New Delhi: The development of Charoli, one of Pune's hottest real estate growth areas, is now underway at a rapid pace and urban planners are asking whether it will turn into yet another densely-packed suburb of Pune. This is a valid concern - Pune has displayed a definite pattern of the urban sprawl extending relentlessly into new growth corridors. Let us examine this phenomenon in some detail.
It is a common misconception that the worst of a city's urban sprawl happens towards the centre. Locations in the city centre tend to have the highest property valuations; this factor actually prevents the formation of low-cost housing in serious volumes. While every city has its slums and tenement areas, these developments tend to be unregularized and are always threatened by new development plans aimed at creating a more rational urban pattern.
The fact is that the worst of a city's urban sprawl - the kind that is comprised of smaller and often not entirely legitimate housing construction - tends to densify in areas with lower land valuations. Such areas attract developers from the unorganized segment who are on the lookout for small, cheap land parcels. The kind of projects that come up on such land parcels tend to be extremely small, often consisting of 30 flats or less.
These projects tend to be of inferior construction quality, and they offer next to no amenities to their inhabitants. Nevertheless, the low property rates attract buyers from the lower income segment and the next suburban nightmare is born. The social profile that pioneers the inhabitation of such an area tends to remain as the common denominator that will define it in the future, as well.
Fortunately, Charoli is not subject to this unwholesome pattern of development. This brand-new location on Pune's real estate map is attracting property investors because its development has been spearheaded by the arrival of a 400-acre integrated township designed for the highest standards of urban living.
In the Indian context, integrated townships are more than just a viable alternative to cramped inner-city living. Their arrival has a positive effect on the entire area's future profiling. In the first place, they bring with them a high degree of internal and external infrastructure. Developers of such projects ensure that the location is well-connected to key areas of the city, are self-sufficient in terms of water and electricity supply and offer all the conveniences of modern life.
Property rates integrated townships tend to be very attractive during the initial stages of construction, since developers of such projects are focused on achieving a minimum inhabitation quotient. However, as the development of the project progresses, land valuations in the area rise rapidly due to the overall profile it is given by such a high-standard development. This makes the acquisition of small land parcels for one-off development unattractive to smaller developers, and thereby sets the tone for a healthy pattern of urbanization.
Charoli is a select location that will benefit from this positive influence of integrated townships on Pune's urban and social fabric. With this effect already well-established by a number of noteworthy township developments, Pune is about to receive an advanced lifestyle and lucrative property investment location that has set itself apart from the rest from the very outset.
(Arvind Jain is the Managing Director of Pride Group)