Monday, February 11, 2013

Is there hope for living a good life in Chandiarh?

It doesn't take any psychic abilities to know that Chandigarh residential areas are headed in the direction of the terrific colonies like Greater Kailash and South Ex in New Delhi.

It is a matter of time before we will be fighting with neighbours over which part of the road is meant for whose car.

The houses belonged to my grandparents' and parents' generation. They are passing on to the hands of my children's generation. It is inevitable that the need for additional accommodation has arisen and municipality is rising to the needs of the people. It has allowed additional area to covered and provided additional fsi.

Of even greater significance is the need to unlock the value of the land when the inheritors are scattered across the world. We see houses around us demolished to be replaced by lovely flats. As it is, we are inconvenienced by our neighbours who have at least 4 cars. The honking of vehicles trying to make their way into and out of the colony irritates me to no end. The inconvenience is bound to increase.

Hopefully, we will go back to Goa and take a place in a quiet village by the time living in our neighbourhood becomes an aggravation.

But does it have to follow the inevitable route? We can't wish away the population or the rising land prices which make the conversion to flats such an attractive proposition. However, nature will find solutions even if we don't. Take this extract from the Wikipedia on Rennaisance as an example:
The demographic decline due to the plague had some economic consequences: the prices of food dropped and land values declined by 30 to 40% in most parts of Europe between 1350 and 1400.[38] Landholders faced a great loss but for ordinary men and women, it was a windfall. The survivors of the plague found not only that the prices of food were cheaper but also found that lands were more abundant, and that most of them inherited property from their dead relatives.
 I have actually been fascinated by high rises. While high rise slums as seen in crime films and tv serials look depressing, living in a lovely flat in Manhattan was a very attractive experience. What if the city decided that the fsi would be based on the area of the plot which is covered. Lower the covered area, higher the fsi. Also, what if the whole block of houses could be torn down and the entire block rebuilt with high rises. Each block would have open spaces to play and socialise. The parking would be within the building. Even  shopping complexes and office spaces could be within the building. It would be a different lifestyle. Not like the old days of Chandigarh but, mercifully, not like Greater Kailash and South Ex either.

But I am sure the path of reconstructing block as high rises will just not happen - at least not in my lifetime.

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