South Asia » India » Chennai

Chennai's growth challenge
  Pedro B. Ortiz Chennai India Metropolitan Metro Matrix Structural Strategic Planning
  With a metropolitan population beyond 30 million inhabitants, Chennai city growth is relatively moderate. Land is already saturated and expensive. What is growing fast are the Towns and Villages Panchayats. Close to 5% annual on the 80’s it is now in the range of 3.60%. Other Indian metropolises are growing far beyond 5% annual. Pune’s figures are in the 10% range. One must realize that a 5% growth means duplicating (100%) the size of the city in 14 years. A 10% growth just in 7 years. These figures are the expression of the economic attractiveness of the city both for location of businesses as for the labor immigration in search of a job. But they are a real challenge for all the cities in India to allocate that growth and provide the necessary infrastructures to avoid leaving a heritage of slum-cities to future generations.

Chennai metropolis must be aware that such a moderate growth has a two-fold interpretation. It is good because it is easier to manage. It is bad because it might prove that Chennai is not doing economically as well as other Indian metropolises. Those in charge should question themselves on this issue. As an easier challenge to address one must know however that a 3.60 % growth still means a 50% urban expansion in 20 years. Chennai must accommodate for that. The large metropolitan vision is what the Metro-Matrix approach provides.
Chennai's long term water provision
  Pedro B. Ortiz Metro-Matrix Chennai strategic Metropolitan water provision
  The Monsoon has changed course. Instead of driving north and bumping back form the Himalayan, it has just crossed the Indian Subcontinent to the east. The result has been droughts in the spare areas, floods otherwise. Is this an exceptional year or the pattern from climate change?
Chennai is lucky. This year Chennai suffered a terrible drought because they only have a month water reserve (0.1 km3) but the topography of India with main rivers running from central-west (Pune) to the southeast, can bring to their door all the water they need.
Now Chennai is paying the m3 at 7 dollars. Ten times more than Los Angeles or Madrid (with ten-fold Chennai’s GDP). Chennai will never be able to join developed countries with droughts that will make industrial production impossible. Chennai will not drink… nor eat.
The problem is that Chennai does not have the reservoirs necessary to stock the water they need (3 km3) to address consumption (domestic and industrial) during prolonged droughts. It has to multiply it storage capacity by 30. This cannot be done on the ponds in the plain. It has to be done by reservoirs in the plateau border. Quite simple. Developed metropolises have done so for more than a century. Time for India.
The analysis addresses these needs, figures, and solutions. Chennai knows. It has been discussed for a decade at least. Words are not enough. Deeds are necessary.
(Work in Progress) Chennai Thesis Polimi
  Ravali Sathiwada and Sravya Luthikurthi, two brilliant students from Milano Politecnico Architecture MSc. Lab. are studying the Chennai Metropolitan Expansion.
Here are her findings. Work is in progress. This is just a draft, but it is worth sharing to stimulate dialogue and discussion with the Chennai School of Architecture, both students and professors.
They are welcome to contact Ravali and Sravya, as well as their Professor Antonella Contin.
Chennai, Ekistics of a Conscious Metropolis
  Pedro B. Ortiz Chennai India Metropolitan Metro Matrix Structural Strategic Planning
  MSLab, Milano Politecnico
Ravali Sathiwada, Sravya Luthikurthi, Sandy Kim, Pedro B. Ortiz

Due to rapid urbanization and human interference the last remaining marshland of Chennai city, the Pallikaranai marshland, a unique ecosystem of its kind, has been reduced to one-third of its original extent. The marsh has been reduced and fragmented, due to the construction of institutes, the Perungudi dump-yard and Sewage treatment plant, IT corridors, residential complexes, etc.

Pallikarnai Marshland is one of the most important wetlands in India. It is natural and unique in its hydrology. It is home to a large number of species of plants and animals. It is, however, under various kinds of threats; threats that are largely due to the rapidly changing surrounding urban landscape of Chennai. The threats are also due to lack of awareness on the ecological value of natural wetlands.

The goal of the project is to analyze the metropolitan complexity using metropolitan cartography method and deliver a sensible wetland project that can stand as an example first of its kind in India and providing a platform to exchange knowledge which can be used at other sponge sites across the Chennai metropolitan area and across the nation. The project would also focus on promoting sustainable growth in relation to climate change and economic conditions of the metropolitan region at a global scale.

Metropolitan Cartography _ TELLme EU Project