CITY IN DILEMMA

ISSUE 5

MARCH 2022

Role of The Bangalore Development Authority in mitigating Urban Displacement

Vaidehi Raipat, an Urban Designer, Researcher and an Architect is the Founder and Principal of Innovature Research and Design Studio [IRDS], Bangalore. She has worked with distinguished firms and institutions before she founded IRDS in 2017. Along with being a passionate architect, her interests in the field of Temporal, Social and cultural research also drive the agenda of IRDS. She has written, presented and published many papers in National as well as International Journals. She as a writing and research enthusiast has also published a few articles in newspapers/ magazines of National Repute.

BACKGROUND

Gentrification is a multifaceted problem, and most research works that have tried to address it can graze through just its facade at a very qualitative level. In many ways, this has allowed Governments to develop strategies for urban development that lead to displacement and usually go unchallenged.

This proposal aims to deal with two critical issues:

  1. Displacement of MIG landowners and farmers from their traditional occupations and homes on account of rapid urbanization
  2. City’s urban planning process has failed to deal with the problem adequately. The master plans of the Bangalore Development Authority have promoted the growth of real estate in and around the city, resulting in more elitist housing and gentrification at the cost of the low- and middle-income groups.

This project suggests that by adopting appropriate regulatory policies, it is expected that the gap between different income groups can be bridged, paving the way for more inclusive growth.

The Master planning process of BDA is not the only cause of gentrification in Bangalore. However, this research focuses on the need to address this issue by implementing appropriate planning and the policy-making process by empowering the concerned organization and ensuring that no loopholes in the master plan allow wiggle room for purposeful gentrification.

FRAMEWORK

 The mindset: The city is currently facing migration and hence population explosion. The local government usually uses Population as the main reason behind all urban issues as-is for gentrification.

Weaknesses: The primary cause of gentrification in Bangalore is the idealized living standards and visual image of a utopia that the Bangalore Development Authority fosters. Such Ideologies steer the authorities master planning process towards the spatial needs of the affluent along with a lack of transparency, accountability, and enforcement.

Risks: Bangalore Development Authority has been entrusted with a dual role of a planner and developer that misplaces its priorities. Another challenging factor is the ramification of the political economy.

Strengths: Bangalore development Authority has private funds to host Research and Development as a para government body. If its priorities are set right, it can

Opportunities: Partnerships and collaborations can act as an incubation center for urban research and development by providing a platform for the city’s Data Scientists, Planners, architects, urban designers, and other enthusiasts to get involved in the master planning and partner with them for the policymaking process.

Agenda for organizational Upgrade:

Ensure that the agency responsible for master planning has its complete focus on it; this can be done in one of the two ways listed below:

  1. Formulation of an independent body with a bottom-up hierarchy and is directly linked with all city municipalities. It may also have some representative members from the Bangalore development authority on its management board.
  2. Redding BDA of its role as a real estate agency and a developer, restructured only to focus on city planning and policymaking.

To mitigate the issue of urban displacement, a Taskforce needs to be assigned. Task Force must work on yearly demographic profiling of the city that will involve census level data collection and analysis of local and migrant families, their household incomes and job profiles and geolocation. It will also require the real-time collection of Real Estate data like residential and land prices and customer profiles. It must also analyze the data to study the impact of Master Plan and Local housing policies on Real estate and urban displacement. It will be essential to ensure that the consulting planners and local decisionmakers are equipped with reliable and real time information.

Its organization could follow an inductive methodology where the collection and analysis of data- representing facts formulate the investigation of the problem from which the recommendations of the solution get formed. This method is especially useful when previously drawn conclusions have caused confusion in terms of getting appropriate solutions.

IMPLICATION ON DIVERSITY AND EQUITY

 The primary aim of this project is to make housing policies that promote inclusivity of all economic groups. The master plan must be designed to promote equity in housing by regulating upcoming real estate development and ensuring all income groups have equal access to housing to mitigate the issue of Urban displacement in Bangalore. Desired equity can be achieved only when the appointed task force is representative of all economic classes and ethnic groups.

 FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS

 Bangalore Development Authority, a para government agency, is also a real estate agency and relies primarily on it and the government-sanctioned budget for its finances. Ridding BDA of this responsibility will restrict its budget. However, appropriate restructuring and collaboration with consultants and public representative bodies can aid cost management by replacing fixed salaries with need-based consultant fees.

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