Urban Scape Management for Metro Business Districts

In my earlier post Integrated Traffic & Urban Scape Management Model for Metro Business Districts, I suggested a public-private partnership model that would attempt to resolve most of the problems that business districts throw at daily commuters along with improving the urban fabric and aesthetics of the city. While we discussed some aspects related to effective traffic management in business districts in the last post Unmanaged traffic in metro business districts? Here’s how to wriggle out!, I will list down some suggestions regarding the Urban Scape Management in this post.

Over the last many years, governments and civic agencies have been found only battling with new and recurring problems. While doing this, our cities’ urban fabric has constantly taken a beating, as there was no thought given to how cities grew and looked. To the extent that the organic urban growth has left the city defunct for its occupants – nil and inconsistent walkways for pedestrians, no cycling zones, inadequate parks/ playfields, encroached walkways/ roads etc.

There have been only two exceptions to this in the recent past, one being the brief stint during the preparation of Commonwealth Games, where specific focus was laid on these aspects and some very progressive developments were planned and implemented across the city. But at the same time, this was limited to very few areas of the city, where flow/ movement of foreign nationals and players was expected. The other exception is the Central (Lutyens) Delhi zone, which gets the high profile attention. But here also what has worked is stringent control that has avoided any sporadic and unorganised development, there has been no conscious and thorough development even in this zone.

As part of this proposed model, the Concessionaire shall be responsible for setting up, managing and maintenance of walkways, cycle zones, green belts, medians of the business/ residential district. This shall also include

  • Ensuring the pedestrian zones have urban furniture, urban art, landscape features, foliage etc. maintained as per pre-agreed standards
  • Creating and maintaining green belts along pedestrian/ cycle zones to segregate vehicular traffic and also at the median. The medians should have shrubs high enough to obstruct vision of oncoming traffic on the other side and the glaring light; the walkways should be planned with shade giving trees to give relief areas in summers. Plants with high yield (in terms of capacity clean air) should be preferred and grown.
  • Creating safe and conflict-free means for pedestrian crossings over bridge or sub-ways at heavy traffic intersections.
  • The maintenance and upkeep of parks/ playfields in the business/ residential district; creating any new based on opportunities available and overall masterplan.
  • Ensuring the commercial establishments such as shops etc. do not encroach public spaces.
  • Creating, maintaining and managing temporary kiosks/ stalls in the district for hawkers or temporary/ smaller establishments. These kiosks shall be provided to the hawkers free of cost or at very nominal rates/ costs and shall be part of concessionaire’s revenue. No commercial activity shall be allowed on the road/ pedestrian zone unless part of pre-approved plan and under permanent or temporary structures.
  • For business districts that hold weekly or night flea markets, the concessionaire shall be responsible for managing the vendors and flea market –area allocation, safety precautions etc. Once again, the kiosks/ stalls at flea market shall be provided to business owners free of cost or at very nominal rates/ costs.
  • Ensuring that the commercial/ residential buildings comply with their building facade designs as approved by DUAC. Also, the building signages/ hoardings should be in line with pre-agreed/ approved standards.
  • Erecting advertisement hoardings (rentals of these hoardings shall be concessionaire’s revenue).
  • To plan, erect and manage the directional signages as per pre-approved standards across the district.
  • To plan, erect and manage solar energy based street lighting, traffic signals etc. across the main arterial roads of the business district (or all the roads, based on detailed feasibility assessment).
The above is a high level list of items than can be included in concessionaire’s scope of work. This can be further sorted or grown based on detailed feasibility of the area, its requirements and commercial viability of the plan.

There are various other aspects with respect to how the use of above systems can be made more efficient for the public at large with the use of easily accessible technology tools. These will also help promote the use and success of this system. Also, the technology will help easily manage and track the usage and cost statistics of the system.


About the author

Saurabh Singh, leads the Design & Build (turnkey) portfolio for Colliers Project Management in India. He is an Architect with a specialisation in building engineering & management. At Colliers, Saurabh has been working closely with clients to create workplaces that keep employees engaged and productivity bars raised.

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