Faculty: Arun Kumar

Improving the Development Control Regulation Approach in Indian Cities – From Rule Based to Form Based

Most of our Indian cities have evolved from historical core areas with distinct compact urban form and a character that is now our heritage. Be it the core areas of Ahmedabad, Jaipur which are now notified UNESCO world heritage cities, or the core areas of Delhi, Indore, Pune, all have evidences of an urban form that promoted a compact and efficient use of the limited land resource, mixed use development, active edges, interaction of built with public realm, eyes on street, walkable neighborhoods and was climate responsive.
Over the years, the approach to defining the urban form of our cities have changed from a traditional compact and form-based to a more density controlled and rule based where the built form and type of development is controlled by the size and land use of the plot which makes practically impossible to visualize the urban form. The regulations were also written down in a rule book in the form of tables, numbers and a language which is difficult for a lay person to understand. New regulations are further appended through new policies, masterplans, and development plans which makes it even more complex to understand and relies on the judgement of the officials. Therefore, an alternative approach to preparing development control regulations (form-based code) is required to be explored that clearly helps in visualizing the urban form of the city, is liberal in terms of uses (mixed use), promotes new urbanism, transit-oriented development, conservation of historic urban form, and sustainable compact city planning. The code also needs to be well illustrated with simple diagrams for the community to understand better, and gives a clear picture of the supply of floor space and infrastructure provisions in different areas of our cities.