The former Chief Town Planner A. Kasturi Rangan says that “first of all, we should be happy that the authorities have finally woken up to the need for a fresh master plan” for the city.
“The present plan of 1971 has become outdated. Having said that, the draft plan prepared by the City Corporation and the Department of Town and Country planning for the next 20 years needs a lot of fine-tuning,” he says.
As the draft plan points out, he says, the city is going to witness heavy development, putting additional strain on the land-use pattern and the housing and transport sectors. The master plan, a comprehensive guide for future development, should specify the land-use pattern for each zone. The current draft fails to address this issue, he says.
The land-use pattern should be specified for enabling the development of roads, parking and commercial activities.
Sridhar R. of Thanal says, “The scope of a master plan should not be limited to making the city a concrete jungle. In fact, the consultation meeting organised by the City Corporation saw elected representatives, residents and environmental activists raising objections against converting the city into a jungle of cement structures.”
The draft plan has ignored one of the most worrying concerns of a planner anywhere in the globe now — that is climate change. How climate-resilient is our draft plan, especially given the fact that the water table is going down, water resources are getting polluted and worst, the ‘average hot days’ are going up? The plan should incorporate a massive greening programme in the four development zones, covering every possible residential and public place.
Mr. Sridhar says planners should keep in mind what the renowned architect and planner Charles Correa said of Thiruvananthapuram — “Do not let your city grow above the coconut tree.”