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A planners perspective on the Revised Master Plan 2031

The RMP 2015 was revised to frame the proposed RMP 2031 . The revisions proposed were published as Draft RMP 2031 for public suggestions and comments. It is this Draft RMP 2031 which has now been revoked by the government. The main contention is that the Draft RMP 2031 adopts the ToD approach/ principles in selective ways. The approach adopted exacerbates urban sprawl while also not advancing a shift in ridership to public transport. There are other climate change related repercussions of promoting a Plan that increases sprawl and does not support the shift to public transit. I believe it is in this vein that the GoK has asked the BDA to adopt ToD in the new plan.


As part of this effort multiple ToD zones may be delineated in the city.


As I understand there is awareness among the BDA and other departments now that a ‘place’ based approach must be pursued while delineating ToD zones. I presume that the new ToD zones will embrace variety — some forming high density-high intensity development zones, some moderate intensity- moderate density while still others low intensity-low density development. A good method requires that the intensity of development in these zones should be defined by estimating carrying capacity of each place in terms of infrastructure requirements and the feasibility to provide and manage them. But there are debates on the validity of these methods.


ToD preservation zones are inherent to this approach. This would ideally imply that heritage zones, precincts, monuments and buildings are duly recognised and valorised, while they are overlaid with a ToD boundary. An example is the VT/CST Terminal in Mumbai. Preservation of natural areas and ecologically sensitive areas/ networks is intrinsic to the BDA’s revisions as I understand.


I construe that the ToD zoning approach is not mutually exclusive in terms of the cause for heritage. But this depends on BDA’s interpretation of place based ToD - Heritage zones and the eminence it ascribes to history and heritage.


A bigger issue for the city is that the ToD zones which will now be defined will not cover all parts of Bengaluru- at least until more public transport lines are introduced. This is because ToD zones broadly have a radius of about 5 km from the transit station. Unlike Delhi and Mumbai where public transit lines cover almost the entire city in Bangalore bus and metro lines are not yet ubiquitous. So adopting ToD may exacerbate uneven development leaving out some areas from access to public transit and other civic amenities. While para transit arrangements may temporarily fill this gap, the costs of getting around will still be high for these left out areas.


I agree on the question of the MPC’s custodianship of the plan and public costs of preparing the plan again. Regardless, personally, I think revoking the Draft RMP 2031 in its current state with a mandate to support sustainable development will save our city from extended long term damage.


If the new plan goes ahead, I hope the BDA will prepare this plan through public consultation / stakeholder consultation at periodic intervals as opposed to merely displaying the new Draft Plan for public comments. Now is infact a good time to ask the BDA to take up the workshop series with various civil society groups- like they had in 2005, then under the lead of Janaagraha.



About the author , a #HeritageBeku core team member

Champaka Rajagopal is a faculty member at Azim Premji University.

She co-teaches a course on Urban Governance and is Coordinator, Law, Governance and Policy Hub at the School of Public Policy & Governance, Azim Premji University.

She holds a Masters’ Degree in Urban Design from University of California at Berkeley, USA and an undergraduate degree in Architecture from Centre for Environmental Planning & Technology, Ahmedabad, India. She trained at the Haas Business School at UC Berkeley on Leadership Skills for Women Executives in 2015 and is presently pursuing a PhD at University of Amsterdam, in Planning & International Development Studies.

Champaka is Visiting Faculty at Sciences Po, Paris since 2014.

Prior to joining Azim Premji University, she held the position of Head, Urban Development at Egis India Consulting Engineers Pvt. Ltd., During this time she co-led and worked on several large scale public sector projects including the Development Plan for Greater Mumbai 2034, with the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai and the Revised Master Plan for Bengaluru 2015, with the Bangalore Development Authority. She has worked extensively in India and abroad.

 

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