New Delhi: Rapid urbanization has thrown up many complicated challenges for home owners as well as city planners. While most of the debate tends to revolve around how to improve living conditions in the core urban areas, real estate developers in many cities like Pune, Mumbai and Bangalore are now coming up with an entirely new solution – the creation of entirely new satellite mega-cities.
These satellite cities, which are based on the integrated township model but on a much larger scale, offer urban dwellers the possibility of living in an environment of tailored infrastructure and with a vastly increased comfort and convenience quotient.
The recently launched Pride World City in Pune's new suburb of Charholi is one of the most prominent examples of how home buyers as well as businesses can derive all the advantages of the main city without having to face the associated challenges.
What is a satellite city?
A satellite city is a novel concept of urbanization - a huge planned, fully incorporated, function-built new precinct near a bigger city. Satellite cities serve a larger purpose than merely offering citizens a completely new residential deal – because of their size and scope, which encompasses everything required to make a new urban area work, they also provide a brand new direction into which the parent city can expand and be populated.
When a satellite city takes the shape of a mega-township, the new precinct thus formed performs all the functions of the larger city – it offers residential spaces, commercial spaces and retail establishments. However, unlike in the primary city, all this development takes place in an environment wherein infrastructure is controlled by the township developer rather than being at the mercy of multiple municipal agencies.
Mega-townships acting as new satellite cities are highly organized and to a very large extent self-contained. Though they maintain all vital linkages with the parent city, they are enclosed and controlled within their own perimeters.
Benefits of satellite cities
Mega townships conceived and developed as satellite cities rather than just large mixed-use real estate developments significantly boost the local economy. Not only do they create a new lifestyle for residents, but also give rise to completely new business catchments for a city.
These catchments offer businesses everything that they cannot get in the inner city – tailor-made commercial spaces created to provide employees with a significantly improved working environment, sufficient parking for everyone, assured electricity and other vital amenities, and superlative connectivity to other key business locations in the parent city.
Highly investment-conducive real estate profile
Investment properties in satellite city-scaled mega townships offer several attractive advantages:
• Focused Appreciation Drivers
The most important drivers for investment real estate are proximity to workplaces and supportive social and civic infrastructure. In large cities, not every property investment works consistently well because the availability of these demand drivers are scattered and diffused over a large, unplanned terrain. However, in a mega township working as a self-contained satellite city, these demand drivers are available in every property invested into, because of the advanced urban planning concepts that define these townships.
• High Aspirational Quotients
As inner city areas become more densely developed and populated, there is a natural tendency for outward migration by people who cannot take the stress, pollution and inconveniences any longer. These people naturally gravitate towards areas and projects that offer them the relief they seek, and mega townships are the first port of call. As such, demand from end users – and therefore the appreciation of investment properties – is assured.
• The Infrastructure Factor
Transport infrastructure is one of the major challenges that eventually affect all major cities. The movement of an ever-increasing number of people in vehicles traveling to and from the same locations where they work in the same city will always take its toll in the long run. Satellite cities which are located in close vicinity to the traditional residential and commercial areas do not only provide their own business / employment catchments along with independent transport infrastructure, they also serve the purpose of reducing the transit strain on the parent city.
• Superior Lifestyle
Another result of rapid urbanization is that more and more people are accessing the city's limited facilities such as hospitals, schools, shopping centres and entertainment zones. This is the outcome of too many homeowners looking to set up their households in inner city locations. This creates a sad and serious paradox, caused by misleading real estate marketing based on the concept of ‘central location', which is a standard practice among developers.
The fact is that when a too many home buyers take the bait of ‘central location', the result is that these very same central locations eventually become incapable of supporting and providing the desired lifestyle.
It is only in satellite cities developed along advanced planned urbanization guidelines that the desired lifestyle quotient is available. In these mega townships, residents are no longer dependent on the shopping complexes, offices, entertainment, education and healthcare facilities of the crowded inner city – all these are provided independently in the new satellite city.
• Enhanced Security
Security is a major concern in highly urbanized cities. It is not easy to control the security of a major city where police forces and related security agencies are faced with a constantly increasing population. Unorganized development creates more and more blind pockets and slum-like areas that are difficult and often impossible to completely monitor.
In such a scenario, mega townships represent havens of safety for their residents. The fully centralized, highly integrated, multi-level security deployed over the controlled perimeter of such a satellite city ensures that there are no safety loopholes to endanger residents and businesses operating within.
• Environmental Integrity
Increasing environmental awareness has created a massive demand for homes in sustainable buildings and neighbourhoods. One of the most serious outcomes of unregulated development in highly urbanized areas is environmental degradation. This can be brought about by a variety of factors such as excessive saturation of fuel-burning private and public transport vehicles, poor waste management, consumption of all available space for construction, lack of irrigation water for the few green pockets that remain, and the presence of too many high-voltage electricity grids and power stations.
In a satellite city, the population and the resources to support them are at all times controlled and scientifically balanced. This allows mega township developers to offer an environmentally sustainable and responsive environment in which the ill effects of transport, production, habitation and real estate development are not allowed to overrun and overpower the innate natural balance of the location. The result is better utilization of resources such as water and electricity, vastly superior air quality and significantly reduces environmental impact.
(Arvind Jain is MD of Pride Group)