ITPI JOURNAL 4 : 1 (2007) 13 - 16


Former Chief Planner, GCDA, Cochin ABSTRACT The author argues that there is a need for evolving special regulations for urban core area rejuvenation, for heritage zones and coastal and island zones in Kochi. By incorporating provisions for TDR, plot reconstitution, and other such techniques, the government should modify the existing Town Planning Act in Kerala. It is also proposed that capacity building of enforcement agencies should be undertaken. In metropolitan areas like Kochi, there is a need for creation of Metropolitan Planning Committee as envisaged in the Constitution of India. Development authorities could function as the technical arm of the MPCs for formulating and implementing long term plans as the metropolitan areas.



Development control regulations are tools for guiding and promoting development in an area in order to improve the quality of life of its inhabitants. The definition for ‘development ‘varies with the type of development envisaged- spatial, economic, social, etc. In urban planning, spatial development is often given more emphasis and it is closely linked to social and economic development. Regulations are enforced as part of the planning strategy ‘to conserve and promote public health, safety convenience and general welfare of the people and to provide for the future growth and improvement of the area.’ This paper aims to touch upon the types of development regulations adopted in India, the relevance of such regulations in the present context, the need for effective tie up between the different regulations, the extent to which the regulations can support and promote urban development, the role of existing planning organizations in enforcing the regulations, prevailing planning regulations applicable to Kerala in general and Kochi in particular and tries to spell out the need for regulations in capturing private investments for public good.


coverage , Floor Area Ratio, set backs, open spaces, height, number of storey, parking requirements, etc; for various developments on land, and for various categories of buildings. Town Planning Legislation and the municipal Building Bylaws are the main instruments based on which schemes can be notified and Development Control Regulations can be enforced. During the last 40-50 years General Town Planning Schemes, Master Plans, and Detailed Development Plans, etc; have been prepared and implemented in many of the cities and towns in India. But the extent to which these plans and the regulations forming part of these have influenced in shaping our towns is a matter of debate. Several reasons can be attributed for the success / failure of urban plans. Of late, emphasis is being given to Spatial Development plans; Perspective Plans and Structure Plans, which are more flexible as far as regulations are concerned. All urban plans in India are evolved from the basic British System of planning. The time taken for the preparation, publication, and implementation of the above plans within the framework of the existing Acts is so much that by the time the plan is sanctioned, it becomes redundant. In Kerala, the Travancore Town Planning Act 1108 Malayalam Era (1932) and the Madras Town planning Act 1920 (with some amendments) are the relevant acts under which Town Planning

Development regulations include master plans, zonal plans, detailed development plans, regulations regarding land use, usage of buildings,


Levying development charges for changes. where chaos and congestion prevail. Rezoning is a rigorous and public process and hence not attempted at in many of our cities and towns. There are situations. required are also very cumbersome. city centres are characterized by chaos . Laxity in enforcement of regulations can be cited as one of the major reasons. Allowing vertical 14 In spite of the fact that Master Plans and Detailed Development plans have been notified for many of our urban areas. development plans with appropriate development control / promotion regulations should be published and enforced before it is too late. which necessitate upgradation of services is one way of tapping private investment for public good. This is possible only where zoning regulations exist. congestion. The process of introducing regulations / development controls in such areas amounts to bringing such areas within urban renewal programs. which form part of the plans also become inappropriate. In the case of newly developed planned neighbourhoods we find that land use control has not been very effective. It is a common phenomenon that CBD gets extended into residential zones as the demand for higher order uses increases and as the market forces play a vital role in deciding the locations. and reconstitution of the plot boundaries using techniques like land assembly.16 Schemes are being published. Hyderabad. the maximum permissible FAR for residential development is only1. Imposing regulations for promoting developments. The whole process should be transparent and based on sound principles of planning. will go a long way in bringing about orderliness. when other towns in India like Bangalore. In the context Kerala it is necessary to have a relook at the building bylaws taking into account the availability of infrastructure facilities.8. A single bye law covering the whole state decides the bulk of development in the entire state. But can we ignore the economic benefit derived by the owner of the residence while letting out part of his house for a shop / office? Should we not consider the objections that will be raised by his law abiding neighbour? The responsibility of the institutions that control and regulate development should be to examine the use change to assess the infrastructural up gradation that such change would bring about and follow the process of public hearing before deciding on rezoning.75 for residential developments. The process of plan formulation and variation. giving due consideration for the Heritage precincts.R. It is imperative that for the major towns in Kerala. Comparatively wider roads and availability of other infrastructural facilities attract commercial and other uses to these residential zones which in turn bring in more traffic and parking on roads.A. In order to make the plans more realistic GIS based data should be created The building byelaws play a vital role in deciding the extent of development especially in areas. In the absence of this process. and dilapidated buildings with out any parking spaces. especially in old town areas where no regulations ever existed. In Kerala the municipal building bye law permits an F. It is for the planning and enforcing authorities to decide on the maximum permissible variations in the existing zoning regulations and makes developers and owners pay for the upgradation of the infrastructure necessitated additionally. The plans thus become obsolete in the fast developing urban scenario.Elizabeth Philip / ITPI Journal 4 : 1 (2007) 13 . gross violations take place resulting in the degeneration of our planned areas also. should rise to the occasion making use of the expertise in the development Authority and the Town Planning department. These Acts have to be modified if the results of planning are to be evident and citizen friendly. with the result that most of the residential buildings have become residential . The availability of services and infrastructure facilities should form the basis of fixing FAR. Timely variations are not often undertaken mainly due to the lack of availability of proper data. In Ahmedabad. and Visakhapattanam permit only up to a maximum FAR of 1. narrow roads. which are not covered by the development plans. The regulations. which allows permissible changes in zoning regulations. The local bodies. which are vested with powers of planning. 3 RELEVANCE OF ZONING REGULATIONS cum commercial. This would require detailed analysis of the existing situations. if any. up to 3 (even up to 4 with the payment of extra fees) for residential development.

In island zones in backwater areas. uniformity in transactions and transparency are essential along with the new regulatory tools. are still ill equipped to carry out the long term planning functions. which are to guide and restrict developments in the coastal zones. Kerala has shown a pioneering approach in realizing the constitutional vision of transforming the Local bodies into institutions of local self-governments by strengthening decentralized governance both in rural and urban areas. such programs are possible. municipalities. In Kochi an important inner ring road has been developed by GCDA by getting almost 90% the land required for road by providing alternate land of a lesser extent. Government of India programs like Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission paves way to renew our city centres in a positive manner through public private participation. Prior to the amendment of Kerala Municipalities’ Act in 1994. corporations. The ULBs and the Development Authority have to work . scrutinized the adherence to Building Bylaws. The technical capability of the ULBs has to be strengthened with planning professionals if the duties vested with them are to be carried out efficiently. Transfer of Development Right is an important tool in generating urban land. regulations play a vital role. Similar road widening projects are initiated by the Kochi Municipal Corporation also. there is need for regulations that opens up public access to the water body. With proper leadership and initiative. The Corporations and the Municipalities are geared to short-term goals. The alignment of roads is to be fixed well in advance and notified.16 developments are another way to create the much needed ground open space and parking spaces. and first grade panchayats. 4 ROLE OF THE PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT AGENCIES IN ENFORCING DEVELOPMENT CONTROL The 73rd and 74th Constitution Amendment Act has empowered the urban local bodies with sufficient powers to undertake planning and participatory development.Elizabeth Philip / ITPI Journal 4 : 1 (2007) 13 . Urban Renewal programs imposing regulations and implementation with Public Participation are the only means to rejuvenate the city centres. where the density of population is comparatively high. Under ground / multi level parking lots are essential in most of our city centres as long as we rely on personalized vehicles. In the development of road network. The ULBs. Development Authorities were enforcing development controls as per the notified General and Detailed Town Planning Schemes. the planning and regulatory functions have been transferred to the ULBs. After the enactment. In Kerala coast. which were already burdened with the tasks of provision of day-to-day services. Land resource for road development can be generated by getting the land surrendered for road either free of cost or by giving incentives for surrender or by allowing certain relaxation from regulations. if there are regulations and planning controls. The Coastal Zone Regulations. this becomes very restrictive with the result that most of the constructions are unauthorized. prohibits development along the coastal belt. In coastal states like Kerala. Alternatively the potentials of the Development Authorities should be utilized and Metropolitan Planning Committees are to be constituted as envisaged in the CAA. there is a danger of the whole process losing the focus. Pedestrianisation of certain areas within the urban core especially in places of Heritage value can increase the flow of tourists. protection of water bodies and wetlands that characterize coastal areas call for special regulations. viz. It will be ideal to incorporate provisions that take into account the social conditions also along with the environmental parameters. This can generate the land resource for road formation. Alignment of a public road along the water edge will prevent encroachment and filling of water bodies by developers. The local bodies. Planning and regulatory process if subjected to short run considerations. Public acceptance 15 of the program. It is necessary that water front development regulations are enforced in the island zones. Special regulations are essential for our core areas facing the challenges of redevelopment as the market forces operate with profit motive only.

the planning legislation will have to be modified updated and made more citizens friendly. making use of planning regulations. can still play a vital role in planning and regulating urban development if they work hand in hand with the local bodies. and supported by political consensus must be clearly translated to the beneficiaries to get the necessary support for the plan and the regulations. there is need for creation of Metropolitan Planning Committee as envisaged in the CAA. For this. Regulations are only means to an end. the land use proposals may have to be more flexible. CONCLUSIONS The regulation enforcing agencies must have the capability to understand the essence of planning. increase in land values. the ultimate aim being the enhancement in the Quality of Life Housing Planning Theory Land Economics Planning Techniques Network and Services Transportation Planning Development Management Social Formation and Changes History of Human Settlements Statistics and Population Studies Project Formulation and Appraisal Advanced Transportation Planning Environmental Impact Assessment Environmental Planning and Design Ecology and Resource Development Village Planning and Rural Development City and Metropolitan Planning and Design Regional Planning and Development (Part -I) Planning Legislation and Professional Practice 16 ITPI PUBLICATION Reader Volumes (Rs. for Heritage zones and for coastal and island zones in Kochi. etc. plot reconstitution. Development authorities. and change in life styles. Taking into account the rapid urbanization. It is necessary to make the whole system of plan formulation and implementation more dynamic and responsive to changes.16 hand in hand to enforce the regulations in order to achieve the results of planning. There is need for evolving special regulations for urban core area rejuvenation. The planning decisions taken by a team of experts. The prevailing Town Planning Act in Kerala has to modify incorporating provisions for TDR.each) . which were created to undertake model schemes and long term planning. globalization. A mechanism has to be evolved for tapping the private benefits for public good. 100/. transcends the corporation boundary and comprises of two or more local bodies. 5 Development Control Regulations are enforced with a view to improve the welfare of the people.Elizabeth Philip / ITPI Journal 4 : 1 (2007) 13 . The development Authority could function as the technical arm of MPC in formulating and implementing the long term plans as the metropolitan area. In metropolitan areas like Kochi.

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