Autonomous new urban offshoots akin to Electronic City Bangalore are worth a thought- Sep 13, 2012

There has been a face off situation between the Bangalore Municipal Corporation and the Electronic City, which is a collection of largely non manufacturing industrial units carved out of rural villages and consolidated under one administration. As I understand the situation, the municipality intends to bring Electronic City under its jurisdiction with the intent to collect taxes, but the subdivision is happy remaining autonomous and sees no value in being integrated into Bangalore city.
Their main argument has been their success at planning and managing the subdivision, specially in providing basic amenities that they claim the city has not been able to do too well within its current jurisdiction.
As I rode through Electronic City today, a few things struck me. First, despite large tech firms employing hundreds, there were no vehicles spilling onto the streets. Many complexes had built multistory parking lots to accommodate cars. Coming from Gurgaon where every office complex spouts a chaotic stream of cabs , this was a pleasant surprise. The streets were tree lined and had pavements, another plus. The area was safe. I can vouch for that from the experience of walking from the main road to well inside the city at nearly midnight after taking the last public bus here from the city, on a previous trip.
Does this mean decentralisation works? Is it the way forward? Well, with the huge shift from rural to urban, India should be looking to sprout many new urban areas and in that sense some sort of decentralisation is bound to happen. However this would need its own rules to prevent poor practices like redlining (keeping some groups out), unsustainable approaches and many others. Its certainly worth a thought!

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About ramblinginthecity

I am an architect and urban planner, a writer and an aspiring artist. I love expressing myself and feel strongly that cities should have spaces for everyone--rich, poor, young, old, healthy and sick, happy or depressed--we all need to work towards making our cities liveable and lovable communities.

Posted on September 13, 2012, in Urban Planning & Policy and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I think its more to do with direct management and user relationship. If municipalities were to be reorganized as smaller neighborhood management cells wherein a sizable chunk local sales/property taxes were earmarked o be used within the those neighborhoods, we may see better management of public spaces. The RWAs seem to be doing this somewhat, but they often shut out the informal sector segment from the benefits. The Local Area Plans could be a powerful tool to create goals and related plans that would be managed by the cells, and be held accountable by the residents/users of the area.

    • I agree. Local area planning is certainly something we need to root for. Some development sector organisations are beginning to work with municipal councillors but here too the vision needs to be wider. It’s hard to intertwine political gain with long term vision.

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