Community living vs township projects
May 12, 2014
Source : The Times of India


MUMBAI: Community living projects and integrated projects, are changing the lifestyle of home buyers. “Community living is a concept which defines a closely-knit social fabric within a residential cluster. Such a fabric may be the result of various driving factors, including proximity of buildings, the fact that the neighbourhood has been tailored along certain lines, or the collective need to address certain circumstances or objectives,” says Om Ahuja, CEO-Residential Services, JLL India.

Ram Raheja, director, S Raheja Realty agrees as he explains that “Community living can be defined in many ways and is subject to the urban development it is based in. For example, community living in America is very different from one in Europe and even more different than one in India. Community living in India is very different from its international counterparts. In Mumbai, there are cooperative housing societies or common community residences existing since decades. Each neighbourhood must adopt a sense of community living with one another, to create a better lifestyle in our city.”

A township can be defined as a large-scale development to create a self-sustaining neighbourhood within it. A township also enables the area around its location, to develop rapidly. The main advantage that a township has over community living, is that it facilitates modern and cosmopolitan living. It’s a one-stop-shop in a way, with all daily requirements like office spaces, schools, healthcare, retail outlets – all provided within the township.

Ahuja further adds that “It is most clearly seen in senior living projects, which have been specifically designed to meet the requirements of a community of senior citizens. As such, community living does not necessarily fall in the same category as integrated townships. In the case of townships, we are talking about residential clusters, focused around a common pool of resources such as infrastructure and amenities. While life in a township can definitely be conducive to community living, much depends on the buyer mix and the overall design of the project.”

Stand-alone apartments with a few houses or even independent budget homes, are getting replaced by large integrated townships. Real estate builders are focusing on self-sufficient destinations that are complete with modern amenities, for contemporary buyers. If one were to look at the peripheral areas of Mumbai, one can observe the spurt of worldclass townships that are coming up. These townships integrate spectacular quality of construction, modern amenities, eco-friendly ambience and high capital appreciation. Rohit Poddar, managing director, Poddar Developers, says that one can experience good quality living, provided the integrated project is executed correctly. The infrastructure, amenities and the reliability of the same, is better in an integrated project. The quality of infrastructure and amenities in Mumbai and the MMDRA has not improved. Since community living and integrated townships offer the same, customers prefer this type of a product.”

There are many such projects that provide a good quality of life for their residents, have a low impact on the environment and also provide employment opportunities for the local residents. The buyers get a good quality of life along with good appreciation in property prices and hence, these make for a sound investment option. Developers benefit by creating a living community, with faster sales and a good reference point for future projects. In cities like Mumbai, the space crunch leads to most townships being away from the heart of the city as they require large land parcels. For instance, most townships are being developed on the outskirts of Mumbai in areas like Virar, Thane, Kalyan and beyond.

Shailesh Puranik, managing director, Puranik Builders Pvt. Ltd, says, “Community living is a housing concept that existed since the last three decades. This concept, though present in all the countries, is quite prominent in India where people from different sects and castes live together. The prime reason for the existence of this concept was the need for self security, to maintain their cultural bond and centuries old traditions. People felt secure living together with their fellow members from the same caste and sect.”

However, this concept witnessed a gradual downfall with the growth in the economy and development of infrastructure, mainly after the economic reforms in the country. The globalisation effect made a huge impact on the social and economic structure of the country, paving the way for a new lifestyle followed by economic stability among the individuals. Enhanced aspirations, improved infrastructure and the need for better housing, led to the development of vast residential complexes in the city. These complexes were complete with all facilities and amenities which matched the expectations of the modern man.

While these large townships have similarities with community living, townships may not have people from the same castes and sects living together. This is the major difference between these two concepts of living.

Manju Yagnik, vice-chairperson, Nahar Group, explains that “The basic definition of community living involves people with a similar mindset, interest and culture, living in the same vicinity. There are several tangible and intangible advantages of living in a community. The sense of security that one gets when living in a community cannot be discounted.

The fact that there is always someone around, is a very secure feeling.” On the other hand, township projects are self-sufficient units with well-designed structures with top-class amenities, to provide enjoyable residential solutions and convenient living places in peaceful, eco-friendly surroundings.

People have more open and green spaces, bringing them and their families closer to nature. You can live, work, relax and have immediate access to medical, educational, shopping and entertainment facilities in a single, spacious and secured area.

Townships are a mix of affordable and luxury homes; offering a better lifestyle by reducing unnecessary commutation to the parent city; thus, saving your time and other valuable resources.

Community living can be a part of the township projects. Hence, community living can be termed as a subset of township projects. For starters, these residential projects do not compromise on the quality of construction and the maintenance is also handled appropriately.

Secondly, luxury homes indicate a good lifestyle and great living standards. Thirdly, luxury apartments are complete with the most modern amenities that have become an intrinsic part of everyday life.

Finally, these properties may cost an extra dime but they do give higher capital appreciation when compared to the others.

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