Cities Infrastructure Master Plan Urban Transportation

Wadala Tower and Interstate Bus Terminal to be India’s Tallest Building.

Work on the Rs 4,000-crore, 531-mt tall iconic tower to come up at Wadala is slated to start in October. It will be the world’s seventh

tallest structure with a built-up area of 60,000 lakh sq ft, the largest among such buildings in the world.

The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) commissioner, Ratnakar Gaikwad, said permissions should be ready shortly for the project. "The building will generate Rs 2,000 crore in revenue through rent, which will go towards other development projects in the region,” said Gaikwad.

Infrastructure Urban Transportation

Bandra Worli Sea Link

Good friend and journalist Rahul Bhatia writes about the Bandra-Worli Sea Link in a recent weekly edition of the OPEN Magazine.

On the sea link that will soon connect Bandra to Worli, fifteen men swept, tarred, and patted a stretch no longer than five meters with uncommon urgency. Noxious tar, fresh off a machine that rolled forward, steamed beneath their feet. A vast expanse of concrete ready to be layered with tar loomed ahead, stretching out to a distant point. Spurred by a deadline already gone by, they pressed on without a break from their grueling work. Like them, other teams were at work in a hurry on the bridge. Above everyone, and everything, including the giant launch trusses that lift segments of the bridge into place for alignment, rose the main towers of the sea link, each made of four thick concrete legs that converged at a point 125 meters above the roadway. And behind them, higher than the towers, stood a crane. Ten years after it was commissioned, the bridge was yet to be finished.

Continue reading at Green Channel: Rahul’s blog

Cities Legislation Master Plan

MMRDA Priorities Lopsided

By Nauzar Bharucha for the TNN

Is the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) suffering from hubris? Its plan to set up a 101-storey iconic commercial tower in Wadala at a phenomenal cost of over Rs 4,000 crore has raised serious questions about its sense of priority among urban experts and town planners. It has already been touted as one of the 10 tallest buildings in the world.

MMRDA’s think-tank has estimated that the project will earn it a rent of Rs 1,800 crore a year by leasing out 60 lakh sq ft of build up space in the tower to corporates and MNCs. But with recent estimates showing that Mumbai is expected to be flooded with over two crore sq ft of office space by 2011, real estate experts are skeptical about the financial feasibility of MMRDA’s iconic tower.

As it is, office space is going abegging with the numero uno central business district of Nariman Point currently staring at a vacancy level of 10% to 15%. Commercial lease rentals have already crashed by 25% to 50% in different commercial enclaves of the city. And the situation is expected to worsen with excessive supply of office space flooding the market in the next two years.

Architecture Art Cities

Concrete Masterworks: New Delhi

Rrishi Raote / Business Standard / New Delhi 

Few speak of Delhi’s architectural heritage beyond what the sultans, badshahs and British built. Architect Rahul Khanna and photographer Manav Parhawk set out to challenge this paradigm, as Khanna tells Rrishi Raote. Many of the 47 masterpieces of Delhi’s modern architecture they describe in this slim handbook are institutional buildings and embassies, but there are also homes, places of worship, and memorials…

You write that Delhi has architecture but no architectural culture. What do you mean?
By that we mean that there is no platform to debate architecture, to understand or appreciate it. When all these magazines were covering 60 years of Independence, there was not a single mention of architecture. There is all this money in art now, which is why there are so many forums on Indian art, but architecture, despite it being the very surroundings of our lives, is ignored.

The work of a handful of architects appears several times each. Why is that?
Many architects seem to be more prolific than others. During the post-Independence building boom, architects close to Nehru, like Habib Rahman and Mansingh Rana, got many commissions. Later, Raj Rewal seemed to be getting many, also perhaps because he was close to government decision-makers and those who commission public buildings. I could be wrong, but thankfully they were great architects.


CEPT Ahmedabad Introduces New Masters Level Programs

By Dayananda Meitei / DNA

Cept University will introduce two new programmes this academic year, adding to the 23 programmes being offered in its seven faculties. While the faculty of technology and the faculty of arts and humanities will each offer one new programme, a centre for excellence will be set up at the University this academic year.

The faculty of arts and humanities will offer a master’s programme in arts journalism, while a master’s in infrastructure engineering and development will be offered by the faculty of technology. A centre for excellence in urban transport will be set up at the university, under the guidance of the ministry of urban development.

Speaking about the programme in arts journalism, faculty member Nirmala Khadpekar said, "Arts journalism is an emerging field. It has existed around the world for only four years and is very new to India. The course will train the students in appreciation of arts and humanities, and how to write about the same."


Affordable Housing: Post-Election Policy

By Garima Pant in the Financial Express


The recently concluded general elections saw a common mandate in a number of party manifestos — the promise to provide affordable housing. However, when the core thrust of the realty segment for the last decade has been directed towards the higher income group, it still remains a dream for the economically weaker section (EWS) of society to hope for an abode.

Neelima Risbud, professor of Housing at the School of Planning and Architecture says, “Cities are growing and urbanisation is transforming these places at an extremely rapid pace. Multiple and sustained strategy to reach the lower income group is the need of the hour. Inclusive cities is the solution to this problem,” she says. And for that to happen, affordability and the cost of housing have to match. “There is a huge gap between the two,” she adds.

Affordability is a flexible concept that takes the shape of the market and its prevalent market dynamics under discussion. Sanjay Dutt, CEO (Business) Jones Lang LaSalle Meghraj says that as a rule of thumb — the price of an affordable home equals five years’ cumulative salary of the buyer. “In other words, a family earning Rs 12 lakh a year can afford to buy a house worth Rs 60 lakh, factoring in generalised expenditure and saving patterns. Banks also see this as a safe lending norm. The minute the price crosses this benchmark, affordability is compromised and demand reduces. Again, affordability as a concept changes from city to city in accordance with prevailing salary scales for that city,” he adds.

Cities Public Realm

Messy Urbanism: India

By Viren Brahmbhatt

Viren Brahmbhatt is a New York-based architect and urban designer. He teaches at the Pratt Institute School of Architecture, and is the author of the forthcoming book Architecture of Disjuncture.


Like other megacities, the large cities of India are grappling with the conflicting logic of globalization and localization. As new networks of global trade and finance create new opportunities, developer-friendly architecture and planning are appropriating contemporary discourses, and producing urban forms hitherto unknown. Globalization and its influence are thus transforming the city as physical, social, and cultural boundaries are being renegotiated.

On the one hand, India’s booming economy has fueled a euphoric decade of development, embraced by a new generation of architects bent on transforming the traditional dynamics of practice. At the same time, the nation is plagued by a one-size-fits-all architecture created by globetrotting architects and multinational players who are more focused on singular objects and signature buildings. A land of dazzling opportunities and paradoxes; a paradise of manufactured faux cities for the nouveaux riches and a hell for slumdogs: such is the predicament of India.