‘Smart cities way forward to housing for all’

August 4th, 2012 - 12:41 am ICT by IANS  

Bangalore, Aug 3 (IANS) With increasing migration to urban areas from villages and towns in pursuit of education, jobs and better living, realtors should build smart cities for housing all with as many amenities, a senior official said Friday.

“The way forward to solve the acute housing problem in urban areas is to build smart cities with better amenities so as to provide a quality life for denizens and decongest the old and densely populated cities,” union Urban Development Secretary Sudhir Krishna said at a day-long conference on real estate in south India here.

Quoting data on how about 60 percent of the GDP was being generated from urban areas with growing cities as economic hubs, education hubs and tourism hubs, Krishna said smart cities should be planned using a transit-oriented approach to create an ecosystem that would be sustainable and affordable.

“The 12th Five Year Plan (2012-17) also highlights inclusive governance and environmental sustainability to ensure transparent development of urban areas with master plans and debt coverage ratio,” Krishna told about 100 delegates participating in the first ‘South India’s Real Estate’ conference, oragnised by the Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Ficci).

Though the realty sector across the country has seen a dip in demand due to economic slowdown, high interest rate and increase in capital cost, south India has been a trend setter for the housing sector in the country.

“As a large state, realty sector across Karnataka has been growing at 15 percent and demand for housing is poised to grow by 11 percent during this fiscal (2012-13). With four million people living in slums across the state, there is a huge potential for affordable housing through the public-private partnership model,” Karnataka Housing Secretary Laxmi Narayana said.

With the IT and business process outsourcing (BPO) industry generating huge demand for commercial as well as housing space in the state capitals - Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai, the realty sector in the southern states have grown by leaps and bounds over the last decade.

“As the knowledge industry expands with sunrise sectors such as biotech, pharma, aerospace and nanotech growing, the number of tier-one and tier-two cities in the four southern states is poised to grow to 14-15 in the next five years from 10-11 currently,” Ficci real estate committee chairman and Hirandani Estate managing director Niranjan Hirandani observed.

Stakeholders at the conference favoured a holistic solution to urban development with equal emphasis on planned growth of industrial, commercial and residential areas for optimal utilisation of scarce space and healthy environment.

“As migration of people to urban from rural areas and growth of cities is unstoppable, long-term planning and affordable solutions are imperative to meet the demand for commercial and housing space,” Hirandani noted.

A white paper on “Re-orienting Real Estate through Smart Concepts and Technology”, by Ficci and global consultants Ernest and Young was released on the occasion.

The paper highlights the accelerated economic growth over the past two decades in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

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