2021: The year when vision of a 24-hr ‘future-ready’ Delhi took root
To place Delhi in the same league as other global megacities, the draft Master Plan of Delhi-2041 proposes a 24-hour city with thriving nightlife, high-rise studio apartments near mass transit facilities, co-working spaces, rental housing, pedestrian-friendly streets, etc.
2021 was the year when Delhi planned to become the “future-ready” capital.
The Delhi Development Authority (DDA), the nodal urban planning agency in Delhi, came out with a series of policies and a new master plan, the blueprint for the sustainable development of the city in the next two decades.
To place the capital in the same league as other global megacities, the draft Master Plan of Delhi-2041 proposes a 24-hour city with thriving nightlife, high-rise studio apartments near mass transit facilities, co-working spaces, rental housing, pedestrian-friendly streets, etc.
The Master Plan, which was put up for public scrutiny in June, is likely to be finalised by February next year. The DDA recently completed the public consultation process, which was for the first time held virtually due to the pandemic. According to senior DDA officials, the agency received close to 33,000 suggestions/objections regarding the new vision document.
The plan also proposes a major change in DDA’s role in the city’s development from that of a developer to regulator and facilitator by allowing private developers to provide for the housing needs in the future. Since 1957, the DDA has been the sole developer providing for the city’s growing housing demand.
The new provisions in the plan encourages mixed use development, proposed in the MPD-2021. But resident welfare associations in the city are opposing it saying that it has “destroyed the residential character of neighbourhoods”.
For the first time, the Master Plan takes into account the housing needs of the migrant workers. The plan has provision for affordable rental housing, especially near industrial areas and commercial hubs.
It also proposes that local bodies and the tourism department identify nightlife circuits (NCs) and permit extended timings for socio-cultural activities. The plan proposes a shift from manufacturing to clean industries such as knowledge and cyber, and a push to foster a “Night-Time Economy”.
Apart from the plan, the DDA came out with policies to regulate parking in new buildings, development in the city’s green belts and redevelopment of unauthorised colonies.
But its implementation, urban planning experts say, are fraught with challenges.
Shamsher Singh, former chief town planner of the erstwhile Municipal Corporation of Delhi, said, “The biggest hurdle in the implementation of the Master Plan has been multiplicity of authority in the capital. A lot of schemes or policies such as special area redevelopment plans could be implemented due to this reason. There is a need for a good monitoring mechanism.”
For the first time in 2021, the DDA came up with two housing schemes in the same year. In January, the land-owning agency came out with a housing scheme with 1,354 flats, mainly for high and middle income groups. The HIG flats were priced at ₹2.14 crore.
With a large number of flats returned by allottees of past housing schemes, the DDA recently announced a new housing scheme to dispose of 18,000-plus flats in several areas.