Thursday 30 June 2016

The Space Crunch That’s Driving The Vertical Growth Of Cities

An aerial view of Mumbai is enough to provide us a glimpse of the unconventional growth of the city.  Mumbai is the third densest city in the world trailing just behind Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka and the Pakistani city of Hyderabad. There are approximately 32,400 people in every square kilometre of its land area. The city has, technically, run out of space and yet, it is more than accommodating at the same time. How is that possible? The answer is vertical growth.

What is Vertical Growth?
Vertical growth is the emergence of high rises and skyscrapers that outline the horizon of the city. These structures support the population of the city, providing additional living space to the thousands who migrate here every day. It is the modern world’s solution to the space constraint faced by cities.
Another important reason why the city is witnessing vertical growth is because Mumbai has the largest number of ultra-high net worth individuals (UHNWIs) in India, at 1,094, followed by Delhi with 545, according to property services firm Knight Frank’s Wealth Report 2016.
 HNIs most preferred investment opportunity tends to be property. The average number of residential properties owned by wealthy Indians stands at four, which is the highest in the world, while the global average stands at 3.7. 
When not only immigrants, but also HNIs occupy the city, the need for vertical growth has become necessary. Vertical growth helps in population management; high rises provide sufficient living space even with the limited land space.

Luxurious living
High rises integrate various facilities like gyms, clubs and departmental stores within their building space instead of occupying more land surrounding the high-rise. This is indicative of the fact that vertical growth inspires sustainable ideas.
Vertical growth also frees up more land space: While the whole intention of high rises was to cope with the limited land space, vertical growth is ensuring that we are actually conserving precious land space which can be turned into green spaces or public recreation zones.

 Redevelopment in the city
One of the best examples of vertical growth in the city is redevelopment.
Housing redevelopment refers to the process of reconstruction of a residential premise by demolition of the existing structure and construction of a new one as per approvals from the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM). Redevelopment is a concept that uses vertical growth as a driving force to provide good living spaces for people in a crowded city like Mumbai.
Of course, redevelopment is dependent on FSI or Floor Space Index. In India, FSI restrictions tend to hinder the optimization of a concept like vertical growth.  Compared to international cities, India is far behind. Shanghai has an FSI of 13.1, while New York and Manhattan have an FSI of 15. Mumbai, on the other hand, is still grappling with an FSI of 3.0. Higher FSI is a need of the day because taller buildings are necessary to combat city- congestion.

 A versatile concept that can incorporate sustainable development, vertical growth helps us to make the best of the very real space-crunch situation we find ourselves in. 

Monday 20 June 2016

Life In The Modern City: A Search For Experiences.

 The accelerated pace of our lives makes us forget about the less pressing, but infinitely more important things in life. In the grand scheme of things, isn’t it imperative that we not miss out on experiences that enrich and mould us into better people? Experiences are important for those of us who are forced to cope with the monotony of city life. These experiences are necessary to reconnect with ourselves and alleviate the stress that dominates our lives.

Living Life Vs. Experiencing Life.
In recent times, the modern Indian city has seen many changes, including the greater availability of new experiences. Cities are now growing beyond places to simply live and work, gradually developing into hubs that promote and provide diverse experiences for any and all types of tastes and preferences. Do you like outdoor activities like hiking, mountain biking or rock climbing? Want to meet like-minded people who share your passion for art, photography or even wine tasting? Chances are all of these experiences are available to you not very far from where you live.

It’s universally agreed upon that life in the city can be stressful. To alleviate this stress people themselves are actively seeking out new experiences. Photography, adventure sports, exotic spa treatments and many other experiences are now accessible to us within the realm of the city itself.

Previously, when people wanted adventure, they needed to plan well in advance and locate places that could offer these experiences. The whole process was tedious and time consuming, and the feeling of satisfaction from the experience was also delayed.

This has now changed. A couple of examples: adventure groups who plan events for a day or a weekend now utilize small hiking trails near the city. People can sign up with these groups and have the adventures that they crave.

Short term photography courses, art appreciation seminars, city walks and sports activities are available to people within the city itself.

These days, developers are addressing these experiential needs exhibited by their customers. The demand of the ambitious Indian looking for rewarding life experiences is being catered to in his/her own vicinity. Today, developers don’t just build houses; they serve lifestyle demands. Examples of modern townships with world class tennis courts, expansive golf courses, riverside views, luxury brand outlets, self-contained markets, high-end spas, etc. emerging in the city are testaments to this. 

The Experiential Generation:

A generation that is unaffected by class and status, but instead places immense value on living life to the fullest, the people of the 21st century are constantly searching for newer and fuller experiences. Emerging urban acronyms such as DINKS (Double Income No Kids) and YUPPIES (Young Urban Professionals) are testimony to emergence of a subset of people with great spending power and an unquenchable thirst for new experiences.

They are the upholders of the YOLO (You Only Live Once) ideology and exert a growing influence on the development of urban life. These professionals believe in working hard and playing harder, hence they turn to experiences within the city itself to balance their stress levels and enjoy life.

The DINKS and YUPPIES provide us with an insight into the future of the city. The city will soon be an avenue for activities that will provide great experiences. 

Experiences Are Changing Our Lives

One does not have to wait for a vacation to relax or have fun. Experiences of every type, shape and form are now available relatively close to home. The availability of these experiences has made experiential culture the new trend. People are excited to immerse themselves in different experiences and try new activities. 

Even our homes have progressed beyond just places to return to after a long day at work. They’ve now become our connection to local communities and activities. People are starting to look for homes that reflect the experiential culture they want to be a part of.

All in all, it would seem that people have started to appreciate the fulfillment that comes with filling our lives with experiences. It is therefore, incumbent on progressive developers to aid the customer in this search.