At present, Chandigarh does not allow the partition of residential plots into three-storeyed apartments. (ILLUSTRATION: BISWAJIT DEBNATH/HT)
At present, Chandigarh does not allow the partition of residential plots into three-storeyed apartments. (ILLUSTRATION: BISWAJIT DEBNATH/HT)

Chandigarh’s glorious past presents a tense future

Chandigarh was Independent India’s first planned city and was to set the tone for development in rest of the country. The city needs to continue living up to this ideal and lead the way in evolving with time but at the same time, it should preserve its heritage, architectural marvels and green cover, which residents take a lot of pride in
UPDATED ON JUL 24, 2021 01:32 AM IST

Corbusier wasn’t against high-rise development

Le Corbusier was always in favour of high-rise apartments as is evident from his ideas on Radiant City and his proposal for Redevelopment of Paris. He always envisioned a sector with a single high-rise mix-use tower for the population, and kept rest of the land vacant for agricultural and recreational use. When he actually got the chance to implement his ideas in Chandigarh, in the 1950s, our country didn’t have enough funds to invest in vertical infrastructure. In order to execute his urban ideas, Corbusier had proposed that Phase I, which consisted largely of low-rise low density government housing, be demolished and new high rise, high density development be carried out. But that was never done. Though some of the southern sectors have got such buildings, most of it poorly executed.

Kamal Passi, Chandigarh

Northern sectors already bursting at the seams with PGs

At present, there is no bar on renting out houses to any number of tenants or converting it into a paying guest accommodation, subject to certain conditions. In most one kanal houses of the northern sectors, at least seven to eight rooms have been rented out to different individuals on single or double-sharing basis. So there are more than 15 tenants in such houses. It is far better to have just three families as owners than having so many tenants, especially in terms of burden on the infrastructure. Vinod Chadha, Chandigarh

Preserve Chandigarh’s original character

Chandigarh is a great experiment of modern urban planning and architecture which had a significant impact on development of cities and towns in the states of Punjab and Haryana. Chandigarh administration should never of allow the rise of apartments over bungalows/independent dwelling units and must protect Le Corbusier’s Chandigarh, a world renowned City Beautiful. Instead, the administration should embark on preserving the city’s original character and at the same time, improve the city infrastructure and beauty through modern technology and urban renewable mechanism. As far as the growing population’s housing needs are concerned, the massive development in SAS Nagar (Mohali) & Panchkula will help resolve it.

HS Bhogal, Mohali

Do away with north-south divide

Considering the affordable housing needs of people, the Apartment Act should be allowed in Chandigarh. Besides, it will help families legally divide the property and sell / mortgage / reconstruct etc without the consent of all stakeholders. If apartments can come up in the southern sectors, which are now seeing a high population density and added burden on infrastructure, the why can’t it be allowed in Northern sectors. How can a city have two set of rules, presumably one for the rich and the other for the poor.

Maj RS Virk, Chandigarh

Don’t kill city’s soul

Chandigarh is a special city and is known all over the world for its architectural character and quality of life for its residents. It cannot be compared with Delhi or any other city in India and it enjoys a special status of being the first fully planned and best livable city. Allowing flats in place of bungalows will indirectly kill the soul of the city as it is already bursting at its seams. The increase in FAR in marla category houses, and increased FAR in commercial buildings in various stages has already done more than enough in increasing population density of the city. Only people with vested interests, such as builders and developers, want to change the character of the city.

Ashwani Sabharwal, Chandigarh

City will lose its heritage

City Beautiful’s layout plan by Le Corbusier is one of the best architectural and design works in India. But if the UT administration allows any construction of apartments over bungalows, Chandigarh will lose its heritage.

Sandeep Rawat, Chandigarh

Develop townships around city

Development should be proportional. There is already a shortage of parking space, water scarcity, and electric cuts. If subdivision of residential plots or floor-wise ownership is allowed, these problems will only accentuate. Instead of overloading the city, towns around Chandigarh should be developed.

Renu Saigal, via email

Allow apartments, but with riders

Apartments may be allowed in Northern Sectors to meet the growing population’s housing needs, subject some conditions. The plot area should be at least four kanal, only 40% coverage may be allowed for construction, basement and ground floor should be allowed for parking only, only four-storeys should be allowed.

Subhash Chander Swami, via email

Move with the times

Le Corbusier’s Chandigarh was planned keeping in mind the population at that time. But now the population has increased manifold. In addition, now it is surrounded by satellite towns of Mohali and Panchkula. Hence, the need of hour is to allow the rise of apartments.

Subhash Chugh, via email

Can’t allow independent housing in rapidly growing city

The population of the city has been risen from 10.5 lakh in 2011 to nearly 12 lakh in the last decade. In a rapidly growing city, the administration cannot build so many independent houses. The conventional approach is to displace poor residents and destroy their homes to make way for new development. But this has an adverse effect on the already living population. Thus apartments in northern sectors must be allowed.

SK Khosla, Chandigarh

Don’t be averse to change

Blind adherence to any practice or provision howsoever good, must not hinder any endeavour to make it better and in tune with evolving needs and aspirations. Things do not change; we change and changing for the better sustains life. Rise of multi-storeyed apartments over a bungalow in northern sectors of Le Corbusier’s Chandigarh, will be to the detrimental to neighbours in bungalows nearby. Nonetheless, apartment complexes should be allowed where ample open space is available.

Lalit Bharadwaj, Panchkula

Can’t absorb more people here

On one hand, we talk about the traffic problems, installing air purifiers, looking for solutions to minimise pollution in the city, both noise and traffic, trash management, and on the other hand we talk about absorbing more population into Chandigarh. I believe it is not justified since this will disrupt the beauty of the city. The city has already been pushed to the lowest level as far as beauty is concerned. How can we disgrace it more.

Anju Mohan, Panchkula

Le Corbusier’s legacy needs to be protected

With the ever-burgeoning population hitting the roof, problems of residents have multiplied too. The administration shall have to take a clear stand so as to protect and preserve the rich legacy of Le Corbusier as the misplaced plan is set to spoil the heritage of the city. The administration needs to maintain a status quo if it wants Chandigarh to enjoy the ‘City Beautiful’ tag.

Ramesh Dhiman, Chandigarh

Solve existing problems

Before making way for new population, Chandigarh need to find a solution for the existing problems such as parking hassles. The problem is not of population but that of mismanagement. So the government should make necessary arrangements to tackle the crisis.

Avinash Goyal, Chandigarh

Don’t make city a concrete jungle

Any city has to evolve over time while also keeping its culture and ethos intact. Chandigarh is one such city which needs preservation of its heritage so that future generations can count on its beauty in years to come. The UT administration should avoid making the City Beautiful a concrete jungle. The design and layout of apartments designed by Le Corbusier should be retained as they add aesthetic value to the city. High-rise apartments in the city should not be allowed as they would steal the beauty of Chandigarh. In order to meet the demand of the growing population we have to satellite townships with modern transport facilities. Much more is there to solve the problem than spoiling an excellent piece of urban design , that is Chandigarh.

Dr Anil Kumar Yadav, via email

City infrastructure need a complete over overhaul

A city’s needs change over time and evolving to fulfill it is termed development. In our City Beautiful, the rising population needs more space for houses. To meet these needs, the authorities must allow the construction of apartment buildings in the place of bungalows while retaining our marvellous heritage. For this, some of the city’s old sectors should be designated as heritage sectors where such construction should not be allowed. Construction of apartment buildings over the debris of bungalows should be approved in the other sectors. This should be considered an opportunity to have a complete overhaul of the city’s infrastructure.

Saikrit Gulati, Chandigarh

With times, requirements have also changed

UT administration should allow the rise of apartments over bungalows in Le Corbusier’s, Chandigarh to meet the growing population’s housing needs. First of all, everyone cannot afford a bungalow and apartments are a more convenient option. Apartments score highly over bungalows as they are easier to sell because of relatively lower ticket sizes and the convenience of ownership. Both apartments and bungalows offer their unique living quotients and one must choose based on their taste, investment philosophy and financing options. Population change leads to a changing demand for housing. With the continuous increase in population there should be several housing options.

Ishita Nara, via email

Allow apartments, but preserve green belt

Yes, high-rise apartments must be allowed to meet the needs of the continuously growing population, though the green belt of Chandigarh and pollution norms should not be compromised. Parking issues can be resolved by planning parking spaces in newly emerging high rise apartments.

Karan Gaba, Panchkula

Retain character, ethos of city

Cities evolve with times but Chandigarh, being unique, must retain its character and ethos as envisaged by its founders. There won’t be any limit to need-based changes and commercial exploitation that would lead to city losing its character and unique architectural spaces. Division of a residential plot to carve out apartments or flats is a clear cut violation that should not be allowed. However the demand for more residential units could be accommodated by allowing multistory construction in sectors bordering Mohali and Panchkula where we already have a landscape with high-rise apartments.

DS Banati, Mohali

Develop the periphery

We need to keep growing. Keeping in mind the beauty of Chandigarh one thing that comes to our mind is the uniqueness of its architecture. The basic plan of Chandigarh should not be disturbed. If the city has to expand and absorb in the growing needs of the population then periphery should be developed.

Garv Bhupesh, Panchkula

Planned upgrade of city

Being India’s first planned city, the union territory is one of the cleanest in the country and is famous for its quality of architecture and urban planning. To keep up with the growing population and requirements of the city, the civic authorities designed the master plan of Chandigarh that will help them to regulate development and building activity. As per projections, Chandigarh will have a population of around 14.5 lakh by 2021 and over 20 lakh by 2030, which will further strain infrastructure — roads, power, water, sanitation, education, transport and housing. So, there is need to upgrade the city’s infrastructure.

Khushboo Singla, Chandigarh

Green apartments

Chandigarh’s heritage and legacy needs to be preserved in line with Le Corbusier’s plan, but certain areas now need change according to the modern requirements, be it parking needs or high rise apartments. With the population growing rapidly in Chandigarh, the development of high rise apartments should be approved. Rather models of modern cities like Singapore can be studied for the same by developing high-rise apartments in a green way, which will help in maintaining the city’s character as well.

Supneet Moyer, Chandigarh

Preserve legacy with a touch of modernisation

Chandigarh is a modern, beautiful and famous city in the World. Presently the city does not have sufficient housing for its population. Necessity is the mother of invention. So multi-storey apartments should be allowed but care must be taken to ensure the city’s original character is protected rigorously. It is true that change is never easy but always possible as per requirement.

Sumesh Kumar Badhwar, Mohali

Don’t ruin the beauty of the City Beautiful.

A large population is the reason behind the ideology of the apartment system in Chandigarh. Chandigarh has been known for its beauty, layout, and architecture. Nehru’s dream can’t be shattered in a single go. Government is doing work on its toes to bring a decrease in the population. If it happens, the population would no longer be a problem. Even if the above fact is ignored, a decision to enforce the apartment system will rob the city of its beauty and charm.

Priyam Aggarwal, Chandigarh

Launch economical, environment-friendly housing schemes

With a surge in population due to migration, housing demand in the city is rising. Housing schemes launched by CHB in the past were too costly and beyond the reach of a common man. Too much interference by bureaucrats, councillors and ministers put all the projects in limbo on pretext of preserving the beauty of the city. Much land is available with the Chandigarh administration, which needs to launch economical, environment friendly, disaster resistant housing schemes.

Abhilasha Gupta, Mohali

Apartments a more practical choice

Chandigarh city beautiful was designed and planned on geometric pattern by famous French architect Le Carbusier. All roads run parallel and perpendicular to each other. With the increase in population of the city, need was felt to go in far apartment (flat system), because bungalows take a lot of space, upkeep and regular maintenance problems. Multi-storey apartments occupy less space, and are easy to maintain. Further, as we now have nuclear families, apartments are a more practical choice.

Col TBS Bedi (Retd), Mohali

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Adapt to the changing times

The UT administration should allow the rise of apartments in Chandigarh to meet the growing population’s housing needs. Since the concept of joint families is slowly fading away, apartments will serve the needs of nuclear families. An added benefit is that the maintenance of apartments is comparatively easier and thus a more practical option for those who lead fast-paced lives. These days, people are also going for luxury apartments, which come with in-built facilities such as swimming pools, jacuzzi etc, and have supermarkets, playgrounds, and medical facilities within the township. Household issues such as electricity, water, and gas are easy to sort since the societies mostly use joint connections.

Aarushi Mishra, Chandigarh

Expert take


Apartments can be allowed but not at the cost of city’s skyline. Development has to take place but the architectural heritage should also be safeguarded.

SD Sharma, senior architect, Chandigarh heritage conservation committee’s sub-group chairman

Vertical expansion

Amid shooting property rates, rampant population growth and space constrains, the need of the hour is to facilitate the Master Plan- 2031 for calculated vertical expansion. This would help solve the problem of housing in terms of space, suitability and budget.

Salil Dev Singh Bali, lawyer (associated with this case in HC)

Study the demand

While we need additional housing, preserving the city’s heritage is equally important. Currently, we don’t have any studies on the actual housing demand in the city. Academic institutions can undertake such studies and come up with design solutions to cater to higher density housing needs.

Dr Sangeeta Bagga, principal Chandigarh College of Architecture

Phase out single-storeys

The rise of apartments in Chandigarh is the need of the hour and the city can be expanded now. Also, single-storey government accommodations should be phased out and new multi-storeyed buildings should come up in its place.

Gurpreet Singh, former chief town planner, Punjab

Limited infrastructure

‘Apartmentalisation’ of a planned city like Chandigarh will ruin the city, which was originally planned only for five lakh people, as the infrastructure can’t bear the extra population.

ML Sarin, senior advocate

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