The Future of Urban Living – The Sustainable Communities of Tomorrow

By – Akash Pharande, Managing Director – Pharande Spaces

Akash Pharande, Managing Director - Pharande Spaces

I travel a lot to understand how different countries address their urban sprawl because we use such insights to design integrated townships here in India. In fact, one result of these travels was our partnering with a globally acclaimed architect who helped us recreate a global residential experience in India.

However, my main takeaway from this globetrotting has been far less positive – the alarming rate at which rampant urbanization is challenging even the most glamorous world cities.

As cities’ populations overflow, traditional urban infrastructure groans and often crumbles under the strain of housing demands. Did you think that overcrowding and declining living standards are the order of the day only in India? Far from it – it is a global phenomenon.

The Global Scenario

In the thronged streets of New York, Tokyo, and Hong Kong – and even in Berlin, Hamburg, and Stockholm – urban sprawl running wild is in evidence everywhere. In India, we have accepted congestion, pollution, and stressed infrastructure, but be aware that very few countries are exempt from them anymore.

Across the world from Asia to Europe to North America, local governments and expert city planners are implementing the only viable solution. You guessed it – integrated townships.

In Singapore and the United Arab Emirates, self-sufficient, self-contained integrated projects have in fact been at the forefront of urban planning for many decades. Singapore, in particular, is famous for master-planned communities such as Punggol and Tampines, which integrate residential, commercial, and recreational facilities to create vibrant and self-sustaining neighborhoods.

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In the UAE, integrated developments like Dubai Marina and Masdar City deliver comprehensive living and working environments for residents. In Europe, Sweden and the Netherlands have embraced the concept of integrated townships to promote sustainable urban development.

Stockholm and Amsterdam have pioneered eco-friendly neighbourhoods that prioritize walking, cycling, and public transportation while incorporating green spaces and mixed-use developments.

In North America, integrated townships have gained traction in response to urban sprawl and the growing trend for more walkable and inclusive communities. Vancouver in Canada and Portland in the United States have implemented policies to encourage mixed-use development and compact urban forms.

This approach has given rise to highly integrated neighborhoods that provide everything their residents will ever need – living spaces, offices to work in, as well as shopping malls and recreational amenities.

Integrated Living – No Alternatives

If this sounds like a marketing prospectus for a modern integrated township in India, it’s because while we certainly haven’t pioneered the concept, we have certainly caught on to it big time. And for good reasons.

A report by international property consultants JLL India entitled ‘Livability quotient – a paradigm shift in India’s emerging cities’ puts it very aptly – “A balanced lifestyle contributes highly to the livability quotient of a city or township,” it states. “Amenities for leisure and recreation such as sports facilities, gymnasiums, clubhouses, malls and shopping streets are considered lifestyle amenities and are much appreciated by users.”

“Townships managed by private developers have an advantage over cities managed by local governments. The high level of interaction that happens between a township developer and customers naturally enables a focused delivery of services.”

I guess there’s no better way of putting it. As our larger cities draw more and more inward migration because of their employment prospects, we certainly need better solutions to house everyone. India’s growing upper-level middle class expects to find housing that multi-tasks and delivers on their lifestyle preferences.

What better solution for this than integrated mixed-use developments where they can seamlessly transition between living, working, and leisure activities without enduring long commutes?

As the successful eco-cities of Scandinavia and the master-planned communities of Singapore and the UAE demonstrate, integrated townships are a concept whose time has come – and is, in fact, by now an imperative in India.

intergrated township

A Long Way to Go

As Anarock Property Consultants put it, the growing demand for integrated townships in India has risen even more in the wake of changing housing preferences post-pandemic. However, despite the increased interest, integrated townships still represent only a fraction of the total housing supply in India. Since 2010, only about 2% of all housing projects in the top seven cities fell in this category,

Clearly, we are missing something important here.

India is a nation at a crossroads in its urbanization journey. Rapid population growth, rural-urban migration, and fragmented urban planning have spawned a host of challenges, from sprawling urban sprawl to choked traffic arteries and polluted air. The need for holistic urban planning has never been more pressing.

Integrated townships offer hope amidst this urban chaos. With the government’s ambitious plans to create smart cities and revitalize urban infrastructure in a country where land scarcity, fragmented development, and outdated infrastructure are the norm, there is quite simply no other solution.

Without integrated townships, the status quo in India is frankly unsustainable. With every passing year, our trajectory of urbanization is spiraling further out of control – with far-reaching consequences on our society, our environment, and our economy.

Beyond just bricks and mortar, integrated townships also serve as catalysts for economic growth and building strong, wholesome and supportive communities. They provide local employment opportunities, reduce dependence on city centers, offer higher returns on investment, and provide a holistic solution to the many challenges we face in our cities.

About the Author:

Akash Pharande is Managing Director – Pharande Spaces, a leading real estate construction and development firm famous for its township projects in West Pune and beyond. Pharande Promoters & Builders, the flagship company of Pharande Spaces and an ISO 9001-2000 certified company, is a pioneer of townships in West Pune. With the recent integration of Puneville Commercial into one of its most iconic townships, Pharande Spaces taken a major step towards addressing Pune’s current and future requirements for fully integrated residential-commercial convenience.

India and Russia are closer than they seem: Indian Vibes in Moscow

India and Russia 9

Moscow is a multicultural city. It is home to 13 million people, and only about half of them are native Muscovites. The capital attracts residents of smaller Russian cities, as well as immigrants from CIS countries, Middle Asia, Europe, and even India, with its opportunities both for education and career development and for a rich cultural life. The Indian diaspora in Moscow numbers about 15,000 people. Many come to Moscow to get higher education and stay on, finding good jobs in their specialty, doing business, and building families.

Indian culture has taken root in modern Moscow

Muscovites are interested in Indian culture and are happy to adopt some of the festivals and traditions. In recent years, there have been numerous festivals of Indian culture in the capital, bright Holi celebrations are organized in parks, and young women often decorate themselves with mehendi. Muscovites who lead an active lifestyle have come to appreciate yoga and various forms of meditation as practices that help to harmonize themselves and fill their lives with joy and inspiration, to find a fulcrum within themselves. However, yoga with a Moscow accent may differ from the Indian tradition. Often Moscow yoga implies the presence of curious attributes, such as brightly colored leggings, a mat decorated with the phases of the moon, the use of incense palo santo. The decor of decent yoga clubs necessarily includes aged statues of Ganesha or Buddha’s head. It is also very desirable after practice to go to a trendy smoothie bar with a friend to chat about the finer things and signs the universe gives us.

Indian cuisine

In Moscow, you can find restaurants of almost every cuisine in the world. Muscovites are great gourmets and enjoy trying different flavors. As a rule, most people do not dine at home. Businessmen and office workers go to cafes and restaurants for lunch and meetings. There are many Japanese, Italian, Vietnamese, Georgian, and Chinese establishments in the city. And, of course, authentic Indian restaurants thrive in the capital, as well as small Indian corners in gastrocenters (former Soviet food markets or streetcar depots rebuilt in a modern style, which now house food outlets popular especially among young people). It is important that the chefs and owners of the establishments are Hindus. Therefore, their knowledge and skill in cooking Indian food can be trusted. In Moscow restaurants of Russian and European cuisine, as a rule, all taste preferences are treated with understanding – there is a choice of vegetarian dishes or you can always ask to exclude animal products from your order.

Spirituality

The most common religion in Russia is Orthodox Christianity. However, in addition to Orthodox churches, Moscow has several Catholic and Protestant churches, synagogues, mosques, and Hindu temples. Many modern Muscovites are atheists, but they study the history of different religions and beliefs with interest. Both Hindi living in Moscow and Muscovites visit the Sikh temple Gurudwara Sahib, as well as the temple of Lord Krishna, where services and lectures are regularly held. By the way, Krishna has many followers in Moscow: even just walking along one of the central streets in good weather, one can meet a group of people in brightly colored clothes and saris dancing and singing Hare Krishna.

Art

If you are interested in classical music, fine arts, and contemporary art, Moscow is ideal for a wide variety of cultural leisure activities. It would take more than one day to visit all the best Moscow museums and galleries; besides, expositions and exhibitions change quite often. Often there are temporary exhibitions related to the Indian tradition. For example, in the main art state museum – Tretyakov Gallery, in addition to the permanent exhibition, which showcases masterpieces of Russian art of the XI – early XX centuries, now (from October 10, 2023 to March 10, 2024) you can visit the exhibition of Nicholas Roerich. It presents vivid landscapes of the famous artist, philosopher, mystic, spiritual teacher, and follower of Agni yoga. Roerich found inspiration for his works both in Russian and Indian culture – he made many trips and expeditions to India, and for the last 18 years of his life the artist worked in Naggar (Himachal Pradesh).

Conclusion

Thus, Indian culture is firmly embedded in the life of modern Moscow. Coming to another continent as a tourist, Hindi can not only get new impressions, see the famous Moscow sights, museums, theaters, parks, and estates, get acquainted with the rhythm of the city, but also be sure that even far from home you can meet something dear to your heart.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this press release is provided by a third party and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of our organization. We do not endorse or guarantee its accuracy.