Rutul Joshi’s podcast borrows from his experience as an established Urban Planner and Architect. Topics ranging from something as basic as well-connected spaces in cities to more intricate information like the integration of TOD (Transit Oriented Development) are covered in his extremely precise and informative podcast. He starts by putting forth a bold question and asking if well-planned, user and nature-friendly Indian cities seem too Utopic to be true, and wondering if our cities can successfully manage to bind thoughtfully planned cities and a smart transport module together.
The topic is further broken down into a simpler language by explaining “Land Use” as a giant umbrella term that covers the nature of the activity, the intensity of use, and efficient spatial arrangement and “Transport Integration” as an attempt to bring in strategically planned commute and accessibility options necessary for a city to function smoothly.
He further goes on to explain how the transport planning in Indian cities was initially done in form of building a massive network of flyovers and highways that could provide for basic accessibility from one place to another and then emphasizing on why it is important to make a shift from that to a more holistic approach towards an integrated Land use and TOD planning so that cities can be planned more efficiently and spaces can be linked closely to one other organically. The impact of skilfully planned multimodal links on the neighboring area development is undeniable and he tries to throw light upon how real estate prices and the quality of life are affected by just well-planned transit systems.
The very important aspect of planning and execution – The various governing agencies and their roles are categorized properly and he specifically points out how the whole spread out governing bodies fail to introduce a holistically designed transport model that is well thought of at a macro and micro level. The need for coordination between these bodies who work as individual clusters is unquestionably important and needs better policies in place.
The symbiotic relationship between a well-planned TOD and core city development, especially in Brownfield areas, can lead to a more systematic lifestyle. The podcast also talks about India’s TOD policies and the necessity of a high capacity transit system that can not only ease the pressure on the current public transport scenario but also can ensure more access by the sector of people who have been using private vehicles for all these years, hence helping issues like congestion on roads and pollution.
The podcast talks about creative ways to integrate land use and TOD can be done on a micro-level by ensuring buildings have open front edges and no compound walls so that they have an active interaction with the streets. Other policy-based decisions like charging users for parking on the streets can lead to wider roads that are encroachment free.
Flexibility in planning and configurable spaces around identified transit nodes throughout the cities can also lead to the creation of pockets that can be used for public amenities hence creating a more holistically designed city.
The final takeaway from this extremely informative podcast is that Indian cities need to start taking into consideration transport as a part of their planning and not addition that simply connects one area to another. This approach not only ensures more well-defined spaces that will help our cities on the compact development front, but it will also deal with issues like overcrowding and safety issues. Happy cities lead to happy citizens and that’s all we really need to worry about!