The second phase development helps decide on the shape, form and quantum of land to be developed

A walk along the Marine Drive is like a walk along paths of history. As Kuldeep Singh, architect and urban planning consultant who has a long association with the city, remembers it, development of the present Marine Drive launched the city’s march towards modernity.

Presenting the concept about the second phase development of the Marine Drive at the Vision 2030 seminar organised by the Greater Cochin Development Authority, Mr. Singh said the completion of first phase of Marine Drive out of a stretch of largely neglected waterfront has given the city a sense of identity.

During the first phase, there was no control over the alignment as it was a narrow linear stretch of land being developed. However, the second phase gives the option of deciding on the shape, form and quantum of land to be developed, he said.

Also, the second phase development is different from the first one as the restriction over heights of buildings due to the presence of the Naval airport is no longer there. These new avenues of freedom marked the design that Mr. Singh presented at the seminar, which is now awaiting Environmental Impact Assessment and other technical feasibility studies.

The presentation made by Mr. Singh gave three alternatives for extending the present Marine Drive walkway up to Thanthonni Thuruthu. While the first two designs worked more or less on the existing landscape with a little bit of reclamation, the third proposal deviated markedly.

It suggested creating five islands off the Marine Drive, which could be developed through Public Private Partnership while the Authority retained the ownership of them, and then constructing the walkway and drive connecting these islands.

The new phase gives accent to the environmental causes as it proposes to minimise reclamation of land, minimise disturbance of marine life, generate solar and wind energy, minimise land fill, maximise openness on both land and water, minimise obstacles to the flow of water and maximise water front, Mr. Singh said.

For a city with so much water front, the potential of life on water has not been explored at all, he observed. The new phase of Marine Drive includes scope for that and aims to give stress to yachting and boating along with promoting pleasure drive.

The new concept also advocates a green technology with extensive use of green material for construction, recycling of sewage and waste water and employing technologically-advanced and environmentally-balanced construction techniques.

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