Interpreting Bengaluru’s urban development

Data analysis shows a spike in plan sanctions between 2013 and 2019, because the rules then allowed regularisation of building plan deviations.

In the first of this two-part series, we discussed the quality of the building plans sanction dataset on the BBMP website. The data is potentially crucial in informing, visualising and guiding the built-form in the city. Thus, the imperative to streamline and quality-check the data collation exercise cannot be over emphasised.

In the second part, we illustrate the insights from this data. The publicly available data was used to understand the direction and typology of built growth expansion across time at the city, zonal and ward scale. These insights, we argue, are critical inputs for planning and managing the city.

The 38,733 data points on the building plans, sanctioned between 2010 and 2022, were analysed along their spatial and non-spatial attributes to understand the built-growth expansion and densification in Bengaluru.

What this data reveals about the direction of built growth

The satellite image of Bengaluru was overlaid with the sanctioned building plans dataset to triangulate the observed growth (Figure 1). The city is expanding largely outside the Outer Ring Road (ORR) in the arc extending from the north, through the East- South-East and the South (areas marked within the blue boundary in Figure 1).

built-up surface
Figure 1: Growth in the built-up surface areas for Bengaluru city between 2000 and 2018. Pic courtesy: Integrated Design

These are mainly the zones of Yelahanka, South and Bommanahalli, closely followed by Mahadevapura and East zones. The former accounts for over 65% of the total building plans sanctioned in the below four floors category. Overall, in the city, only 5% of the total building sanctioned are four floors and above, with Mahadevapura in the lead where approximately 18% of the sanctioned plans are in the high-rise category (Tables in Figure 2 & 3)

table with sanctioned plans
Figure 2: Category-wise total plans sanctioned in the BBMP. Pic courtesy: Integrated Design
zonewise data
Figure 3: Category-wise Summary of Building plan sanctions and Occupancy Certificates issued in the city. Pic courtesy: Integrated Design

A disaggregated analysis of plans sanctioned at the ward level pointed to the type of built growth sanctioned at this scale. In the wards of HSR Layout, Uttarahalli and Begur, the less than four floors category is dominant while in Bellandur, Jakkur, and Hagadooru wards high-rise development is relatively higher.

graphical representation
Figure 4 Plans Sanctioned and Occupancy Certificates issued in Bommanahalli, Mahadevapura, Yelahanka and South zone. Pic courtesy: Integrated Design

Spatially, these wards, Jakkur, Horamavu, Vidranyapura, Kodigehalli, Byatarayanapura and HSR Layout, are abutting the Outer Ring Road, in the second ring, in close proximity to the technology work centres.

maps
Figure 5: Category-wise and ward-wise building plans sanctioned in the BBMP. Pic courtesy: Integrated Design

A time series analysis at the city scale (Figure 6) speaks to the years which witnessed a spike in plan sanctions i.e., between 2013 and 2019. The former can be attributed, among other factors, to the Draft rules of Karnataka Town and Country Planning that allowed for regularisation of building plan deviations. Approximately, 8 lakh illegal constructions and more than six lakh violators of by-laws sought regularisation. The latter is attributed to the now withdrawn draft notification of the RMP 2031.

graphical representation 2008 - 2023
Figure 6 :Time series analysis of the building plans sanctioned in the BBMP. Pic courtesy: Integrated Design
graphical representation
Figure 7: Land use trend analysis for four and above floors in Yelahanka, Mahadevapura, South and Bommanahalli zone. Pic courtesy: Integrated Design

Further, a temporal mapping of the ward-wise buildings plans sanctioned in the two categories in Yelahanka, Bommanahalli, South and Mahadevapura zones, illustrates consistent sanctions in the four and above floors segment in the North-East-Southeast and the South. In contrast, in the below four floors, sanctions are largely in the North and South sections.

areas on the map
Figure 9: Temporal Analysis of ward-wise less than four floors building plans sanctioned. Pic courtesy: Integrated Design
map before 2013 to after 2017
Figure 9: Temporal Analysis of ward-wise less than four floors building plans sanctioned. Pic courtesy: Integrated Design

Overall, most plan sanctions, irrespective of the category, are being sought in the peripheral zones where infrastructure provisioning is slower than in the rest of the city. This constitutes a crucial insight for planners and authorities preparing these services and systems, especially concerning public transport, water, and sanitation.

Nature of built-growth expansion

Most of the plans sanctioned are for residential use across all the BBMP zones. However, the South, East, and West zones have a substantial segment of commercial buildings, largely in the four and above floors category. A further disaggregated analysis at the ward scale shows that these are concentrated in wards Shantala Nagar (111) in East Zone, Marapanahalli (44) and Gandhinagar (94) in West Zone, Uttarahalli (184), Arakere (193), and Gottigere (194) in Bommanahalli Zone, Koramangala (151), Vishweshrapuram (143), Jayanagar (153), Pattabhirama Nagar (168) and Sunkenahalli (142) in South Zone. Kuvempunagar ward (11) in Yelahanka Zone has all four and above floors as commercial establishments. Notably, all these wards are near the Central Business District (CBD) of the city.

graphical representation
Figure 10: Land-use wise buildings plans sanctioned. Pic courtesy: Integrated Design

However, the South, East, and West zones have a substantial segment of Commercial buildings, largely in the four and above floors category. These are concentrated in wards Shantala Nagar (111) in East Zone, Marapanahalli (44) and Gandhinagar (94) in West Zone, Uttarahalli (184), Arakere (193), and Gottigere (194) in Bommanahalli Zone, Koramangala (151), Vishweshrapuram (143), Jayanagar (153), Pattabhirama Nagar (168) and Sunkenahalli (142) in South Zone. Kuvempunagar (ward 11, Yelahanka Zone) has all four and above floors as commercial establishments. Notably, all these wards are near the Central Business District (CBD) of the city.


Read more: Making sense of Bengaluru’s messy urban development data


Once the building plans are sanctioned, the BBMP is expected to monitor the construction process as shown in Figure 11.

Building plan sanction process
Figure 11: Building Plan sanction and monitoring process. Pic courtesy: Integrated Design

In the above process, the Occupancy Certificate (OC) is a critical step and a crucial data set. The OC is issued once the building construction is complete as per the sanctioned plan indicating the readiness of the building for occupancy*. Basic services such as water, sanitation and electricity connections are provided only after the OC is issued. Yet, conversations with multiple stakeholders revealed that building owners get basic service connections without an OC**.

There are other reasons too for why an OC is not sought. Deviation from the sanctioned building plan is the major reason. Further, a large gap between the plan sanctioned and OC is observed for buildings that are less than four floors. This gap implies that built fabric expansion occurring on the ground- Bommanahalli, South and Yelahanka – is substantially higher than what is sanctioned. This has huge implications for the provisioning of basic services, attendant infrastructure planning as well as quality of life.

While the Building Bye Laws 2003, allow for a 5% deviation from the plan sanctioned, a larger violation invites a penalty (Building Bye Law 5.7). These violations are regularised through a penalty charge and forfeiture of the security deposit. Notably, the structural safety of the modified/altered building post the penalty is the responsibility of the owner (Figure 12).

This provision contradicts the purpose of an OC as well as the larger public good goal of the BBMP. Furthermore, the conditions for obtaining an OC have been consistently diluted.

Way forward

BBMP OC
Figure 12 : Occupancy Certificate issued after filing Penalty in 2014. Pic courtesy: Integrated Design

Although the publicly available data is incomplete, we analysed it to illustrate a use-case, emphasising the relevance of this data to decision makers, urban planners, and policy makers in comprehending and provisioning the city’s growth.

At the minimum, the exercise allows visualisation of Bengaluru’s built form trajectory. Making public the data on the building plans and layouts sanctioned by the BDA will provide a complete picture of the city’s growth. As the administrators are gearing for revising the city’s Master Plan using drones, the spatial attributes of this data can be powerful inputs to managing and steering the city’s growth.

*Post the building plan sanction, the construction is mandated to be completed within five years. The work shall not be continued after five years without obtaining prior permission from the Authority. Such continuation shall be permitted if the construction or reconstruction is carried out according to the licenced plan and if the Authority is satisfied that at least 75% of the permitted floor area of the building is completed before the expiry of five years. If not, the work can be commenced/continued after a fresh licence is obtained from the Authority (Building Bye-laws, 2003).

**Occupancy Certificate is required for residential/multi dwellings/apartments with five dwelling units & above and commercial buildings within 300 sqm of total area. BWSSB did not give connections to apartments that didn’t have an Occupancy Certificate (OC). With BAF’s (Bangalore Apartments’ Federation) intervention in 2019, BWSSB started giving connections to such apartments too, but these apartments have to pay 50% above their monthly water bill. For new electricity connections, no OC is required for both residential and commercial buildings.

[The authors would like to acknowledge Vyakhya Srivastava for assisting and contributing to the research work]

Also read:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Similar Story

Taking flight: Does Chennai need a second airport and at what cost?

Civic and environmental activists question the feasibility of the greenfield airport in Parandur and suggest expansion of Chennai airport.

Ten lakes, two streams, 3,500 acres of agricultural land, 1,005 families and hundreds of plant and animal species β€” these are all under threat because of one development project. There has been a considerable buzz regarding the Chennai Greenfield Airport set to come up in Parandur on the outskirts of the city. But, not all the noise is positive. Villagers in Parandur have been protesting for almost 700 days and some have even boycotted the Lok Sabha 2024 elections, asking the government to withdraw the project.   Yet, work is steadily progressing on the greenfield airport and the government is…

Similar Story

Explainer: Electrical components and ways to increase BESCOM sanctioned load

Here is an explainer on electrical system components and its maintenance, how to calculate sanction load and the process to increase it.

(Part 1 covered the components of BESCOM bill, tariff structure and sanction loads. Part 2 delves into electrical system maintenance) With the adoption of electric vehicles, owners are tapping into their existing meters to charge their vehicles, leading to electrical mishaps. If you need to connect a 3.3 kw/7.2kw EV charger, your sanctioned load needs to be enhanced. This leads to cable/wire, MCB (miniature circuit breaker) and RCCB (residual current circuit breaker) replacement, possibly the energy meter too may need to be replaced.  Overall, if every household enhances sanction load, this leads to constant tripping of the transformer and short…