Verticalisation in Lucknow: Dr Binti Singh

The skyline of Lucknow is gradually transforming from low rise bungalows and individual houses, popularly known as “kothis” towards verticalisation. These visible spatial transformations are particularly witnessed in the form of high rise buildings and gated communities mushrooming in the peripheries of the gradually expanding city limits.

Socio-economic drivers are creating new demands for commercial, residential and leisure spaces which in turn call for densification and eventual verticalisation of the city.  This process is increasingly replacing low rise single or double storeyed residential patterns.

Inner city localities are also witnessing demolitions of existing structures and their replacement with new structures, but at a slower pace.

Economic forces have compelled horizontal expansion of the city connecting it with its hitherto rural belt. It’s not unusual to stumble upon huge swathes of open fields, unoccupied or under- construction sites adjacent to swanky conclaves questioning the availability of supporting physical and social infrastructure, connectivity and linkages with other parts of the city or adjoining regions.

One cannot miss the rampant usage of international names and imagery of the newly emerging high-end apartments dotting the peripheral expansion of Lucknow confirming their global aspirations. Lucknow is replete with new (perhaps global) aspirations aggressively expressed in the endeavour to create and superimpose first world names and conditions within its urban landscape. This is particularly visible in the promotions of new housing projects that are part and parcel of newer extensions of urban development in the city.

The real estate boom of the 2000s allowed for greater urban development and extension of the city boundaries of Lucknow. This pronounced further in the last fifteen years with a slew of government sponsored schemes for all sections of the population, greater involvement of private companies, fresh investments in new infrastructure projects and the like. An official of the Lucknow Development Authority noted that there are at least 10 integrated township schemes comprising 1000 acres that are currently operational in Lucknow. More than 75 per cent of these schemes are being implemented through private participation, namely real estate companies like Eldeco, Omaxe, Rohtas, DLF, Ansal and Shalimar.

(Views expressed in this article are of Dr. Binti Singh, Urban Sociologist)

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