Infrastructure

“If you plan cities for cars and traffic, you get cars and traffic. If you plan for people and places, you get people and places.” This saying by urbanist Fred Kent holds true for Bengaluru in general, and Gandhi Bazaar in particular. Reminiscing the bygone days As Bengaluru grew into a burgeoning metropolis, due to unbridled urbanisation, it became congested. Haphazard, illegal construction and influx of migrants led to neighbourhood walkability being significantly reduced. This was seen in Gandhi Bazaar, one of the oldest parts of the city. Residents in and around Basavanagudi/Gandhi Bazaar area used to walk to the…

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In part one of this series, we looked at how parking and riding vehicles on footpaths is hazardous to pedestrians, and the legal provisions addressing this. This article will explore the budgetary allocation to footpaths and the possible solutions to improving footpath infrastructure. Bad footpaths invariably have a larger impact on certain vulnerable groups, like senior citizens, children and persons with disabilities. Infact, footpaths are never designed for pedestrians such as pregnant women, or women taking their newborn babies out on a pram, toddlers or senior citizens, eliminating the most vulnerable from using and accessing public spaces. Most footpaths in…

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Crowding and congestion on Bengaluru roads push pedestrians to the narrow, potholed and often non-existent footpaths. Footpaths are one of the most critical prerequisites for a more liveable Bengaluru, but they continue to be a neglected priority. A large number of citizens who die in road accidents are pedestrians. With an increasing number of pedestrian deaths, it becomes imperative to address the lack of walkable footpaths and the necessity to maintain them. Vehicles on footpaths Of all the issues plaguing footpaths in Bengaluru, the most prominent is the indiscriminate parking of vehicles. Parking of two-wheelers on footpaths has been a…

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Parks seem like uncontroversial public spaces, but dig a little deeper, and you will find that even these apparently benign spaces are deeply political. They are often the settings for decisions and manoeuvrings that become evident only when you probe into their provenance, functioning and upkeep. These three examples serve to demonstrate how public spaces have been taken over by political forces. Unfortunately, most of us citizens prefer to demur to the situation, forgetting that it is our money that is used to create and run these amenities. We forget to question, or to wonder, if there were a different…

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"In the past three weeks, my schedule has completely collapsed due to the frequent power cuts in Chennai," says Nandhini R, a working mother to a two-year-old. She walks to and fro on the dark balcony at 3 am, patting her daughter, waiting for her to go to sleep. Nandhini can only hope to get a few hours of rest before she begins her day at 5.30 am. Her husband, an IT professional who works the night shift from home, also finds his work affected by the power outage. "We have been facing frequent unscheduled power outages amidst the soaring…

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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.…

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For urban planners, visualising a city’s growth requires determining the extent and nature of urbanisation that the city has and is experiencing. While satellite imagery is often relied on for comprehending the built growth, this data does not provide insights on what is the ‘nature’ of the built form: i.e. residential, commercial, industrial, among others. Unscrambling the data on building plan sanctions can potentially bridge this gap in understanding. In urban areas, the built growth or construction of buildings is managed and monitored by local bodies through its Town Planning Department, the first of such management being sanctioning a building…

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On April 24, 2023, 17-year-old, Shahrukh Zulfikar Shaikh, was killed in a truck accident at Malad, when he was cycling. The cyclist fell down after he lost control due when a rickshaw ahead swerved suddenly on his side. Last February, a 12-year-old cyclist was killed in a hit-and-run accident when he and his father were cycling in a group on the Jogeshwari-Vikhroli Link Road.  These deaths are a sad reminder of the dangers that await cyclists in the city. Professional cyclists say that cycling within the city roads is very unsafe and could be quite risky. Urban transportation planner Zohra…

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I was asked to write a piece about government performances, past and present, for Bengaluru. At the outset, it is hazardous appraising a government and predicting the future by looking at the rearview mirror.  Especially as one remains sceptical about party manifestos that contain the usual pronouncements that rarely fructify, and which reach their sell by date on election day.  So, this dreamy writer instead embarks on a wishful, fanciful speech (and hopefully subsequent action) about Bengaluru that the next Chief Minister, who likely will retain the Bangalore Development Minister portfolio, ought to make. “Namaskara. I wish to make a…

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Potholes on roads are a menace for every Mumbaikar – car drivers, bikers and pedestrians. Every year, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) claims to fill hundreds of potholes during monsoons, yet they seem to crop up the following season and continue to be a safety hazard. In addition to slowing down traffic, the poor quality of roads is also responsible for several accidents and even deaths. Last monsoon, two deaths were reported within two weeks due to accidents caused by potholes. These daunting numbers call for immediate attention. To address the issue, the Chief Minister of Maharashtra recently re-invited bids…

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