An important process is on in our city. And it is for our city.
The draft of the second Master Plan for Chennai is open for discussion.
This is an important document; it guides the state in planning for the future of this city and its people.
A very positive developent has been the willingness of the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA), and commonly regarded as the place you go to to get a sanction for building plans, to invite the people of this city to share their views and offer their suggestions on this plan. The CMDA is also willing to incorporate all the key ideas.
This in itself is a major step forward in a climate where few state bodies are willing to even disclose their projects for our neighbourhoods.
CMDA is earnest in holding consultations in different parts of the city and in the suburbs. In some places, the participation has been enthusiastic.
I attended one such meeting last weekend. CMDA's vice-chairman, R. Santhanam, a respected officer, presented the salient features of this document and the suggestions that have been made.
Here is a sample of interesting details gleaned from the presentation.
- While there has been an explosion in the number of vehicles ( a majority are two-wheelers), most of the pavements have been done away with. Interestingly, 40% of employed people in a neighbourhood either walk or cycle to their workspot and state agencies just do not provide for their transport needs.
- The city has over 200 parks and playgrounds, and hence the 'open spaces' seem fairly widespread but such spaces have not been developed in the suburbs of what is called the Chennai Metropolitan Area (CMA).
- There is a strong suggestion to encourage construction along the MRTS corridor (rail system) and hence, an incentive to raise the FSI (Floor Space Index). The assumption is that people would like to live close to a transport network for obvious reasons. Some architects question the assumption though.
- Modern neighbourhoods are foreseen in two corridors. One is Sriperumbudur, which is home to a large spread of modern industrial activity. The other is Sholinganallur, along the IT Corridor. Civil society activists however, question why the IT industry and the people who work in it are being pampered.
When you have some time on your hands, you should read the shorter version of the Master Plan which is posted on the CMDA web site.
It will enlighten you about the city that is your home. And indicate to you what the future may well be. You may also want to provide inputs to the planners. (www.cmdachennai.org)
We are not sure how far the CMDA will go to incorporate solid, informed suggestions of citizens in its final plan. But we should engage.
Meanwhile, did you know that there are many real estate promoters who are keen to promote the 'gated communities' concept in Chennai?
Are you for it? Do share your views here.