Mixed-use development is the new urbanism

With integrated townships becoming a reality, one can have access to an ample amount of space and opportunity to create a sustainable community, says Niranjan Hiranandani

Published - December 10, 2021 02:15 pm IST

Photo: T. Vijaya Kumar

Photo: T. Vijaya Kumar

In the last few decades, cities have grown haphazardly resulting in congestion. Lack of infrastructure, increase in traffic and travel time have created discomfort among people. The incapability of addressing the essential needs of citizens by providing quality living spaces has been a major setback. Over many years, certain mixed-use developments have come up in various cities in the form of townships. Townships have the capability to provide quality of life, good socio-civic infrastructure, and holistic community living — all within close proximity.

This particular style of urban planning includes a versatile set of structures-all assembled in one single space. Mixed-use integrated townships are the ‘new-age construction’ that includes a combination of residential, commercial, housing, office, retail, medical, recreational, commercial, and/or industrial components. It provides a developed city area where both trading and residential can co-exist. Developers should consider this new form of construction in a big way to promote a healthy and well-balanced lifestyle.

Keeping in view such concepts of progression, the Indian government has initiated policies for the ease of doing things. In 2005, the Government of India announced an integrated township policy with three categories of mixed-use development projects. They are small-scale development (5-10 acres), medium-scale development (20-50 acres) and large-scale development (100+ acres). As cities are getting dense and congested we will see a trend of large scale development taking place in extended suburbs known as ‘downtowns’. This rise of suburban cities will redefine new cityscapes of the future.

The development of new micro-markets will be a huge boon for the upcoming regions to witness progress and growth. A slew of infrastructure growth will majorly transform these sleepy towns and transportation corridors into thriving economic hubs. Such futuristic ‘integrated cityscapes’ will accelerate the economic development of the nation.

Sustainable design

One of the limitations of a stand-alone building is that it offers little scope to imbibe sustainable measures into one’s lifestyle. With such integrated townships coming into reality, one can have access to an ample amount of space and opportunity to create a sustainable community. Recycling of water and sewage, well-built parks, green and open spaces, tree line boulevards will upgrade the lifestyles of the future.


Such ‘integrated cities’ will create a diversified portfolio of consumers with a mix of different income people. This will bring in the flavour of community building with a sense of shared togetherness. Urban dwellers will be able to relish the range of products suiting one’s needs.

Community living

A 24x7 community living concept will be shaped to offer a vibrant social fabric to such townships. Quick access to branded education, healthcare, high-street retail, and entertainment will improve the citizen’s standard of living. Assembled at a one-stop destination, the social network will flourish uprightly to meet the demands of quick accessibility.

A content lifestyle

‘Walk to work’ concepts will bring in a huge relief to people who will be able to enjoy the benefits of close proximity to workspaces. This will, in turn, elevate the quality of lifestyle of the people who can savour the benefits of work-life balance. The commercial development within such townships will reduce the commute time and carbon emissions leading towards a sustainable way of life.

Risk mitigation

Integrated mixed-use development has a lesser rate of risk mitigation as it witnesses a substantial amount of price admiration over the years due to the overall growth of the region.

Certain barriers that have to be overcome in order to create such spectacular future projects will have the required coordination from both the government and the industry working together.

Acquisition of land tracts

Foregathering a litigation-free contagious tract of huge land parcels is a major challenge. Hence, the Industry recommends introducing corrective measures with innovative policy reforms and technology integration to digitise the land record. It makes it a hassle-free acquisition with more transparency and accountability.

Long-term planning

Conceptualising and planning large-scale developments is a daunting task. The change in government policies and coining it correctly with the ongoing market cycles is quite a challenge. The successful implementation of such megaprojects requires qualitative market research, consumer trends insights, single window clearance for quick government approvals, skilled manpower and labour, and meticulous master planners.

Fund sourcing

Land acquisition is known to be a costly affair. Mixed-use real estate developments demand comprehensive and complex funding for the viability and feasibility of such a long-term project as construction financing models vary as per the land use.

Industry reiterates its long-pending demand to grant industry status which makes them eligible for cheap long-term funding. Real estate is the second-largest employment and GDP growth contributing sector with a multiplier effect on 270 allied industries.

Cheap lending will enable the real estate sector to improve the affordability quotient of shelter — the primary need of each citizen.


The countless paperwork is a crucial challenge in the industry. Adopting blockchain technology will digitise the land acquisition process, making it a seamless process. A hassle-free and time-bound order of doing business will accelerate greater development activity.

The future of urbanisation is mixed-use township development in the extended suburbs of cities. This has been a successful global phenomenon and India will scale up to global par excellence. The industry and government further need to collaborate to fuel growth of future sustainable greenfield developments. The emergence of new economic corridors will foster manifold GDP growth and employment.

The writer is National Vice-Chairman, NAREDCO, and MD, Hiranandani Group.

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