Is this really what we call development?

           As I stood at the window sipping my cup of chilled coffee looking at those devil machines digging deeper and deeper into the Mother Earth, I thought about everyone around me in my neighbourhood who were excited above the 54 floor township which is about to completely change the image and nature of my neighbourhood. Even I agree that it will change things but now the question is whether the changes will be for the good or bad?

            It’s not that I personally hate skyscrapers or glass buildings or have issues with them consuming high energy because I know that now with newer materials and technologies it is possible to design and build sustainable skyscrapers which help in catering to a high density. After reading about the pros and cons of skyscrapers I remember concluding that there is nothing inherently wrong with them.

            But the reason behind my unhappiness is that unless these skyscrapers are built already in a densely packed neighbourhood or where there is a huge unsuppressed demand, these buildings have the potential to drain life off the streets. There are numerous ways to structure a building envelope to house a significant number of people and a mix of uses without going up, up and further up. Also I am a person who has a strong opinion to have a healthy respect for scale. Imagine these 54 floor towers in a neighbourhood of buildings ranging from 4-12 floors at an average. Also what about the pressure on the infrastructure these skyscrapers create? Imagine the same 12m wide road after a sudden increase in the number of vehicles owing to these skyscraper townships. No doubt the building designs will cater to the problem of parking. And this problem is not only pertaining to my locality but exists throughout the country. I think it’s strictly essential to develop the necessary infrastructure first and then allow builders and developers to initiate projects of such scale and magnitude. Whenever builders market the project they only project things which happen within their walls but what about the streets, the parks, the other educational and health related amenities. What about the effect on quality of life with this sudden increase in density? What about the big picture?

            Do we really want the skyline of our city to be dotted with skyscrapers? Is that the only way to deal with the increasing housing demands? Shouldn’t we evaluate and reuse blocks of underused, unused and undervalued buildings as well as plots and populate those areas before shooting new skyscrapers? Should we ‘THE PEOPLE’ encourage these townships which are like closed neighbourhoods with privatized amenities or rather encourage social interaction through housing and use of common basic amenities beyond class boundaries?

            With too many questions and concerns but very few conclusions whirling in my mind I sat sipping my coffee looking at the machines doing their work and hoping that the people and the government realize the gravity of the situation before it’s too late.

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