Monday, Nov 24, 2014

‘DCR should also provide for facelift of existing structures’

Mumbai | Posted: January 16, 2014 6:20 am | Updated: February 6, 2014 2:56 pm

A new section in the Development Control Regulations (DCR) that solely focuses on repairs and reconstruction of existing structures in the city, instead of redevelopment, is one of the major demands put forward by stakeholders at the public consultative workshop Tuesday for the upcoming Mumbai Development Plan (DP) 2014-2034.

At the meeting, coordinated by the Urban Design Research Institute (UDRI), as part of BMC’s intiative to include public opinion in its vision plan for the next 20 years, urban planners and architects mooted regulations that incentivise such repairs. These suggestion are to encourage the preservation of the city’s existing cultural and historical fabric.

Urban designer Rupali Gupte said, “ Historically, Mumbai has generated different types of housing of incredible cultural value. Today the stress is on maximising built-up space though historically open spaces, balconies and intermediate terrace spaces have facilitated spill-outs of larger circulation in common spaces. To enhance the quality of life along with development, the new DP and DCR must not compromise on setback spaces. In fact a separate DCR that only deals with repairs, retrofitting and upgradation of existing structures (based on the same FSI) should be created to encourage people to come forward for repairs.”

Conservation architect Vikas Dilawari said, “Of the 60,000-odd cessed structures in the island city, over 5,000 are more than a century-old. The government’s various urban renewal and redevelopment schemes with bonus FSI have only encouraged redevelopment, rather than repairs of such historic buildings. This has led to the transformation of heritage precincts into ugly urban sprawls.”

He proposed that as part of the incentives for repairs, Transferred Redevelopment Rights, similar to those granted for redevelopment, must be given to owners and tenants of heritage structures.

“The heritage committee has proposed a list of incentives that include TDR for preserving heritage structures. Conserving these structures is not only a cheaper solution (as repairs per square meter cost Rs 1,000 at maximum) but also creates a stock of affordable housing in the city. Such a scheme may be an effective solution for the problems of the Rent Control Act,” Dilawari said.

Civic officials including chief engineer of the Development Plan department, Rajeev Kuknur said the suggestions will be considered while drafting the final Development Plan.

alison.saldanha@expressindia.com

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