Integrated townships: today and tomorrow

Integrated townships are clusters of housing and commercial businesses with associated infrastructure such as roads, schools, hospitals, convenience shopping, water treatment plants, drainage and sewage facilities. With urban areas getting more crowded and falling increasingly short on future development potential, integrated townships have been correctly identified as a potential solution.

Integrated townships are rather complex with lower floor-area ratio (FAR), more open areas and an emphasis on creating a sustainable living ecosystem with residential and commercial spaces supported by an infrastructure backbone of power, roads, water, drainage and sewage a virtual living and breathing city.

With land being a state subject, different states have varying policies on integrated townships. While the norm for land requirement for such projects is 100 acres, some states such as West Bengal and Rajasthan have relaxed their minimum land requirement criteria.

Integrated Benefits

There is a marked lack of residential density in fast-growing cities such as Gurgaon, and state governments are promoting integrated township projects by proposing the easing of development norms for such projects. This has caused many developers to enter this segment of development.

DLF, Tata, Ansal API and Ireo already have integrated township projects in various stages of development across the major regions like Delhi-NCR. Hirco is creating similar townships in Panvel on the periphery of Mumbai, and in Chennai. Others like Omaxe, Parsvnath, Emaar MGF, BPTP and Kumar Builders have also announced multiple integrated township projects. In Noida, developers such as Logix and Jaypee Group are developing golf-centric townships, in effect offering a value addition option to customers.

The new master plans for all major cities are looking at expanding the boundaries of their urban sprawl. These new development precincts would benefit significantly if the integrated township model were given high preference and incentives, since they provide a more holistic living environment and prevent the mushrooming of unplanned urban villages.

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