A. Srivathsan in Conversation with Vidyadhar Phatak: FSI: From a Physical Planning to a Fiscal Tool

A. Srivathsan in Conversation with Vidyadhar Phatak: FSI: From a Physical Planning to a Fiscal Tool

Planning in India · 2020-08-12

Vidyadhar Phatak, is one of the leading urban thinkers in the country with rich practice and teaching experience. He is the former Chief Planner of Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority and also the former Dean of Faculty Planning, CEPT University. Mr Phatak was the director of National Housing Bank from 2006 to 2012 and also worked on several urban planning reforms as a consultant with the World Bank. Over the last 40 years, he has worked on land markets, land-based Fiscal Tools, urban Planning reforms and housing.

A. Srivathsan is an architect and urban designer, and currently Director, Centre for Research on Architecture and Urbanism, CEPT University Ahmedabad. He was previously the Academic Director of the University, and before that taught for a decade and worked as a senior journalist with The Hindu, the national newspaper. His research and writings include the themes of urban history, planning policies and contemporary architectural practices. Srivathsan’s recent work includes work on evidence based affordable housing policies for Chennai, a study conducted for Tamil Nadu State Planning Commission.

In this podcast, a sequel to the land market in urban planning, Vidyadhar Phatak traces the evolution of FSI Mumbai. This episode highlights the transformation of FSI as a physical planning tool to a complex fiscal tool. He discloses the ill-effects of first creating scarcity of development rights through low uniform FSI and then using the scarcity value for achieving development objectives. Further, he explains the failed attempt to reform the FSI regime in Mumbai. He raises the legal question of ownership of development rights and the state’s right to assign such rights at a price. In the end, he has some cautionary words for other cities that wish to emulate Mumbai in using FSI as a policy tool.

Planning in India

Over the last seven decades, planners in India have tried different approaches and adopted various methods to plan the Indian cities. From the early days of centralised Master planning to current emphasis on local town planning schemes, they embraced different tools. The state has put in place ambitious renewal schemes and smart city missions. However, questions, such as how to make planning mechanisms work for India persists as solutions either appear elusive or fall short of their objectives.

This podcast series, titled Urban Planning in India, is a reflection on the urban story so far. Hosted by the Centre for Research on Architecture and Urbanism (CAU) and the Centre for Urban Planning and Policy (CUPP) at CEPT University, it offers a rich collection of conversations and audio essays. Eminent thinkers, practitioners, public decision-makers and policy advocates recall and reflect, discuss critical issues and point out the way forward. The episodes are of two categories, one that engages with larger and fundamental issues of urban planning and policy and the other that looks at them through the stories of specific city experiences.

Motivated by the excellent reception of a similar attempt on architecture, the centres have put together the podcast series that will benefit students, serve as resource materials for teaching, work as useful analysis to practitioners and support research as archival material.

  • No. of episodes: 15
  • Latest episode: 2020-08-12
  • Education

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