Last week, Bhushan Joshi, a banking professional residing in Kalyan had to stay back home, all thanks to the rains. The city was brought to a standstill, Mumbai local train services on the central line beyond Thane to CSMT were defunct. Like Joshi, lakhs of others, staying in far suburbs and are dependent on city’s old infrastructure to reach their work place, were left stranded. In a city, that is also called the Maximum city, even slightest of rainfall delays the locals here. Last week’s shutting down of the financial capital of the country, has put forth the question, whether walk-to-work culture is the need of the hour in city like Mumbai and also is it possible to incorporate it.
Walk -to-work is an urban concept where infrastructure like housing, workplace, and shopping centres etc are built in the vicinity of eachother. Housing experts believe that this culture needs to gain momentum across Metro cities, given the everyday challenges an employee comes across inorder to get to work.
However, it isn’t possible for everyone to shift their base, it is important to highlight the problem of affordable homes in the city limits. Puri believes that the walk-to-work concept in a city like Mumbai will help solve this. “The long-pending Mumbai DP (Development Plan) 2034 has sparked a new wave of excitement in Mumbai’s real estate market since it envisaged, unlocking 3,700 hectares of public and private land, so far tagged as No Development Zones (NDZ) to open new avenues for real estate development. Of this, nearly 2,400 hectares of land (2,100 hectares at NDZ and nearly 330 hectares of salt pan) has been earmarked for affordable housing. If developments here follow the walk-to-work philosophy, then residential and office spaces need to be created in tandem on such land.”
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