Metro & 4 FSI in the Metro Influence Zone: What it will mean to Pune?

Since my blog last week, I have further gone into an analysis of the 4.0 FSI in the Metro Influence Zone. We have to realise that its not a matter of just becoming accustomed to a massive serpentine elevated track in the city, but it means a huge social upheaval. Just see the numbers below and I wonder if you will back the current Metro funding proposal. And all I ask is whether in-depth studies and estimates are carried out behind the proposed policies or are 4.0 FSI provisions just floated without understanding or estimating its social impact and costs?

1. The current length of the Pune Metro within the core city area is 57.58 km.
2. Considering the 500 m on both sides, the Metro Influence Zone will be 57.58 sq km.
3. This equals to 14230.57 acres of Metro Influence Zone in Pune city core

As per the Development Plan, the provisions of the Metro Influence Zone are applicable to Residential and Commercial zoned properties, which is approximately 40% of the total land area in Pune.

4. So 40% of 14230.47 acres = 5692.2 acres, will have to be redeveloped  with 4.0 FSI in the next 5 years or face a burdensome cess equal to 5% of the property value.
5. 10% Open Space is mandatory for any development, which is not compensated through FSI. So removing this 10% from the above, we have a total of 5123 acres available for 4.0 FSI redevelopment.
6Thus, 225,412,000 sq ft of residential and commercial space can be generated in Pune with 1 FSI on 5123 acres. However, most of the core area in Pune is already developed with 1 FSI and so the above floor space possibly exists today.
7. To this, we will add a whopping 676,236,000 sq ft, thus creating a total space of 901,648,000 sq ft in Pune just in the Metro Influence Zone. Additionally, there will be development outside the Metro Influence Zone as well, which I am not accounting in these numbers.
8. Considering that a 1000 sq ft makes one average apartment in Pune, the above space will generate 751,372 homes or offices of 1000 sq ft each. These will have to be generated in 5 years, as the 4 FSI condition is to increase density for the Metro to become viable. Also, it is a mechanism to generate funds for the Metro, so the Urban Local Body will surely facilitate redevelopment within this Zone as fast as possible to fund the Metro.
9. On an average, every year in Pune, all the Developers collectively generate 22000 to 25000 flats. Considering the same rate of construction, Pune will be able to generate the 751,372 flats of 1000 sq ft each in 34 years. Alternatively, Pune’s Developers will have to build 150,000 flats every year to meet the 751,372 flat requirement in 5 years. What will happen to the housing market? Will Developers create such a huge supply of housing and office space by paying extra premium?
10. Considering occupancy of 5 persons per flat (of 1000 sq ft), the additional FSI will add 3,381,180 people to Pune in 5 years, if all apartments are occupied. Further, it will add even more people as office spaces will accommodate even more people per sq ft.
11. Approximately 33 lakh people have the potential to stay within Pune city with the provision of 4.0 FSI in the Metro Influence Zone, still not counting the rest of the city.
12. Realistically, not all properties will redevelop with the 4.0 FSI due to various constraints like road widths available, plots not getting amalgamated etc. Thus, considering that 50% of the above area cannot use the 4.0 FSI, we will still have more than 15 lakh population that could possibly add to Pune’s existing population if that much housing space is created within the Metro Influence Zone.
13. For a city that has a population of 26 lakhs within the core area, an addition of approx. 15 lakh people will spell disaster.
14. Further, we all just had months of the Development Plan discussions in Pune highlighting the fact that Open Areas have shrunk (15-20% is suggested by the UDPFI, while Pune has allocated 6%), School reservations are inadequate, Affordable housing reservations are miniscule. So how will this influx of people live in Pune? What will be the impact on street crowding? Where will the watersupply come from? Where will the waste go?
Just to cite an example of differential street crowding: In Mumbai, a 2.26 FSI creates a Street Crowding of more than 4500 persons/hectare versus a 7 FSI in New York where the street crowding is about 2000 persons/hectare (Ref. Planner Shirish Patel)
While Urban Metros are being pushed, there are possible alternative urban planning models which are getting ignored, some of which are:
Urbanize and Decentralize instead of creating massive, dense and sprawling cities
Connect outside areas versus creating inside networks
Focus on Bus Routes for shorter & compact distances, Metro for larger distances.
Provide point-to-point connectivity between Residential areas and Economic Hubs
But with the diktat for the Metro, no one is really even testing alternatives and there lies the worry. And also suspicions that vested interests are at work.
The typical pro Metro argument that I hear is “if we want our cities to grow and become engines of economic development, urban mobility is important and Metro can provide it”. While Metro is propagated as an essential urban amenity towards greater urbanization and thus economic growth, we should ask ourselves whether ‘economic growth’ and ‘prosperity’ should be a promise to deliver better quality of life or disruption of social life and displacement of people?
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