Till recently, buying a property called for some painful compromises. Budget restrictions meant you could only buy in specific residential areas, regardless of whether there were educational institutions, playgrounds, hospitals, shopping centres, connectivity to your place of work, or entertainment hubs in the vicinity, apart from availability and reliability of utilities like power and water. Real estate players were quick to recognise this and come up with a creative solution—townships.
Almost every day, newspapers feature advertisements for one township project or another, signalling a new trend, which has been hastened by the fact that the only available land for large-scale residential complexes these days is outside city limits. And, the only way to attract buyers to such comparatively remote locations is to provide integrated services in the township itself.
Indeed, integrated townships are the way of the future, offering more open areas and an emphasis on creating a sustainable living ecosystem with residential and commercial spaces, supported by an infrastructure backbone of power, roads, water, drainage and sewage. Essentially, they are extra-large gated communities, which have everything a family would need—from schools, hospitals, playgrounds and parks to offices, shopping complexes and entertainment centres—all within a protected area with private security to monitor access. Because they are outside city limits, they offer affordability, comfort, convenience, social integration, infrastructure and a contemporary lifestyle in an appealing package deal.
Several such townships are currently under development in the NCR, Ahmedabad, Mohali, Chandigarh, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkata, Jhansi, Kanpur, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Panipat, Sonipat, Jaipur, Saharanpur, Pune and Nagpur.
It’s clearly an idea whose time has come. Spiralling real estate prices are dampening demand, while existing residential projects are mostly in the suburbs or on the outskirts of cities, where facilities are sorely lacking. The trend to move away from the city limits is gaining pace and offering developers the chance to take a huge leap in building new integrated spaces. It also coincides with the average middle-class citizen’s search for affordable housing and better facilities. With the entire infrastructure in the hands of the developer—be it electricity, water supply, transport, or even green spaces for