taken up for voting on Thursday and was passed by voice vote, with the Congress, the NCP and the BJP supporting it, while Shiv Sena and the CPI-M opposing it. In Mumbai, huge tracts of land are owned by big business houses like Godrej, Wadia and Behramji, which remained locked in litigation in the Supreme Court for the past 30 years. In past 30 years, the tardy implementation of the ULC saw the state government acquiring only 14,624 hectares of surplus land out of 60,854 hectares.

Following the release of the ULC, shares of realty developers having presence in Maharashtra surged on stock exchanges. Bombay Dyeing, which holds huge land reserves, surged 5.58 per cent at Rs 705, Akruti City added 3.34 per cent to Rs 1,147.90, while HDIL rose 5.01 per cent to Rs 796.25.

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