Integrated township projects are gathering momentum in India. Today, country’s growing young and affluent working population is exploring lifestyle options like, swimming pools, clubs, healthcare facility, landscaped gardens, shopping, school and 24 hours security within residential complex. In response, the township development not only provides high-quality affordable housing for home buyers but at the same time attempts to promote walk-to-work concept.
The term integrated itself explains its concept of providing the essentials required to lead a life within accessibility. These self-contained townships can feature amenities like schools, hospitals, parks, leisure facilities, hotels, and retail outlets for domestic and international brands, supermarkets, restaurants and cafés to name a few. Due, to the huge demand and the economies of scale, an integrated township is able to offer all these amenities that too at a relatively low and affordable price.
Moreover, today all major cities are looking at expanding the boundaries of their urban sprawl. The integrated townships mostly located at city’s peripheries help ease the mounting pressure of urbanization and lack of urban density in tier-I and metropolitan cities. Also, tier-I cities face shortage of land for residential purpose on one hand and soaring real estate prices on the other. For example, in Mumbai the boundaries for residential places are extending towards Thane and beyond in the central suburbs and towards Virar in the Western suburbs. The integrated townships planned in these areas by developers provide a respite to the flat buyers looking for a convenient and upscale living space.
The concept of walk to work is picking up among city dwellers and home buyers are looking for a complete living experience. Thus, integrated township is becoming the format of the future residential development. Sadly, development of these projects is fraught with problems like acquisition of land and acquiring approvals from different state departments like forests, environment, power, water and planning.
Percy. S Chowdhry
However, there are a lot of challenges that a developer faces while building a township. To begin with, there is huge land acquisition cost that has to be borne by the builder as a township requires several acres of land. Also, the gestation period in such projects is very long as construction happens in various phases. So, from a realty developer point of view it means longer duration to recover costs. Also, procedural delays severely cripple such a project which adds to the cost for the developer. So, it is a myth that townships are a low risk model for the developers. For instance, in a city like Mumbai, land acquisition is a huge impediment and such integrated townships require a large and conveniently located stretch of land in order to provide the holistic facilities. Another major issue that holds up such development projects is that of approval delays. High capital investment though poses a challenge in the beginning for a developer, does pay off in the end.
Evidently, integrated townships can aid in creating affordable housing as well as infrastructural development. Steps like easy land due diligence, financial incentives and faster clearances from authorities will go a long way in promoting integrated township projects across country making it a win-win situation for all stakeholders.