Monday, October 20, 2008

Urban Development with zoning for minimizing traffic entropy

Urban Road Network Development is an important integral aspect of any urban development. The standards of construction of State roads are available with Indian Roads Congress at nominal cost by mail. However these standards seem to refer only to the civil construction of roads as such without referring to various other important civic needs of a community, with an urban reference, in particular. Praja who is actively engaged in improving the lot of mega city dwellers, is very conscious about bridging this gap.

Bangalore has experienced an explosive growth in a past few decades, which is chaotic and intrusive of rural land use. The type of development also known as vernacular type of development, in turn attempts to give a workable relationship between the urban and rural environments.

The zoning concept on the other hand, is a basic requirement important for urban development towards minimizing the traffic entropy. The entropy is a variable indicating the disorder of any system, and plays an important role in the second law of thermodynamics. The comparability between the environmental impact of urbanization and the thermodynamic entropy has been systematically analyzed, which has led to The Urban Environment Entropy Model. Thus the importance of zoning along with sufficient green belts cannot be under estimated.

The article on The Five Dimensions of compact city development evaluates the efficacy of five smart growth instruments in bringing forth compact urban development and nontraditional neighborhood design. The article first sets forth a set of quantitative measures that rationalize five dimensions of compact urban development and nontraditional neighborhood design:

1. Street network connectivity
2. Density
3. Land use mix
4. Accessibility
5. Pedestrian walk ability.

Using these measures, three study areas were evaluated to determine how well their urban development patterns meet smart growth principles. However, smart growth plans have not branched out into non-traditional aspects of planning to encourage mixed land uses and to improve regional accessibility.

Modern day cities in developing countries tend to become bigger and bigger as time passes. The size of a city depends on the land used for housing, Industries and the workforce, to keep the Industry going. The workforce in turn attracts additional support people, and additional land for use. The total area of a city is thus the land required for:

3.Public Utilities:
c)Busyness Centers
d)Transport Stations
e)Hotels and Restaurants
f)Schools and Collages
g)Road Network

In a growing city like Bangalore for example, bad road net work utilization and or bad traffic regulation could be disastrous.

View Larger Map

In the current blog, traffic entropy is visualized as a measure of wastage in fuel and time of total traffic participants on any given day in the life of a city.

It is proposed to restrict the area of interest of the city of Bangalore for simplicity to the area between 100 and 80 feet roads on one hand, and the CMH and 13th main roads on the other hand, as shown in the Google Map above. The area of interest as above will be analyzed for introduction of one ways, uninterrupted traffic on arterial roads, integration of Walk paths, cycle tracks and green belts etc, for presentation to the authorities for implementation.

This analysis post is Titled "A dream pilot project for a smooth flowing Indiranagar Traffic"

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Open Communities

Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) is a Government body, in charge of aesthetic planning and design of the city of Bangalore. From time to time it has made residential lay outs with enough green area and other amenities like electricity, water and sanitation. Private developers and Industries also approach BDA for their requirements. The BDA has been allotting huge chunks of land normally at the outskirts of the city, at the time of allotting. Provision of amenities like green areas, are integral part of the BDA planning. The demands for schools colleges and hospitals are also accommodated at the time of layout formation. However demands for businesses like Hotels, Restaurants, and shops with moderate land requirements come up only as and when the communities grow up. BDA also reserves enough land for zonal government offices, commonly known as BDA complex of the open community.

The layouts known as Indiranagar, Defense colony, for example, were planned and executed by the BDA in 1967. In these lay outs one can observe wide roads (80,100 feet) are planned as extensions of the then existing arteries connecting them. The naming of these layouts and allotment of the sites for residential purposes suggests that they were classified as and deemed communities. The zone planning was limited to making the biggest residential sites along the widest roads. After 40 years these bigger plots are getting transformed to commercial use. Thanks BDA’s forethought of putting the biggest sites along widest of roads for this very possible future Transformation. This can be credited as Futuristic Zoning Concept.

View Larger Map

At this juncture there is an urgent need to have a re look at these open communities, for the purpose of organizing the increased city traffic efficiently. These wide roads which are supposed to be continuation of older arterial roads could be made one ways with lot of benefits. It would also be beneficial to consider closing too many road entries on to these arterial roads. The closure of these redundant entries would be welcome real estate addition for better civic use.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Impact of gated Communities on Bangalore city Development

Gated communities prevent public access around the clock, to their own private land. Fulbright Scholar Renaud LE GOIX Examines Gated Communities in Southern California in a theses submitted by him in July 2003. These gated communities include their own private utilities like gardens, community centers and even star Hotels behind these gates. He however refers to them as a manifestation of “Urban Pathology”. Pathology a medical term means a study of diseases. He also considers them as public space being privatized.
The point I would like to make right away is, “public place being privatized” thought is a myth. On the other hand it is in the public interest that the honest, capable, and well reputed builders of Bangalore should be nurtured and utilized for a planned growth of the city. Urban pathology is also a misnomer. The pathology part is universally applicable to showing off or is it same as making a “statement”!

“Palm Meadows” currently no 1 address in Bangalore, developed by Adarsh Builders contains Tennis courts, a club house, star hotel with swimming pool etc. It has 500 villas built on plots starting with sizes of 2400 sft to 10000 sft. These are exclusive Villas restricted to two floors. Palm Meadows project one of the earliest started in Bangalore, in the last decade of 20th century. Adarsh has something called signature Villas, which is meant to be life time “statement” one would like to make.

When city fathers of Bangalore gave these big chunks of real estate to builders it was a moot point whether or not it should have been given. In fact they went “head over heals” to provide the developers, water of the river cauveri and electricity. Now the BBMP is not in such an envious situation any more. Hope fully the BBMP will be more frugal in the future about the utilization of these scarce resources.

With the above discussions it is easy to comprehend part of gated communities in the development of a city. The most important point that I would like to make at this point is that the BDA should learn an important lesson from these developers and have a relook at their Open communities

Friday, October 10, 2008

Restricting the right turn for improving traffic flow

The road traffic problems in Bangalore City are increasing day by day. The primary reason for the increase is the increase in Road Vehicles consequent to the increase in City Businesses in turn increasing the Population. This phenomenon is not Unique to Bangalore alone. The population in our country has grown from 0.40 billion in 1940 to 1.17 billion in 2008. The primary reason, for the increasing chaos in the road traffic, is this phenomenal population explosion.

Any road design is based on a given maximum traffic load. The load on roads can be reduced by having alternative mass Transport systems like Metro, Mono and suburban Rail systems. The design of the total system is in turn limited by the design total load.

Thus any city road system design can support a max load to which the road system is originally designed. Adding additional modes of transport can delay the ultimate load on the road system but can not avoid it.

It is important to understand this concept of “maximum permissible limit on total number of vehicles allowed in a city” will finally decide the limit on growth of any city, especially cities like Mumbai

Recently in a meeting with Bangalore City ACP Mr. Praveen Sood attended by a Praja team including me, expressed a view that it is the right turn that complicates the road traffic flow. This view of Mr. Sood sounds similar to that of the DCP of Pune.

A very active Praja in Pune is currently grappling with Banning Right Turns to Improve Traffic Flows proposal of its Deputy Commissioner of Police. The Pune author seems to be in confusion whether this move by the Pune DCP is scientific or other wise.

Any logical thinking conforming to known and proven scientific laws as of the day is scientific. Thus which is scientific to day could well be unscientific tomorrow, as the human knowledge improves by the day if not hours. Hence going by what we have discussed above, we have to consider logically the consequence of banning the Right Turn. The logic to be applied here is whether the gains achieved by banning the right turn are more than the losses due to the banning.

It looks like the Pune Praja is reconciled to the proposal of restricting the right turn made by DCP Pune.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Public Vs Private Transport

On September 1 2008, Abhishek Upadhyay wrote that “People should be encouraged to use Public Transport.” I was busy on “Praja” work consequently loosing some time on developing Bangalore on line.

Yes Abhishek that is number one priority for us in Bangalore for that matter the whole globe. This is because the development is taking place at ever increasing pace which is mind boggling. No design can cater for ever increasing number of private vehicles.

However there are several ways to handle the situation of incresed number of vehicles:

1. Have some roads earmarked for only buses.
2. Have dedicated bus lanes instead in all roads
3. Discourage private vehicles by introducing congestion tax.
4. Remove subsidy on fuel totally on private vehicles.
5. Have additional local exclusive Cycle / pedestrian Tracks.
6. Strict Zoning in the future Bangalore city development.
7. Move towards Zoning in existing areas of Bangalore
8. Go for multi modal transport including Metro, Manos and suburban Rail
9. No parking of private Vehicles on public land, including roads
10. Close entry of all residential area roads on to arterial roads, except a few.

Wife & Me in Hyderabad, India August 18, 2005

Wife &  Me in Hyderabad, India August 18, 2005
The Indian School of Business