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Planning for EWS Housing as part of Urban Residential Projects

September 13, 2010

It’s an often repeated theme in Real Estate Conferences to provide for EWS Housing or residential projects for economically weaker sections of society. Given the scarcity of land and pricey real estate in the city, it is near impossible to conceptualize such projects within urban agglomeration. Hence, the viable options are at least 50 kilometers away from the city or situated in ‘dormitory towns’ – an interesting term to define settlements that house population that cannot afford to stay in the city. There is much hope on Rental Housing Schemes that are perched on FSI benefits to private developers making it feasible to execute within city limits.

Our daily lives are significantly supported by a support group consisting of drivers, maids, dhobis, security personnel, delivery boys, vegetable vendors, small shop owners and workers in these establishments and many more as we move into our offices. Necessity has forced them to find places to live either in nearby chawls or slums or find accommodation in far away affordable locations and travel hours to reach their place of work. This social dispersion indirectly affects us in many ways i.e. squalor and unhygienic environments created by slums, overcrowded transport systems, pollution, and congested roads.

Slum that can be redeveloped

What are the available options? Rental Housing and Slum Rehabilitation projects certainly help the cause, though SRA schemes do not comprehensively deal with the situation of preventing more slums. We now need to think of a provision for EWS housing as part of cluster developments and redevelopment projects of MHADA or BMC buildings in place of premiums charged. All developments on plot sizes greater than 5 acres should have a component of EWS housing, and this expense has to be set off against FSI premiums to be paid by developers. Such affirmative action appears to be a meaningful way to create EWS housing stock within city limits. It is also important to make the approval process and transfer of possession hassle free to support the developers in complying with this affirmative policy. Developers in turn need to plan their projects incorporating this requirement and make a concrete contribution towards solving a complex urban planning predicament.

Social housing built under the Slum Rehabilitation Authority scheme

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