Once a modest suburb with jumbled mud lanes, Bannerghatta is now witnessing more development than it can handle

“Earlier, Bannerghatta Road was a small, rural road connecting the national park to the city and the area saw no significant development for a long time. Today, even though it has many more facilities, it has also become very congested,” says Gopal Naik, exemplifying the conundrum that is urban development.

Haphazard development

Gopal, who is a professor at the Centre for Public Policy and Chairperson of the Centre for Excellence of Urban Development at IIM-Bangalore, moved to the campus 10 years ago. Back then, people dreaded to visit the campus during the monsoon because of the muddy approach road, he says. Though roads have been laid and the neighbourhood is fast changing character, development has not taken into account certain issues such as the need for road widening at a later stage.

‘No foresight'

“There is hardly any urban planning in this stretch of the city. Around five years ago, a small stretch of road up to Meenakshi temple was upgraded and around the same time several malls and apartments started sprouting, leading to traffic congestions.” He adds that the roads in most areas like Arikere Gate, Panduranganagar, Gottigere and Hulimavu are very narrow.

The clutch of huge apartment complexes that have mushroomed in the neighbourhood may be well-planned, following prescribed norms such as compulsory open areas. However, he says, there are hardly any norms on how to connect these apartments to the main road.

The road, which is home to upcoming malls, industries like textile units, BPOs and IT companies, also has traffic coming in from the NICE Road. As a result of this haphazard development, he says, “The arterial road is always busy and congested and the authorities have not planned ahead and looked into what kind of road infrastructure is required to support the development in the area.” Since Bannerghatta is en route to the national park which is a tourist magnet, connectivity via public transport, he says, has seen improvement. “But since there are no proper bus bays on Bannerghatta Road, the buses end up stopping on the road, leading to further holding up of traffic.”

Merits of zoning

This pattern of development leads to a question about zoning regulations and the merits and demerits of mixed land use versus distinguishing geographic zones for usage. To that, he says that if one is able to plan well, we can separate the residential areas from the work areas and improve connectivity. “However, unless everything is nearby, travelling becomes a hassle here. Hence, people prefer living near their work place.” Newer layouts like HSR Layout, he says, are very well-planned.

With a keen interest in development issues, both in urban and rural areas, he focuses on planning projects in districts. “We are trying to design a common service centre at the gram panchayat level to render IT and ITeS services in Gubbi taluk of Tumkur district.”

Keywords: urban planning