Brownfield incremental cities

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Commuter RailPublic Transport

Brownfield incremental cities

The challenge for India is to write a new chapter in low-cost urban development, the way it has done in wireless telephony and automobiles (Nano) writes Subir Roy

Why did I post this under Commuter Rail? Because it ties in very well with what we are trying to say. Commuter rail infrastructure costs afraction of the fortune we spend today as most of it is already available. Incremental investment in mordenization of signaling and operations is all that is required to make it efficient. If one picked the cities identified in this report, connect them to Bangalore and did all that the author is trying to say, we can have a world class ecosystem up and running in no time.5 years tops.

Is the govt listening? Are the bearucrats up to it?



Brownfield & Greenfield cities

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Mr Subir Roy, noted with interest your column on building brownfield incremental cities as an alternate model of development. While developing teir 2 cities and satellite townships is not an entirely a new concept, one of the factors
preventing the growth of these towns is the choice of the cities and their linkage to the big city's economic ecosystem. At we have attempted to use commuter rail service for Bengaluru as a means to kickstart this kind of brownfield city development.

We believe that by picking towns & growth centers close to an hours train ride from the city and using them as low cost housing magnets one can incentivise the growth of these magnets as well as retain the umbilical cord to the primary
economic growth engine, The City. The key to this economic model is the reliable, jam free, relatively inexpensive connectivity provided by high frequency train service.

You can read more on the proposal at Welcome your thoughts on the same.


Thank you for your response. We are roughly on the same wavelength. I am attaching two articles by me, the first one "30 new Bangalores" was written in early 2008 and the second one "Greenfield cities" a fortnight ago.

I will be pursuing with keen interest.


Subir Roy


I will post his articles here if he is okay with it, the recent one is available here. The greenfield idea is being implemented in Lavasa already privately and also being contemplated by the government here.

Tweaking JNNURM??

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A rail network and connectivity to the "City" is no doubt of paramount importance. One factor to encourage growth of these townships/ satellite towns is to create a JNNURM like infrastructure creation model for them - Such a scheme should focus on the basics, like water, sewage, garbage, 'decent' roads and discard 'big ticket' projects like metro, TTMCs, expressways etc

Imagine if there was no JNNURM for Bangalore/Chennai/Mumbai-sized cities, and we had a JNNURM only for tier-2 ities and another JNNURM for satellite towns of big cities. A lot of investments would have been diverted to the 'newer' and 'smaller' urban centers. - If that were to happen, private investment, job creation etc will follow

Apologies if the comment is little off-topic.

-Srivatsava V

Thanks for sharing

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Subir's article made a nice read. Him, Mr Ninnan, Surjit Bhalla at times, and Aditi Phadnis, and several more - there are some wirters at business standard that keep me hooked to that paper.

The low cost options ...

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Several beurocrats mention, but will never like to be quoted that low cost options don't excite ministries for reasons that can be guessed. I bet Mr Gokarn and the likes would know a lot more about this angle. Wonder if a newspaper can take the lead in detailing the full ecosystem (supply chain, and drippings) of one such sample large project.

Greenfield is easier for the

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Greenfield is easier for the bearucrats and politicians to do for obvious reasons, the challenge is to go for the brownfield ones, why?

For one, modern greenfield is not cheap. Quality comes at a cost. Lavasa is not cheap, its in fact exclusive.

Also, is there an authority today who will lay a train track to a new greenfield city? No they will build roads only. So it starts off unsustainable. 

Would Navi Mumbai have got its local train extensions if there wasnt an MRVCL? We will need an SPV in place so tracks & routes to new greenfield towns can be drawn as and when they get built.

Brownfield on the other hand comes with its low cost legacy and some basic features like train lines and roads built in. It only needs cleaning up and some zoning laws put in place. New towns may come up around the existing tracks

I would think over the short term getting connectivity to brownfield cities will solve a lot more than building new greenfield ones.

This, the people have to demand. Cast your vote here and talk to your elected rep about commuter rail along these lines

Slow and horrible

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"Even with India's obvious economic progress, there is a sizable deficit in infrastructure development in the country. Although various infrastructure projects are in different stages of progress throughout India, one resounding sentiment that arises from these projects is that India is unable to keep up on two fronts: the speed at which projects need to be completed and the expertise needed to ensure sound quality"says

So, if commuter rail takes more time it may well be too little too late. The writing is on the wall.


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Shot at Hebbal station waiting for commuter rail YH1

Nice Picture

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What a photo shot !

Will we go the same route?

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Bumper-to-bumper again as epic China traffic jam returns

A huge traffic snarl stretching at least 120 kilometres reappeared in northern China today with thousands of cargo trucks stuck in a bottleneck.

It seems to be 20kms longer than before. We can see this happening in Bangalore if we dont encourage PT. Good way to start will be to first provide for BMR region, train connectivity. In parallel start charging for parking in the city & perimeter charging for private vehicles entering inside the ORR area

The real estate sectors take

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The real estate sectors take on greenfield & brownfield cities

 if planned well and provided with basic infrastructure, they would work like a dream.

The emphasis on commute and its relation to the success of the satellites is unmistakable

If people can easily commute between their workplace and home, and also have a better quality of life and meet ‘Maslow’s hierarchy of needs’ at a new location, then the housing shortage can be partly addressed