BDA’s master plan goes from ‘compact’ to ‘urban sprawl’

January 8, 2018

Can 21st century Bengaluru reject the principles of new urbanism with dense, mixed neighbourhoods that promote public transport and walkability to reduce environmental and resource costs and yet be a liveable, affordable and ecologically smart city? The question that Sudhir Krishnaswamy, Mathew Idiculla and Champaka Rajagopal have about Bangalore Development Authority’s (BDA) draft Revised Master Plan 2031 (RMP 2031).

The Vision Plan, 1 of the 6 documents that make up the draft RMP 2031, outlines a strategy to accommodate a projected population of 24.7 million that, the authors posit, is bound to encourage urban sprawl. The restriction of development in the city core combined with intensive development at the periphery is the antithetic to creating an urban environment that is economically, socially and ecologically progressive.

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The Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) recently published the much-awaited draft Revised Master Plan (RMP) 2031 for Bengaluru. This plan is to regulate the growth of 1,219 sqkm area under the BDA jurisdiction for the next 15 years. The draft is open for public comments till January 23, 2018, after which it will be modified and notified as an enforceable legal document under the Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act, 1961.

The draft RMP includes 6 documents: Vision Document, Existing Land Use Maps, Proposed Land Use Maps, Master Plan Document, Planning District Report and Zoning Regulations. In this article, we examine the broad vision and strategy of urban planning and development for Bengaluru which is primarily set out in the Vision Document of the draft RMP.

In January 2017, the BDA published a consultation document as a part of the RMP 2031 process that examined three growth scenarios for Bengaluru. A ‘Containment Scenario’ envisaged low population growth to 15.4 million by 2031, to be concentrated within existing municipal limits. The ‘Corridor Development Scenario’ imagined intensive development along transit corridors to accommodate a projected population of 24.7 million.

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