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BMC allows terrace access to all building lifts

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The Times of India      21.11.2017  

BMC allows terrace access to all building lifts

MUMBAI: In a first, the BMC has approved a provision to allow lifts to travel right till the common terrace areas of all buildings, in an attempt to improve accessibility for the elderly and differently abled.

According to the BMC's development control regulations (DCR), the lift is an alternate means of vertical access in addition to a staircase. The civic body's building proposal (BP) department had initiated a proposal for allowing lifts till the terrace areas of buildings earlier this month.

The proposal states that the provision is needed for optimal use of terraces as an additional recreational area. Currently, the common terrace of any building can only be accessed by a staircase as there was no clear-cut provision regarding accessibility of common terraces above the top-most floor by lift. While the DCR 1991 did not have such a provision, the draft DCR 2034, which is currently undergoing revisions, has provided for making common terraces available by staircases as well as lifts. It also states that common terraces could be used for an additional recreational green area over and above the mandatory layout open space requirement.

Civic officials said the need for such a provision arose because of increasing demand from newer projects in the past few years. "However, in case of existing buildings, prior certification regarding a building's structural stability must be submitted. The society must also ensure security of premises once a lift is allowed to travel right till the terrace," said an official, adding that external lifts till the terrace area will be permitted too.

Municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta said while lifts will be allowed to reach the terrace, no construction will be allowed on it.

"A lot of people these days have taken an interest in rooftop gardens. We are allowing this provision to enable them to reach there easily."

Activist Neenu Kewlani, who uses a wheelchair, called it a wonderful decision.
 

Corpn wards happy with State’s development promise

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The Hindu       25.09.2017  

Corpn wards happy with State’s development promise

An interim order to be in place till a new plan comes about

For the residents of around 50 wards in the Corporation area, the State government’s notification of the Interim Development Order (IDO) in the city Corporation two days ago, has come as a relief.

Ever since the freezing of the previous Draft Master Plan three years ago, residents in several wards have been facing issues to get their building permits approved. When the draft master plan 2013 was scrapped due to opposition from residents, close to 50 wards, which were added to the Corporation in recent years, ended up without a sanctioned master plan.

Core areas

Only the core areas of the city comes under the previous sanctioned master plan, prepared in 1971. Without an Interim Development Order in place, building permit applications in such areas that came near green strips had to be forwarded from the Corporation to the Regional Town Planner. There have been quite a few rejections in this period. In the IDO, residential buildings till 300 square metres are allowed in plots of area between 3 and 10 cents. In the case of plots of area between 10 and 25 cents, residential buildings till 400 square metres are allowed. All other construction purposes are limited to 200 square metres.

But, former Additional Chief Town Planner Jacob Easow who prepared the Master Plan of 2013, has criticised the delay in issuing the Interim Development Order. “The first master plan was prepared for period 1966 to 1986. Even though the second master plan was prepared and later published in 1994, it was not sanctioned by the State government. After 19 years, the third master plan (draft) was prepared and published in 2013, but it was scrapped due to several objections. Now an Interim Development Order(IDO) has been released. This could have been done in 2013 or 2014 itself. Why did we waste all this time in issuing the IDO?” he asks. However, Corporation officials say that the IDO could not have been initiated until the preparation of the new Master Plan had officially begun.

New master plan

“The process to prepare the new Master Plan began only earlier this year. So, IDO could be notified only after that,” said the official.

The IDO will be in force until the approval of the new Master Plan.

Though December was the earlier deadline for the Master Plan, it is expected to take at least an year more, going by its current pace.

The IDO could have been released in 2013 or 2014 itself. Why did we waste all this time in issuing it?

Jacob Easow

Former Additional Chief Town Planner

 

Striking a balance between heritage conservation and urbanisation

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The Hindu         20.07.2017 

Striking a balance between heritage conservation and urbanisation

Preserving history:The Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (above) runs the Capacity Development Programme in Built Heritage Studies and Conservation.File Photo  

Experts discuss how to create more space for people and vehicles in the city without ruining the special character of a place

In an era where the pace of the city’s development seems to speed up every year, and each new government policy spells out a vision for Mumbai as a ‘smart’ city of the future, what is the impact of this rapid urbanisation on the city’s heritage structures?

A panel discussion on July 18, organised jointly by the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, Mumbai Metropolitan Region Heritage Conservation Society and the Sir JJ College of Architecture, took up this vital discussion. The event was organised as part of the convocation ceremony of the Capacity Development Programme in Built Heritage Studies and Conservation run by the CSMVS and was moderated by Professor Mustansir Dalvi of JJ School of Architecture. The speakers on the panel were D.M. Sukthankar, former chief secretary to the government of Maharashtra and former head of the of Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee (MHCC); and Shirish Patel, Chairman Emeritus of Shirish Patel and Associates.

Opening the discussion Mr. Dalvi said that the city has seen so much development that has taken place as a top down imposition on an already existing older city that has substantial built up material. He said that we should consider what is the manner of change that we want to see in a historic city like Mumbai and to what extent ideas of a newer city can be superimposed on one that is already existing.

“Do we look at Mumbai as a historic city or do we look at it only as a future city or smart city?” he asked. “If we accept that conservation is important then we also have to consider what is the built material that is important to us,” he added. Mr. Dalvi argued that while efforts have been taken to preserve colonial architecture in the city, more should also be done to preserve 20th century buildings that were built not only by the British but also by the locals.

Mr. Sukthankar recalled his time heading the MHCC when it was first set up under the 1991 Development Control Regulations. Prior to these regulations being enacted, he said there was a lot of debate on how the the city should conserve the structures and buildings that lent it a special identity. Development, he said, brings pressure on land use and old structures get reconstructed to accommodate more people and more amenities. While this process is inherent, he said it cannot be wholly allowed to obliterate cultural and natural heritage.

Mumbai, he said, does not have a lot of historical monuments like other cities but in his time with the MHCC, there were debates about preserving other structures like the chawls that were built to house workers and later came to accommodate families. These, he said, reflected the special character of the city, it’s communities and it’s way of life. At the same time, he said there had to be a balance and not every structure could be classified as a heritage one. He pointed that in many old neighbourhoods and locales in Mumbai there was always likely to be a debate every time there was a plan to widen roads or to create more space for people to park their vehicles that such plans may come at the cost of ruining the special character of that place. “How do we create a balance between these aspects?” he asked.

Mr. Patel, who was also a member of the MHCC from 1996 to 1999, pointed to the fact that regional plans for the city do not do a proper identification of heritage sites. “The first thing we have to do is map heritage sites and then it is important to see who is doing the mapping. Heritage cannot be an elite selection and when we look at the region as a whole the mapping should be done by asking everyone what they feel is important to preserve,” he said.

Use value, exchange value

With cultural artefacts, as with land, he said, there is both a use value and an exchange value. Political leadership, he said, is often more concerned with the exchange value and the people who are concerned with use value, that is the cultural value of these sites, are often not as organised and not as persistent. “We need to recognise that we need to organise better and we have to make more and more people aware of our cultural history and what needs to be preserved,” he said.

More should be done to preserve 20th century buildings

Mustansir Dalvi

Professor, JJ School of Architecture

 
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