Recently, Delhi has gone through the sealing drive of illegal commercial activity and a consequent (and hurried) Master Plan Delhi draft which declares all the problem areas as mixed land use areas.
Although I felt there wasn't any solution left, I do believe the master plan had more to do with politics than with problem solving for the traders.
Issues which I want to raise here are:
1. Why provisions for future* mixed land use are not incorporated while planning for a residential area.
*Indian residential areas tend to develop commercially and vice-versa.
2. What can the locational criteria be? (market needs? transit system? public nuisance?) We can safely say that mixed land use can have its advantages and disadvantages. Any area with commercial activity is relatively safer than isolated residential areas. Also, mixed land use helps in reducing the transit distance to workplace, shopping for local needs etc.
So, why is mixed land use always decided upon for an area which has already transformed into one and where no other solutions seem viable? Shouldn't this aspect be considered while designing/planning and appropriate measures taken for the same?
Delhi's Master Plan: Mixed Land Use
You have pointed out a very important, unfortunately very rarely discussed, planning issue in Indian context. In India planners have been obsessed with isolated zoning strategy as the basic character of a city plan. That kind of approach works for a gated community with boundaries defined and without any scope for expansion. They don't realise that cities keep on growing and localities within the city keep on evolving from residential to mixed to commerical. It is very difficult to predict the pattern, direction, time and quantum of commerical development in cities. I feel our approach should be to devise ways to manage cities as and when they grow and also try to give direction to the growth by interventions like creating large economic activity or a big integrated community etc. As long as we cannot provide for the growth of cities Delhi like situations would continue to arise. YN Rao