URBAN PLANNING

Planning for debate

I thought I'd begin my blog on Citizen Matters with the question: does the citizen really matter? Recent experiences in Bangalore suggest that they do not, especially in the context of public policy. The ongoing brouhaha over the Bangalore International Airport (BIAL) is only the latest example of the total lack of transparency and complete disregard for citizens' rights to information and self-determination that mark planning (if any) for the city's development. This aspect of the issue has received far less attention so far than more obviously emotive ones such as inadequate infrastructure for effective connectivity. Although reams of newsprint…

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What’s TDR to you?

Bangalore's administration and the Karnataka state government are trying to deal with the city's massive traffic woes in one way or another. The most common approach undertaken by governments is to implement schemes to widen roads, build flyovers, and develop mass transit/rapid transit systems. Recently, the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP) decided to implement its proposal of widening 85 roads in the city. Bangalore's roads are currently handling 32 lakh vehicles, nearly two and a half times the number in 1990s. It was in 2005 that the city's Roads Department announced the road widening scheme for 85 roads. However, the…

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Corrupt government officials who have actively abetted illegal constructions in the city should be taken to task before any action can be taken against owners of such properties. This was the common refrain among citizens of the city who met under the aegis of the Citizens' Action Forum (CAF) on 24 January 2008 to discuss, debate and arrive at a consensus on issues arising out of the amendment to the Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act. The amendment is known as the Sakrama scheme. The group discussing Setback and FAR violations at the CAF Forum on Sakrama. Pic: Samuel Jacob.…

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In an obese, overgrown metro, some symbols still endure. One of these is the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA), almost a subconscious icon that IT Bangalore has inherited from its 'garden city' avatar. Bangalore Development Authority Headquarters (courtesy: BDA) There is a mixed reaction to the BDA. There appears to be a slight inclination to appreciate its new IT-savviness. On the other hand, there are charges of corruption. And finally, more civic conscious citizens find its development plans to be grossly unbalanced, with the wrong emphasis on all the wrong areas. So firstly, is there really a new IT look? K…

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Oasis is the name of the new swanky and slick shopping mega mall that's sprung up on the corner of Koramangala 80 feet road and Inner Ring Road intersection. It's quite strategically located, on one of the busiest crossroads of Bangalore, also a prime residential area. Drain view apartments: Multi-storey buildings along the storm water drain (pic: Samuel Jacob) Just behind the mall on a gentle gradient is the Shinivagulu Tank Bed (S T Bed) residential layout. Not so long ago when humans were kind, it used to be a tank bed. In 1989, the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA), converted…

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