How transit accommodation can help redevelopment projects

[] Very little credit is given to an effective transition in redevelopment projects

In cities like Mumbai, infrastructure cannot be neglected. With close to 16,000 ancient and decaying structures in the city that were constructed before 1950 and have outlived their useful lives, redevelopment has undoubtedly become as critical as new construction.

You are reading: How transit accommodation can help redevelopment projects

Fuelling new hope among residents of dilapidated structures and bringing in possibilities of holistic upliftment with better amenities, the overall viewpoint towards cluster-based redevelopment has also seen a shift. While it is a viable choice for home owners, redevelopment comes with its own set of regulations and compliances – right from the paperwork, to approvals of various stakeholders, including local governments, municipal corporations, environment and forest department, city planning committee, the central government in case of larger cluster developments, and tenants of course. The complexity of redevelopment, especially clusters, also come with the challenges related to timelines that are often affected due to various reasons – for example, change in local government, health and safety concerns like the pandemic, etc. In such cases, it becomes important to consistently reinstate faith among every resident, who has agreed upon the project. While a lot is always discussed in the process of redevelopment and the master plan, one pivotal aspect that plays a role in sustaining public faith across the phases of every redevelopment project, is often missed – the transit accommodation.

Very little credit is given to an effective transition and the lasting impact it has on the people that are a part of the project. Transitioning out of their permanent homes to temporary abodes that we refer to as transit facilities, for periods as long as 10-15 years and in some cases, even more, people seek comfort, reliability and trust. Similarly, commercial tenants want to be assured of continued business, retained customer base and better location. Although temporary, these transit facilities become an everyday ecosystem for residents and shop owners alike. This phase of transition is even more crucial when it comes to cluster redevelopments, given that you are not moving individuals but an entire community that co-existed in a certain shared lifestyle. 

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Transit accommodation in the case of residences

Often, we come across cases where transit facilities are substandard, similar to their old dying structures and considerably far from the actual locality of the redevelopment project. This makes the transition difficult, expensive and tiring for people, who may also feel disconnected from the community at large. Left with no choice, they either continue to live there or opt for rent from the builder, eventually in doubt of the project efficiency. The truth is, when residents are relocated closer to their original homes, they are better assured, as they can see the construction taking shape. It is also important to understand that the people opting for redevelopment also look forward to safer homes.

An example right in the heart of Mumbai is one of Asia’s largest cluster redevelopment projects giving a facelift to the famous area of Bhendi Bazaar. The project has been undertaken by the Dawoodi Bohra’s Saifee Burhani Upliftment Trust to uplift the lives of the people living in the old and dilapidated structures in Bhendi Bazaar. The Trust has provided residential transit facilities to all the tenants while the redevelopment work is underway. These transit homes are equipped with amenities that provide comfort and a healthy living environment to tenants during their transition process. So much so that even the maintenance, electricity, parking and other such facilities are taken care of by the Trust, until their new homes in Bhendi Bazaar are ready.

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Commercial shops: Another critical part of a futuristic ecosystem

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While residents are better placed to opt for a rental of their choice or move to a transit facility that may or may not be far away from their current locality, commercial shops face the risk of impact to businesses that have been built over the years. Apart from having to move their business and related aspects, the bigger fear is that of losing their customer base, thereby, making the needs of the commercial tenants different from the residential tenants. In spite of the difference in needs of the two categories of tenants being fairly established, we often see them clubbed in singular projects instead of being offered tailored possibilities.

As the sole purpose of redevelopment is the hope for a better tomorrow, the same cannot be achieved by eliminating the opportunities of today. Creating collective solutions that safeguard the interest of small and big businesses in the vicinity, will not only help gain the support of the economic value creators but also inspire new ideas that help open the business community to the larger city. For an area known for its street shopping experience, an on-site transit facility is built by SBUT in Bhendi Bazaar to keep the shops within the project premise, while also supporting businesses to retain their existing customer base. These tenant-centric approaches not only help to safeguard their needs and requirements but also go a long way in building trust and faith in the redevelopment projects.

As every redevelopment project is a hope for a better tomorrow, transit facilities are the stepping stones in achieving a shared vision. While it may seem to be just another pit stop towards the completion of the project, the type of transit provided can make or break the trust in the project and therefore, its success. Hence, it is crucial to understand that each project is unique with its own set of requirements that need to be addressed with the progression of the project and the type of transit facilities that need to be curated should be specific to the needs of the tenants. 

(The writer is civil engineer and a senior member at Saifee Burhani Upliftment Trust)

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Category: Lifestyle

Debora Berti

Università degli Studi di Firenze, IT

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