Sunday, February 25, 2024

Upgrade of Social Infrastructure in Suburbs: CMDA’s Plan for Swankier Living | Chennai News – Times of India

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Sangeetha from Tiruvannamalai got a job at a government facility in Avadi, but could not find a reasonably safe working women’s hostel. She had to choose a paying guest accommodation. She is but one of the many people moving into the city, primarily to the northern and western suburbs, for work and education finding it difficult to access decent social facilities — parks, playgrounds, hostels, street cafes, public halls, senior living spaces, and co-working spaces.
Some of these facilities are available in a few areas, but are below par. To solve this anomaly, CMDA has begun studying social facilities for the Chennai Metropolitan Area for inclusion in the third master plan being rolled out in 2026.

The study will assess the status of social facilities in the 1,189 sqkm of CMA, identify gaps in service coverage and make recommendations and strategies for improvement under the third master plan, said a CMDA official.
This will help form a comprehensive spatial strategy for social facility planning in CMA, and help understand if the number of social facilities is in proportion to the current population. The consultant will also look into accessibility — walkability or public transport connectivity — to schools, dispensaries, colleges, hospitals, and other facilities.
“We will check if these facilities are accessible to people with disabilities, senior citizens, and LGBTQIA+ and are gender-friendly,” said the official.
The consultant will analyse the projected demand for these facilities depending on the anticipated population growth in 2027–2046. “We’ll have to check if the present policies or regulations are suited for modern urban lifestyles including nightlife and high streets,” the official explained.
The government will use OSR and government land but will also bring in policies so that space can be allocated at the time of planning permission. The study will determine land use too, he added.
Urban planners point out that social infrastructure is crucial. “Schools and hospitals are crucial for people to choose a neighbourhood. Recreation facilities are vital for youngsters,” said an urban planner.
Urban planning expert K P Subramanian said the study should first identify the hierarchy of every sector. For example, in education, it should find out if there are enough primary schools, high schools, industrial training institutes, arts and science colleges, professional colleges, and universities.
“Similar studies may be instituted for industries, housing, water supply, and others as inputs for the third master plan,” he said.

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