Media , PPP , FSI …

Creative Commons License photo credit: zedvox

I am writing in reference to the article “Parking lots tower too in free FSI boom” on The Times of India, Mumbai recently that says that developers have got a bonanza in the form of higher FSI in lieu of constructing these parking slots free of cost for the BMC .

One look at our roads will tell you that there is a desperate need for a reserved public car parking garages for both private cars and taxis. It is becoming almost impossible to park in any neighborhood of the city these days. There is absolutely no space for people to drive or walk on most of our streets today. We need to stop using roads as parking areas and give it back to motorists and pedestrians. So the bottom line is that parking garages for private cars / taxis is the need of the hour.

I would also like to further comment on two larger points that the article raises – redensification & Public Private Partnerships. I don’t understand why the media still uses the cliché of high FSI Benefits the Real estate sharks. When one talks about increasing the FSI, it is always seen as a selfish wealth- generating mechanism for the developer. Well, the builders make money in any case- with an increased FSI or otherwise. But he definitely makes more money in a scarcity market like ours than in a market with a rational demand and supply situation. On the other hand, if you think about pure economics, increasing FSI will unquestionably benefit the poorest and the middle class. A leading economist once said that this attitude of attacking the private enterprise and rejecting an increase in the construction of badly needed built space because some developers or land owners might get rich is like preventing farmers to cultivate wheat in the middle of a famine because they might make money by selling their wheat. The city desperately needs new buildings to house its people which the developer will build with their extra FSI. So I don’t think there is anything wrong with developers adding to the built space of the city in exchange for building public amenities like parking garages for the city. It is a win-win situation.

Public-private partnerships is seen as a way to go in every other sector, so why should the infrastructure sector stay behind? The Government today simply doesn’t have the money to build these public assets. The Private enterprise can deliver on these amenities when incentivized rightly. It is important that we embrace public-private partnerships instead of fearfully rejecting them.

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