The greatest challenge an urban designer or a planner faces while preparing a master plan is the dilemma whether the master plan would get implemented , even if it does , does it really work as predicted? With all the new age devices, mappings and GIS can a person / team at the helm , holding the strings, the power predict the growth of a city accurately? Every other year a city brings out its master plans, short term goals and long term interest. The buzz is short lived. Everybody forgets the greater interest or goals.
Is the master plan done as a mere eyewash? Or Some media savvy politician bringing in international consultants thinking the same philosophy be adopted here!!! Well there are quite a few examples which has worked, like Chandigarh city planning by none other than Le Carbusier . At the present scenario along with the master plan vision plan is important too, but even with all this in place, yes we did have vision plan for Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore too! The master plan has failed to prove its strength , so the fault lies not in the planning process alone but the implementation of the plan as well. The government authorities and people are finding it difficult to adopt the necessary steps and dedication to implement such projects, this paper tries to throw some light on the method used to implement and adopt the plan and the process.
Since the implementation has been very poor and the master plan is found deficient, it is important for the authorities to lay a process for planning, segregate the type and implement it on a step by step basis to succeed. It is of utmost important that the planner/ designer should look into the history, where town planning was not new to them, right from the 19th century our cities have had civic amenities, water, drainage facilities, street lightings. All the cities should be taken into consideration and no stone unturned for a successful implementation.
Also its important to study the planning practices of different countries. The result should be synthesised and used/ adopted to our context. Since the legal systems, economic viability differs a proper thought out strategy should be in place. The planning authority however considering the contributing factors like public participation , administrative feasibility and policies formulated have complied four inter related plans, which are as follows
- Perspective plan
- Development plan
- Annual plan
- Plans of projects/ schemes
A PERSPECTIVE PLAN:
A perspective plan is done for a period of not less than 20 years. The growth of the city is projected for the coming two decades, the growth is substantiated through maps and documents. GIS and mapping is used to derive maps of different types pertaining to topology, geography which provides the government the perspective, the state government are then given some goals, policies are framed, strategies and general programs are sorted out and put in place and an overall plan is derived.
Is developed within the framework of the perspective plan, it is done for a shorter period of 5 years. The state government declares the land for the development and the local urban development body takes over the development for the same with other agencies.
The annual plan is developed within the framework of the development plan. As the name itself suggests the local body identifies the projects new or on-going project in the particular area for that particular financial year and the necessary fiscal resources are mobilised through funds and other resources.
This comprises of individual projects or schemes and is worked out within the framework of annual plan. The schemes/projects are supported with detailed working layouts of the supporting infrastructure, the documents would include cost of development, sources of finance and recovery instruments , the projects can be executed by a public or private agency.
WHY ARE THESE PLANNING SYSTEMS IMPORTANT? :
In October 2011 the Bangalore development authority ordered for the demolition of unauthorised structures in an upmarket neighbourhood. It was backed by the high court. This created a huge uproar and resulted in law and order problem in that particular precinct. An year and two earlier the urban development authority with Karnataka government bought out a policy under the ‘Akrama Sakrama” scheme which would make all unauthorised structures legal by paying a fine. This literally filled up the coffers of the government and made the local authorities rich. Though this wasn’t lauded, it wasn’t criticised either, but the same was heavily criticised in Delhi during 2005-06 where the same method was implemented. A committee was set up by the Delhi high court. The khanna committee questioned the DDA’s motive and panned them for the flawed planning process. The outcome of the exercise was to have a strong policy and planning process which was not flawed and independent. The process has to check these issues before being implemented to avoid unhealthy situation.
THE PREPARATION OF DEVELOPMENT PLAN:
The state government declares the development area and then constitutes the local development authority for the same. The authority collects information regarding the same from various institutions and local bodies. The primary data’s like the infrastructure facilities environmental mapping, existing road alignments are collected, which leads to the preparation of development plans, the secondary data like the census information, village maps and environmental data are also collected. The first draft of the development plan is then prepared with the collected data. This is then put forth to the public suggestions and the valid suggestions are then incorporated and another draft is prepared. In the second stage the prepared, changed development plan is again put forth to public for scrutiny by announcing it through various sources of media. The suggestions if any can be incorporated and submitted to the state government. If the state government does not grant permission the necessary changes put forward by the state government is incorporated in the plan and the sanctioning is done by the state, after scrutinising the final plan.
As discussed in the start, even though the process followed by the authorities in India is to a certain standard, they seriously lack in implementation. The project conceived doesn’t get implemented properly. The problem doesn’t exist with the authorities alone. First and foremost it is very important to under the sentiment of people to whom the project or scheme is being launched, even the idea of public participation is widely discussed, lack of participation from citizens itself is a big drawback. There may be many reasons why a plan might not get implemented as needed. The strongest factor being political motivation. Absence of strong headed individuals in the planning department has made a mockery out of the planning process. Since all the projects have high economic value associated with them, it normally is misused for personal gains.
Though the government itself had put out policies, the 73rd and the 74th amendment act being the most important of the lot. This policy gave the powers to the local authority. It rather divided the power among the local bodies. The local authorities had to do the planning, select the local agencies and see the implementation of the projects or development. Though partially successful they still have a long way to go in teams of co-ordination and implementation.
As discussed earlier the perspective plan, development plan, annual plan, project and schemes were the important implementation tools. Apart from them there are quite a few handy tools such as
MICRO LEVEL PLANNING:
Micro level planning is a detailed planning of that particular area identified by the local authority. It in depth looks into the area, the process of data collection would be the same but the area would be segregated into historic or business district etc. to which a specific kind of treatment is adhered. They cannot apply the master plan zoning to this area. Where as a special blanket zone can be passed to make way for the micro level planning. Some of the micro level planning types are as follows
Special regulations and policies are melted out to the CBD’s which foresees a different intensity of development. Similar to the Pete area, Bangalore. The existing bylaws and offsets followed elsewhere in the city cannot be followed, even though such special bylaw is not in place this area has been allotted a high FAR value. So such area’s with a potential to grow further can have special norms which would be in tune, so that the implementation would be a pleasant process.
HISTORIC DISTRICT PLAN:
Historic district plan is the conservation of a particular area, which is rich in heritage and has a history to preserve. It may be a live site, such as Hampi where in the buildings are historically important and have to be conserved, but the place still holds human settlement and development is happening in and around the heritage centre. Jaipur and Udaipur are good examples where the zoning law itself are different for the old city and the new city and implemented successfully.
Some of the other micro level plans would be neighbourhood plans, business district plans, secondary centre plans, main street plans.
INCENTIVE ZONING AS IMPLEMENTATION TOOLS:
The downtown town area in Manhattan, New york was getting so crowded day by day with super structures that the sunlight would hardly penetrate into the ground. There were this humongous structures built day by day consuming large parcels of land to build skyscrapers. The urban planners community were in a fix, the city was not responding as they expected. That’s when they offered the developer FAR as incentive so that they leave a proper frontage to the building, the lower floor opened up to the public, which would create porosity to the otherwise private structure. Due to this a lot of green spaces came up along the buildings, the FAR could be transferred to other areas under transfer of developmental rights policy which helped in implementation of the schemes.
As these methods were not very well used in our context but during the last half decade there have been positive changes subjected to this incentive zoning technique. The implementation plan or policy can also be achieved through tax credits for low income housing project, where a developer by paying credit tax can get a certain percentage of housing to sell on his own this method was implemented in Haryana by the Haryana housing development co operation and was a success.
The much talked about urban renewal scheme was introduced in 2005 by Dr Manmohan singh, the prime minister of India. It was called the JNNURM, Jawaharlal Nehru national urban renewal mission, it is a 7 year scheme where in with the joint collaboration of central, state and private players certain urban renewal projects are undertaken. It deals with infrastructure development to transportation and conservation. The central government releases 30% of the funds and the remaining is pooled by the state government through different agencies. The central contribution depends on the tier of city, it falls under. A nodal agency acts between the central and state for sanctioning of funds.
The budget allotted was one lakh crores and the main aim of JNNURM was improving infrastructure, to road repair to flyover, basic services, housing and water supply. The JNNURM supported 63 cities out of which 7 were mega cities, 28 were cities above 1 million population abd the remaining 28 were below 1 million population. Each of the cities should produce a detailed report, what the city wishes to go on with and by what means, however the support of the NGO, BDO and the local authorities are important for implementation of the projects, ot to forget the people’s participation is also important.
The best example being Dharavi, where initially 56,000 families were displaced by renewal mission. The local NGO’s and resident organizations had to step up to condone the scheme and halted it till an amicable settlement was bought in between the residents and the government. Later on they were housed within the site.
‘Public’ the people living within a particular neighbourhood, as the phrase itself defines public participation, would be actively involving the public in formulation of policies, development plan and implementation.
Financial aspects the most important part for any project to get implemented. As much as finance is needed, the man power and land is also equally important. The government should not always be expected to spend money, private sectors resources should also be appropriately mobilised for development process. The fiscal resources should have a proper mix of both private and public sector participation.
An innovative method to mobilize fiscal resources. The government levy’s taxes so that it can undertake infrastructure projects. The Gujarat government delegated 15 different types of taxes out of which only six are in use. Tax on consumption of electricity, surcharge on petroleum products, entertainment tax are some of the new age taxation.
LAND AS A RESOURCE:
Besides traditional methods of resource mobilization in the form of taxes, urban land can be used as a resource. The Maharashtra and Delhi have raised huge amount by this method.
HUMAN RESOURCE OR MANPOWER RESOURCE:
The man power is needed for the preparation, implementation, monitoring and review of various plan by local authorities upon extent and nature of work and the institutional setup required to perform the assigned function. Varity of data on physical and human resources and economic aspects are needed for the plan preparation.
It is just not enough to plan, enen though the planning is in place, it not alone decides the implementation of it. Resources, techniques, strategies are needed to implement a project. But most of all political will should be in place.