Improving Indian Urban Planning

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IDFC Institute and CEPT University recently hosted a Conversation on “Improving Indian Urban Planning” on 17th January 2018 in Mumbai. The Conversation saw Mr. Alain Bertaud, Senior Research Scholar at the Marron Institute of Urban Management, New York University, Dr. Bimal Patel, President, CEPT University and Mr. Vidyadhar Phatak, Dean, CEPT University speak on a range on urban planning issues that affect land use in Indian cities.


The event began with presentations by the three speakers, followed by a round of discussions with the audience. The presentations focused on the inefficiencies brought on by bad regulatory policies for land use in Indian cities. Patel highlighted that city plans and regulations that are based on generic, text-based rules often result in chaotic cities. He argued for building a regulation regime, which considers the spatial realities and is area rather than plot specific. A keen eye on how regulatory rules affect outcomes is necessary for more efficient planning of cities.


Adding to Patel’s arguments, Bertaud presented the negative effects of bad building regulations in cities around the world. He suggested that urban planners tend to use regulations as a tool to detail city designs and to regulate urban densities, which in his opinion is a futile exercise. Urban densities are seldom controlled by regulatory designs and are often an outcome of market forces. Therefore, he suggested using a flexible planning regime that is resilient to demographic and economic changes in the future.


The full video of the conversation can be seen below. Visit our YouTube page to watch an interview with Alain Bertaud and Dr. Bimal Patel.



Mr. Alain Bertaud

Alain Bertaud is a Senior Research Scholar at the Marron Institute of Urban Management, New York University. Bertaud previously held the position of principal urban planner at the World Bank. After retiring from the Bank in 1999, he worked as an independent consultant. Prior to joining the World Bank, he worked as a resident urban planner in a number of cities around the world: Bangkok, San Salvador (El Salvador), Port Au Prince (Haiti), Sana’a (Yemen), New York, Paris, Tlemcen (Algeria), and Chandigarh (India). Bertaud’s research, conducted in collaboration with GIS-expert Marie-Agnès Bertaud, aims to bridge the gap between operational urban planning and urban economics. The work focuses primarily on the interaction between urban forms, real estate markets and regulations. Bertaud earned the Architecte DPLG diploma from the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris. 

 Dr. Bimal Patel

Dr. Bimal Patel is President of CEPT University, Ahmedabad. He also leads HCP, a leading architecture, planning and project management firm. He founded Environmental Planning Collaborative, a not-for-profit, planning research and advocacy organization. He received his undergraduate degree in architecture from CEPT, Ahmedabad and his graduate degrees in architecture and urban planning and a doctorate in urban planning from UC Berkeley. Over the last thirty years, Patel has crisscrossed disciplinary, professional and institutional boundaries to explore, through practice and research, how architecture, urban design and urban planning can improve and enrich India’s cities. His research interests are in land-use planning, real estate markets, building regulations, land management and urban planning history. 

Mr. Vidyadhar K. Phatak

Mr. Vidyadhar K. Phatak is the Dean, Faculty of Planning at CEPT University, Ahmedabad. He is one of the leading urban planners in the country with nearly 50 years of professional experience and has carried out projects and conducted research related to metropolitan planning, affordable housing, financing municipal development, public land, land-based fiscal tools etc. Phatak retired from Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) as its Principal Chief, Town and Country Planning Division in 2004. Since then, he has been an independent urban planning analyst and consultant. He was a Director of National Housing Bank from 2006 to 2012, post which he served as an advisor to MCGM for revision of Development Plan. Phatak has been involved in Kolkata Urban Services for the Poor (KUSP), preparing master plans of cities in Punjab, comprehensive transport study of Hyderabad, a study of land-based fiscal tools for Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) and a number of assignments with the World Bank in Dhaka, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Agartala. 


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