India: Urban Planning Needs More Focus on Green Building


KOLKATA: Inclusive city planning is imperative for the planned growth of any ‘green’ township, American urban planning expert Robert Brosnan has said.

Preserving the character of a city was the most critical factor of urban planning, but when the old facade of dilapidated buildings cannot be retained, it would make sense to tear them down, he said here last evening at an interactive session organised by the USIS.

He further asked the city fathers to consider the “Arlington Model” of urban planning.

Arlington is a township adjacent to Washington DC which was built not just taking into consideration the inhabitants, available land, water, power utility services and sewerage, but also the need to conserve energy and avoid wastage.

“You must look for conserving energy to the extent possible; just planting saplings on the boulevards will not help,” he said. “Where ever it is possible, replace the old buildings with new structures but retain the look of the original,” Brosnan, said adding such a practice would make enough sense for Kolkata.

He advocated the need for putting equal stress on connectivity by introducing a better public transport network to take the load off private transport. “Think of how people can be dissuaded from having their own vehicles. Make public transport faster, user-friendly and comfortable. That will be an energy-efficient move helping to decrease pollutants in the air, especially in a tropical country of yours,” Brosnan, the Director of Department of Community Planning, US, said. Stressing the need for putting in place a mass transit system, he said that MRTS projects like underground rails could be the only alternative in addition to a large fleet of buses on dedicated feeder routes.

“Rainwater harvesting is also a must to save the depleting ground water table,” Brosnan said.

He also disfavoured giving people the right to walk on kerbs, saying jay-walkers crossing the road and not being very careful about traffic signals were slapped fines in the US.

Brosnan came to the city to participate in an interactive session on ‘Green Building – Impact on our community’ at the American center in association with CII where city-based architects, real estate developers, businessmen, entrepreneurs and officials from the state department of urban development took part.

He said it is time urban planners in India considered the green building movement which, he felt, would put a lid on industrial units proliferating in residential hubs.

“I am happy to note that the Green Building Movement in India is advancing at a brisk pace with over 1608 registered projects covering a green footprint of 1.15 billion sq ft,” he said.


Source: Times of India

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