Cities Infrastructure News

Tallest in Asia: Maharashtra moots Asia’s tallest tower

This article appeared in the Business Standard today. Is it just me or does anyone else think this is a really ridiculous idea? Just building tall for the heck of it makes no sense at all. There is no infrastructure to support such a tower, and getting into the tallest tower race is really doomed. There will always be another one. Funnily the excuse for building this is equally stupid. Arguably, the whole idea of Maharastra was a step down from the State of Bombay that existed before being splintered. People of our parents and grandparents generation could throw a lot more light on this.

The Maharashtra government is marking 50 years of the state by planning 50 ambitious projects, including Asia’s tallest building in the city.

“We have proposed the building as an iconic tower, which would be Asia’s tallest and have invited design and construction bids for it,” a senior official from the urban development department said.

The 531-metre high tower will be built at Wadala in Central Mumbai over 14 hectares of land, the official said, adding that the proposal has been submitted to the government. The tower will have commercial, recreational, academic and entertainment facilities, he said, adding, “the place has been chosen in such a way that it would be a conversion point for the proposed Monorail and Metro rail.”

To mark the Golden Jubilee celebrations of the coastal state, formed in 1960, the Congress-NCP Government is planning several projects. Chief Secretary Johny Joseph has convened a meeting of all departments tomorrow in this regard, the official said.

Original article here.


India in My Rear-View Mirror

By PETER WONACOTT in the Wall Street Journal

In China’s Southwest Sichuan province, the road to enlightenment is a superhighway.

In about 90 minutes, the highway zips travelers 180 kilometers from the provincial capital of Chengdu to the former farming hamlet of Leshan, home to a sitting Buddha that is more than 230-feet tall and 1,200 years old. Luxury busses, new model Buicks and Toyota sedans disgorge Chinese and foreign tourists into a city that has popped up in a matter of years, thanks largely to a road system that links Leshan to refurbished rail stations and international airports now just hours away.

Two decades ago, on my first visit to Leshan, the Big Buddha looked out across a river to rice paddies. The same view today is glass, steel and concrete of high rise buildings. Leshan’s economy is now both light and heavy industry, in addition to tourism.Not as idyllic as it once was, to be sure. But Leshan represents a small part of what has been Chinese government’s ambitious road build-out, a bet that massive state spending will yield greater returns in private investment, new jobs and stronger consumer demand. The bet has paid off so far.

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


Centre for Urban Planning, Infrastructure set up in Bangalore

Centre for infrastructure and sustainable transport and urban planning has been set up at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) here.

Established with a corpus of Rs.300 million/Rs. 30 crore/$6 mn, it is the first such government-academia facility in the country that will address urban planning and critical infrastructure issues arising out of rapid growth of greater Bangalore and other cities in the state.

“The centre is modelled on the lines of institutes such as the School of Planning and Architecture (SPA) in New Delhi and the Centre for Environment Planning and Technology (CEPT) in Ahmedabad to improve urban infrastructure and ensure sustainable transportation with modern concepts and technology,” IISc director P Balaram said at its inauguration.
The four state-run transport corporations and Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) have contributed to the corpus fund.

“The state government will approach the Union urban development ministry for a matching grant of Rs 300 million (Rs 30 crore) from the Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission (JNURM) fund to the centre for specific projects that will improve the service of public utilities,” Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa said inaugurating the centre.
With the institute’s academic inputs, scientific research and consultancy, the centre will provide expertise to state departments and state-run undertakings on integrating urban planning and transport policies.

Cities Infrastructure

Mumbai: Big Steps in Infrastructure in 2009

The new year will be a busy one for the infrastructure sector as some prestigious projects finally see completion and with others scheduled to take off. The much touted Bandra-Worli Sealink, an urban haat in Navi Mumbai on the lines of Dilli Haat, eight flyovers on the Western and Eastern express highways and 50 skywalks are expected to be ready in 2009.

But it will be a mixed bag for Mumbai’s infrastructure agencies as public toilets under Nirmal Abhiyan and projects like rental housing would be only partly ready before the year ends.

Bandra-Worli Sealink

The long-awaited Bandra-Worli Sealink is expected to be commissioned by March 2009. The Rs 1306-crore link is 6 km long and commences from the Mahim interchange (intersection of the Western Express highway and S V Road at Bandra) and ends at Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan Road in Worli.

The flyover at Love Grove Junction in Worli, Cloverleaf Interchange at Mahim intersection, the solid approach road from Mahim interchange up to the start of the toll plaza at Bandra and the public promenade is complete.

Crucial work on construction of cable-stayed bridges with viaduct approaches extending from Bandra to Worli, is also done, except part of the sea-link towards the Worli end. The project is being implemented by the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) through contracting agency Hindustan Construction Company (HCC).

Prompted by concerns about traffic dispersal towards the Worli end of the link, the MSRDC has adopted several measures like construction of steel car decks, widening of roads and trimming landscapes on the dividing lanes and footpaths to accommodate the huge traffic expected to hit Worli.

Infrastructure Public Realm

Building urban India

That we really don’t know what India’s urban infrastructure price tag is going to be is a big challenge

by Ramesh Ramanathan

India’s cities face many challenges, and one looms larger than the rest: How much will it cost to build our urban infrastructure?

Among the recent sources of urban infrastructure cost estimations are:

—From JNNURM cities’ capital investment plans and projects data, extrapolating the estimates from the reports of 63 mission cities across urban India indicates a requirement of Rs8 trillion for 5,161 cities.

—The Central Public Health and Environmental Engineering Organisation (CPHEEO) estimates the requirement for 100% coverage of safe water supply and sanitation services by 2021 at Rs1.73 trillion.

—RITES’ estimate of Rs2.07 trillion needed for urban transportation in Class I cities over the next 20 years.

These sources supplement the more formal estimates for urban infrastructure requirements, such as the India Infrastructure Report, 1996 (also known as the Rakesh Mohan committee report); the 10th Plan of the Planning Commission of India, which contains estimates for water and sanitation services, and the Zakaria committee report of 1963, which is still used as a basis for estimating urban expenditure.


As India’s southern centres choke, IT goes north

TWO Indian cities are emerging to challenge the traditional centres of Bangalore and Hyderabad as the country’s information technology services grow at 20 per cent annually.

Chandigarh – home of India’s first Olympics gold medal winner, Abhinav Bindram – and Coimbatore are fast attracting technology companies and workers as inadequate infrastructure cripples the southern centres of Bangalore and Hyderabad and India’s financial hub, Mumbai.

Chandigarh, in India’s north, was a planned city experiment started by India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, and is now attracting major IT groups, including Infosys.

It was known as one of the best experiments in urban planning and modern architecture in 20th century India.

Coimatore is at the other end of the country, south of the main southern city of Chennai, and is a traditional textile centre in the state of Tamil Nadu.

Architecture Cities Infrastructure

Re-use of Olympic Architecture post-event

As New Delhi gears up to host the Commonwealth Games in 2010, the issue of what cities do with star architecture projects post-event comes up. The article below looks at one such instance in the aftermath of Beijing 2008.

In a July interview with Der Spiegel, celebrated Olympic architect Jacques Herzog defended his decision to accept a signature commission from China, despite the nation’s abysmal record on human rights. The headline said enough: "Only an idiot would have said no." Given the reception that Herzog’s Bird’s Nest has received – it is no longer Herzog & de Meuron’s building, really, but China’s – his answer seems quite obviously correct.

But what happens when the Olympic Games are over? If precedent gives any clue, nothing much – or worse. World record-setting projects in architecture and urban design rarely pay off for host nations. Lack of use, expensive upkeep and bewildering construction costs have plagued cities that have undertaken similarly grand missions for the Olympics. No stadium created for the Olympics has been very profitable, and high design increases the likelihood that costs will balloon. In fact, it might be the host nation who is the idiot for saying yes to the starchitect.

Cities Environment and Climate Infrastructure

Freedom Park in Bangalore Set to Open in November

A vital green space to beat the city centre rush, topped with a slice of history. On offer is a unique experience, as the BBMP gets ready to open the long-in-the-wait Freedom Park to the public in November, this year.

The 20-acre park, coming up in the former central prison premises on Seshadri Road, has had a long drawn record, ever since plans for the park were finalized as early as in 2002. According to the BBMP officials, delays in awarding contracts have been a key reason for the slackened pace of progress. With the run-up to the launch gathering steam, it’s time to look ahead.

It’s business as usual at the construction site. Labourers are busy completing the landscaping works, as work on reviving the prison barracks is also on. The basic structure of the 150-seater amphitheatre is in place, along with the auditorium.