Given the burgeoning population in Tier 1 cities, the development of residential and commercial opportunities in the vicinity of the transport corridors is essential to encourage walk-to-work and combat acute vehicular traffic that these cities are confronting. Precisely, the Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) is the phenomenon that development agencies should emphasise.
While the rapid and uncontrolled expansion of Tier 1 cities has increased the travel time and distance between the central locations and the suburbs, the public transport infrastructure remains largely underdeveloped. This has resulted in heavy congestion, pollution and increased dependence on private vehicles. The situation is further aggravated by our conventional notions that consider infrastructure expansion, such as road widening, a symbol of development. In this respect, the Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) suggests an alternate way of looking at urban development. By integrating land use with transport systems, the TOD not only increases the efficiency of urban mobility but also provides a better lifestyle to the urban residents.
As the term suggests, TOD refers to the development that is concentrated around major transport hubs. It offers multiple social, economic and environmental benefits to the city and its residents. First and foremost, the organised development prevents uncontrolled urban sprawls, thereby increasing the efficiency of land utilisation in the cities. It also minimises travel time and distance, which is pertinent for cities like Delhi and Mumbai, where people spend a long time commuting.
Targeting these set of challenges, the proposed redevelopment of ‘Staff Housing in Azadpur’ in Delhi is envisioned to establish a synergy between the transport nodes and the development around by making them co-dependent. The project is a part of the redevelopment scheme proposed within the intense transit zone. Owing to its proximity to major transport infrastructure, such as the overhead Azadpur metro stations, the GT road in the front, and an upcoming underground metro link, the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) has identified 25 acres of land parcel to create high-density development around by utilising higher Floor Area Ratio (FAR). The proposed built-up has been distributed in accordance with the bye-laws of the city. For instance, 20 percent area has been set aside for commercial development, 10 percent has been earmarked for social infrastructure, while the remaining 70 percent is for residential development.
The high-density development around transport infrastructure supports the large passenger flow that often comes with these developments. Therefore, the TOD has become the need of the hour because people are increasingly looking for an integrated development that brings together places of work, play, commerce and living in a consolidated area. Azadpur achieves this balance by creating 19 residential towers nestled amidst large tracts of green spaces and two commercial buildings hosting facilities across the diverse verticals of retail, entertainment, banqueting, corporate offices, and community spaces that serve the local population as well as attract international companies. This eclectic mix increases affordability for the homeowners and turns the zone into a social centre for the city.