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The term new town refers to planned communities of the new towns movement in particular, mainly in the United Kingdom. This term has its roots in the Garden City Movement, founded by Ebenezer Howard in the late 1800s, as an alternative to the over-crowded, polluted, chaotic, and industrial cities that had appeared in Britain.

Such planned communities or cities/ townships, are carefully chalked out from their inception and are typically constructed in a previously undeveloped area. In such developments land use conflicts are less frequent since they are planned carefully. So, in the past few years developers have been cashing on developing integrated townships in the suburban areas. A McKinsey Global Institute report, Indias urban awakening: Building inclusive cities, sustaining economic growth, says that India would need 25 new townships to house about 590 million people by 2030. Even Charles Correas Urbanisation Commission Report expounded the need for the creation of 500 GEMs (Generators of Economic Movement) and SPURS (Spatially Prioritised Urban Settlements) as new towns.

In recent times, India has seen a spurt in such planned townships and a significant number of consumers living in major urban centres are becoming interested in the idea of living in the number of planned townships that are being built away from major urban hubs and chaos. Let us have a look at some of these new towns which are redefining the way people live in our country.

Navi Mumbai

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Navi Mumbai is a planned satellite township of Mumbai on the west coast of Maharashtra. After it was created in 1971, City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) was the only authority that looked after the development and maintenance of the city. It was CIDCO which prepared the developmental plan for Navi Mumbai covering 95 villages. In 1991, Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) was constituted by the Maharashtra government for maintaining some of the developed nodes of Navi Mumbai, namely, Belapur, Nerul, Turbhe, Koparkhairane, Ghansoli, Airoli,
and Vashi.

Navi Mumbai is home to many software companies of Maharashtra, located in various parks. These include the Millenium Business Park in Mahape, the International Infotech Park at Vashi, and the Belapur railway station complex. It is also home to major commodity markets as well as a major steel market. One of the important business landmarks is the shipping port of Jawaharlal Nehru Port in the Nhava Sheva – Dronagiri nodes. The major business hubs in the city are CBD Belapur, Vashi, Nerul, and Mahape.

The Navi Mumbai Special Economic Zone (SEZ) located in the nodes of Dronagiri and Kalamboli is planned to provide commercial growth and employment to the city. Positioned enroute the proposed Navi Mumbai Airport, this megaproject has attracted investments close to Rs 40,000 crores.

New Town, Kolkata

New Town

New Town, formerly known as Rajarhat, is a fast emerging satellite township in Kolkata Metropolitan Area (KMA) and it is expected that it will be able to absorb additional population growth and help in easing the burden on Kolkata. The West Bengal Housing and Infrastructure Development Corporation (HIDCO) plans and executes development projects in the entire 6,000-7,000 hectare area in New Town. In order to render the various civic services and amenities within New Town, the New Town Kolkata Development Authority (NKDA) was constituted under the New Town Kolkata Development Authority Act, 2007.

New Towns master plan envisages a township at least three times bigger than the neighbouring planned Salt Lake City. The entire area is still under the process of development. As aA? planned township, New Town has been divided into three key areas: Action Area I, which mainly consists of malls, a sub Central Business District (CBD) and planned residential and commercial plots. Action Area II is to have a planned main CBD, institutional plots, IT Business Parks like DLF and Unitech, and plots for large apartment complexes. Action Area III mainly consists of high rise residential complexes and mini sub-townships like Uniworld City and Sukhobristi.

Various green initiatives have been undertaken to provide a healthy life to the inhabitants of New Town. The NKDA is working on plans to set up a dedicated green walkway stretching several kilometers in the township for people to walk and breathe fresh air without having the trouble to avoid cars and other polluting vehicles coming their way. A master plan, which has been approved by the Centre, has also been prepared for developing New Town as a solar city. It mentions ways to reduce the projected energy demand from conventional power sources by following two strategies one is by use of solar and renewable power sources and another is by using more energy efficient devices. Already, a long stretch of the main arterial road in Action Area I has been illuminated with LED streetlights and more such lights will be installed on various roads in the township.

Recently, West Bengals Transport Department and HIDCO came up with a plan to jointly set up a state-of the- art international bus terminus at New Town, the first of its kind in the state. The terminus will have cafes and rest rooms and services for inter-city, inter-state, and international bus routes will be operated from there. New Town is also witnessing a major real estate boom. This year, a 2.5-acre plot in the township fetched HIDCO a whopping Rs 57.33 crore. It amounts to Rs 23 crore per acre. Lately, HIDCO has been reaping rich harvest by auctioning off plots in the township for commercial purposes.

Other new town initiative

Along with the initiative for development of Navi Mumbai, many interesting initiatives have been taken for new town development like Maraimalai Nagar and Manali by Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) outside Chennai; Yelahanka, Hoskote and Kengeri outside Bengaluru by Karnataka Housing Board; and Noida, Greater Noida and GurgaonA? outside NCR. Based on pioneering efforts to create green field state capitals like Chandigarh came efforts to create Bhubaneswar, Gandhinagar and now Naya Raipur.

The Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor has plans for seven economically vibrant townships linked with the freight corridor. Closely following this are plans for Chennai-Bengaluru Corridor and Bengaluru-Mumbai Corridor. The whole concept is to develop new towns with economic drivers, employment generation and planned development of new towns to accommodate the new urban resurgence.

On the same vein, are efforts for creating new towns under SEZs as joint initiatives of Government of India, state governments and entrepreneurs. There have also been initiatives from private sector to develop new township projects. In Gurgaon, DLF, Ansal and UNITECH have shaped up the new city. Similarly on the Yamuna Expressway there are many townships planned by the Jaypee Group. Similarly in Bengaluru-Mysore Corridor the NICE group is developing few hub towns. Lodhas have ambitious plans for new township at Kalyan-Shil area. Apart from these, some of the other private sector initiatives are given below:

Magarpatta City

Magarpatta

Magarpatta was originally multiple plots of land owned by a community called Magar. Some 120 farmer families pooled 400 acres before requesting architect Hafeez Contractor to draft a private township plan, which was submitted to the concerned departments of the state administration for approval.

Magarpatta City is developed as an SEZ. It is a part of the Magarpatta City with residential, commercial, and IT development along with proper emphasis on environment, education, healthcare, fitness, recreation, and security. Buildings are designed as per international norms, state-of-the-art amenities are provided, such as multiple Internet Service Providers and telecommunications providers, 100% power back-up, ample parking space, high-end security system, etc.

Through its sustainable development model, Magarpatta City introduced eco friendly development. There is a central garden of 25 acres along with separate internal gardens for every neighbourhood. Hence, almost 30% of the area has been kept reserved for greenery. Implementation of waste management system, solar energy system ensures further enhancement of the environment. Magarpatta has become home to one of the largest residential solar water-heating systems in the country. The solar panels have been put in all the residential apartments comprising of about 3,500 flats in the Phase-I & II. Family healthcare needs are met by a 200-bed multi-specialty hospital in Magarpatta City. This ultra modern hospital will provide the best healthcare by eminent medical professionals.

The Destination Center in the township is the internal Amenity Center which offers space for shops, food courts, and leisure activities. One great advantage of Magarpatta City is its location. The city is 7 kms from the Pune Railway station and 5 kms from the citys business centre.

Magarpatta City has won accolades in the 2008 Sydney World Congress of Metropolis.

Lavasa

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Lavasa is a private, planned city being built near Pune by the Hindustan Construction Company (HCC). Among the first planned hill cities of India, Lavasa is approximately 1/5th of the land area of the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai. Located near the Mumbai-Pune economic corridor, along the Warasgaon Lake, Lavasa optimally balances nature and urban infrastructure.

The master plan of Lavasa is based on the principles of New Urbanism which makes life easy for its residents by placing all essential components of daily life within walking distance of each other. Besides this, architectural considerations such as land character, building frontage, and other design guidelines have also been taken into consideration while making the master plan.

The landscape and architectural design of Lavasa is based on the transect model, i.e. development is denser near the town centre, gradually reducing as one moves uphill. The master plan has been inspired by Biomimicry the science that learns from nature and adapts these learnings to planning, design and architecture.

Lavasa city has five towns as of now, Dasve, Mugaon, Dhamanohol, Sakhari-Wadavali, and CBD (Central Business District). Lavasa explores an array of architectural themes, from new-age Portofino- inspired studio apartments and luxurious Goan-Mediterranean four bedroom villas to affordable starter homes, rental housing, workforce, and retiree housing. It has a robust social infrastructure, 24 hour water and power, and e-governance.

Developments at Lavasa are well on schedule, and the Dasve town center is currently under an advanced stage development. While the Dasve Town Centre is already functional, all structures in education, hospitality, and leisure are fast-nearing completion. Mugaon, is 6 kms from Dasve and is being developed as a centre for residential, educational, business and commercial activities. This town has shops, cafes, cultural institutions, spiritual centres, schools, and colleges.

Lavasa will have a dedicated City Management Services team to deliver a unique value proposition to its citizens and visitors with an enhanced quality of community living, delivery on governance and emphasis on public safety & security including law and order services, fire and disaster prevention, etc.A? The highlight is the Citizen Contact Centre, which differentiates Lavasa from other cities. A citizen has access to this call centre which at any given time will be a one window information access for all sorts of information on amenities, queries, billing, etc.

It is also Indias first city to use a 3D-enabled Geographic Information System (GIS). Thus, combining GIS with Global Positioning System facility managers carry out maintenance and operations proactively.

Mahindra World City, New Chennai

Mahindra World City

Mahindra World City, spread across 1500 acres, is promoted by the Mahindra Group and Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation (TIDCO). It is located on the Golden Quadrilateral (NH-45); 45 minutes away from the Chennai International Airport and 55 kms from Chennai Seaport and it also boasts of an on-campus railway station. Conceptualised as an integrated business city, Mahindra World City has attracted around 60 best-in-class companies from across the world including BMW, B Braun, Capgemini, Infosys, Fujitec, Lincoln Electric, Mecaplast, NTN Corporation, Parker Hannifin, TVS Group of companies, Ingersoll Rand, Wipro, etc.

The city has a current working population of 28,000 and is expected to reach 100,000 in the next 10 years. The Residential Zone is master planned in close proximity to the Business Zone with varied social amenities built into the master plan comprising residential units, schools, medical centres, retail malls, a business hotel, recreation and leisure facilities.

Mahindra World City has a CBSE school (Mahindra World School) managed by the Mahindra World School Education Trust and it currently has around 400 children. There is also a day care center from Amelio for infants and toddlers.

The township has a commercial complex that provides for various everyday basic needs , such as banks/ ATM, food court, restaurants, medical centre, a department store, forex counter, travel agency, and laundry services. Mahindra World City has also partnered with JSP Hospitals to set up a multi-specialty hospital within Mahindra World City.

Hiranandani Gardens Powai

Hiranandani Gardens

The Hiranandani Groups first flagship project was the sprawling Hiranandani Gardens in Powai an integrated residential cum commercial township. Sprawled majestically over 250 acres, Hiranandani Gardens has redefined the standards of elegant living. Created from barren land, this luxuriantly green and grand township is a tangible expression of a vision to create better communities. Hiranandani Gardens, Powai is strategically located with the International Airport just 5kms away and Domestic Airport 12kms away.

The complex hosts a business park, an ICSE School managed by Hiranandani Foundation Trust, Dr L H Hiranandani Hospital, shopping complexes, food courts, hotels, and entertainment centers in lush green settings. This project is also environmentally responsible with 5 million litres of water being recycled everyday and being used for flushing water and gardening.

Palace Gardens, Oragadam

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Creation of an integrated contained township with premium residential properties and other facilities has been a major effort from HIRCO.

The Oragadam SIPCOT (State Industries Promotion Corporation of Tamil Nadu) area is one of the largest high growth manufacturing corridor for automobile companies, telecom and ancillariesA? and IT/ITeS firms. Oragadam owes its strategic advantage located between GST Highway and Bangalore Highway with established infrastructure and multi-modal connectivity.

Oragadam will become the central point of a massive industrial revolution. It is estimated that Oragadam and Sriperumbudur region will offer employment opportunities for 3,00,000 people and this would certainly have a positive demand and impact on the residential market and township amenities.

As an integrated township, it will provide the best living experience and envisages a wide choice of 1 to 4-BHK apartments suiting various socio-economic brackets.

Palace Gardens stands testimony to its world-class architecture and state-of-the-art amenities. It is the only integrated township outside Chennai and provides state of the art infrastructure with all amenities and offers a 9-hole resort golf course.

Integrated townships are the new hopes when a city is already saturated, then outward movement is a better option compared to the congested vertical growth. Palace Gardens, offer a safe, practical, healthy solution for modern living and provide an interesting counterpoint to the congestion, chaos and frantic experience of city life.

Built on Sustainable Development principles, Palace Gardens has received IGBC Gold pre-certification from the Indian Green Building Council and awards such as the Environment, Health and Safety Award from CII South.

From these developments it is evident that in the two decades of 2011-2030, India will be witnessing the growth of many integrated and self contained townships.