Cities Research Seminar Series: Acquiring, Planning and Servicing Land for Urbanization in India

A seminar led by Rejeet Mathews and Madhav Pai of WRI India on urban land issues in Indian cities. Rapidly urbanising Indian cities need mechanisms to ensure that land is acquired, planned, and serviced with adequate infrastructure and social amenities, to prevent the occurrence of haphazard urban expansion and underprovisioned inner-city areas. Such mechanisms should also help government agencies recover their costs through land value capture. Looking beyond the conventional practice of compulsory land acquisition, the seminar focuses on alternative mechanisms used in India to meet this need, as documented in a detailed WRI publication. These alternatives include land readjustment, land pooling, leveraging resources of the private sector (public private partnership) and nonmonetary compensation such as granting development rights. The speakers explain the findings from an assessment of the legal frameworks and present recommendations to strengthen the equity and efficiency of the mechanisms to facilitate better delivery of planned and serviced land.

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Speakers: Rejeet Mathews & Madhav Pai

Rejeet Mathews is the Head of Urban Development at WRI India Ross Center for Sustainable Cities. Her current work revolves around the integration of land use and transport, sector design, alternative mechanisms to acquire, plan and service land, city master plans, strategic spatial plans, capacity building trainings, revision of town and country planning acts, and understanding the trend, nature and impact of urbanization in India. She has provided technical assistance to agencies in Bangalore, Mumbai, Naya Raipur, Hubli Dharwad and Ahmedabad and is currently assisting the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs. She has provided technical inputs to various reports, guidelines and policies anchored by city, state and national governments in India. Rejeet holds a Master’s degree in Urban Design from CEPT University, Ahmedabad, and a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture from the M S Ramaiah Institute of Technology, Bangalore.

Madhav Pai is India Director for WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities. The center, founded in 2014, combines the strength of WRI’s EMBARQ network for sustainable transport with the Institute’s expertise in energy & climate, adaptation, water, and governance aspires to deliver the goal of sustainable cities. He continues to be director for EMBARQ India a program he co-started seven years ago. EMBARQ India currently engages over 35+ professionals in four offices across India and has supported provided support to 15+ cities on sustainable transport and urban development projects. Notable successes include iBus in Indore, BIG Bus Network in Bangalore, Raahgiri in Delhi and Gurgaon, transit-oriented development in Hubli Dharwad, and rickshaw rising. Madhav has more than 15 years’ experience leading, designing and managing urban transport programs and projects in India, Asia and the United States. Madhav is a Civil Engineer from Mumbai and holds a Master’s Degree in Transport Planning from University of California Berkeley.

Photo: Rejeet Mathews

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