Tuesday , 17 September 2019

Push to Park

Everyone knows India?s growth story, but the difficulty has been that India?s infrastructure hasn?t necessarily kept pace with this growth story. Problems with land acquisition and red-tape have ensured that the Special Economic Zone model of development that was followed by China couldn?t be implemented well in India.

The growth and investment have been concentrated in metros and cities that already have infrastructure available for setting up of business; and the expansion of city limits and new towns has been extremely slow. Urban landscapes of metros and smaller cities have been transforming rapidly with taller commercial as well as residential buildings replacing small bungalows and shanties.

So where does this increased population park their vehicles?

India has had a very low number of cars per 1000 people and our cities were never planned to accommodate a large number of parking spaces for cars. A city like Mumbai today though has a population density of over 20,000 people/ sq km, and with increasing disposable incomes (increase of over 39% in 5 years). Vehicle ownership is on the rise. This has left the city with very less parking space for an ever-increasing car population. This demand supply mismatch has meant that a single car parking space in some parts of Mumbai has sold for an astronomical one crore rupees. By 2030, it is estimated that the increased adoption of vehicles will be so much that 25% of land of Mumbai will be covered with cars. This makes it imperative for all architects, town planners, developers and the government authorities to ensure our future real estate development projects have ample parking space for today and the future.

Most of the real estate stock in cities like Mumbai comes from redevelopment of old buildings, slums and mill lands. This method of redevelopment has been extremely effective in increasing the space available to accommodate the populace of these cities, but they come with their own challenges.

Plots in such cities are very often extremely small in size and at times veryodd in shape. The small size of the plots and the strict development control regulations make planning of buildings very tricky and makes it extremely difficult to manage the parking requirements of new buildings with increased occupants. Building podiums or basements for parking are often not possible or permissible. Here, innovation, technology and creativity can help maximise the number of cars that can be parked in a fixed amount of area. Nikhil Mohandas, Partner, Elevate Parking Systems, says, ?We had to design a parking system for 16 cars for a seven storey residential building on a very small plot of 400sq.m in an upscale locality in Mumbai.

The challenge was that the building couldn?t be more than 24m high and hence we were restricted from constructing a podium.? The small size of the plot also ruled out the possibility of a basement. Elevate helped design a three-layered hydraulic parking system that utilised a pit specially created under the stilt area to accommodate a car. ?Our design was met with scepticism initially but we managed to convince the Municipal Commissioner to give his approval, and implemented the system.

Today we have enquires for similar designs from all over India?, adds Nikhil Mohandas. Today, almost all buildings being planned in Mumbai on smaller plots have the provision for stack, puzzle or tower parking systems. ith more people adopting such systems, more money goes into advancement of the technology used in creating such parking systems, that will help optimise the systems for time and energy usage and bring down maintenance costs.

Even older buildings today are looking at installing Mechanised Parking Systems in their compounds. This is an extremely positive step towards decreasing congestion and dependence on street parking. Mechanised parking also helps free up the requisite open spaces in building compounds, thus helping emergency services like fire brigades and ambulance reach the requisite areas in a building plot, and increase their effectiveness.

The need of the hour is a change in the mindset of the people who believe mechanised parking is unsafe, tedious or expensive to operate. Manufacturers today ensure that their products have ample safety mechanisms and use good quality hydraulics and mechanics that require very little maintenance. The adoption of such technology is the future of parking solutions.

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