Mixed use of land in cities –A welcome concept

By Keshav Morab

Normally the planning of the city is done in such a way that the areas specifically earmarked for specific purpose like residential, commercial or industrial. In a small towns such zoning way go well. But in big cities with no proper communication system in place, it is the hardship for citizens. Once moderately populated with a limited area Bangalore was a good city without
much of zoning. However as in the case of major cities Bangalore has been facing migration from the rural and urban areas of the state and other states because of the hunt for jobs and livelihood. The city once with an area of about 200 sq.km and a population of less than a million is new a metro with an area of about 800 sq.km and a population of nearly 10 millions with
a comparatively rapid growth, providing jobs and opportunities for investments. The city has become a destination for investment in view of its climate and easily available manpower. The state has been inviting industrial entrepreneurs and providing all possible incentives. Various industries have been established resulting in rapid and uncontrolled growth and resulting in great demand for land and developed properties. In view of the vast area time has come now to rethink about the earlier zoning of land use. It has become more necessary because of the problem of communication. The concept of mixed land development has been taken up in the city. With the
new concept the authorities have been trying to relax the land use in well developed parts of the city. The areas once residential are new being converted into semi-commercial and this change has certainly benefited the residents of such locations. The owners of residential building are engaged in converting their residential buildings into non residential thereby making available space for commercial purposes. If such changes in land use are brought in important places the pressure now on centralized areas for commercial purposes would be eased. The citizens may not have to communicate from their residential areas to the centralized business areas. This would also help to reduce the movement of vehicles and consequently help to reduce the pollution.

The people from the areas where land use has been changed to mixed use seem to be happy since with the conversion of their buildings to suit commercial activities like banks, offices, restaurant, garment shops etc and get more rentals. The sale of properties in such areas also fetches good value and owners are able to sell such buildings. The concept of mixed land use is
welcome for it will create greater opportunities to allow people to establish business in the areas they live and ease the pressure of the Central Business District and the city transport system. The concept has helped the owners of the properties all along the Metro lines which are likely to be operative shortly. Simultaneously the conversion activities all along the metro lines are going on and the business activities would start functioning.

The concept if extended to all the potential areas, the prices of land , particularly vacant lands in city limits would go up. Perhaps nothing could be done to check the trend. The property developers would try to take the maximum advantage of the probable change in the time to take.
Looking to the demand for dwelling space in the city, it is necessary for the property developers to take up development of spaces for residential as well as commercial, keeping in view the demand for residential accommodation for people in the middle class.

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