What Is Cluster Development And How It Will Help India Develop
Time and again, state governments have been adopting the cluster development method for redeveloping old-dilapidated buildings or to rebuild old illegal constructions.
Maharashtra, for instance, recently launched an updated version of their Cluster Redevelopment Policy to give impetus to small and medium enterprises. Under the policy, the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) has been empowered to look after the cluster development in Mumbai, a city full of age-old buildings that are in dire need of redevelopment.
The Gujarat government has also launched a scheme under the commissioner of cottage industries for the development of artisan cluster through cluster development approaches. The main objective of the scheme is to enable craftsmen to produce quality products with wide acceptability in the world market. Cluster development initiatives are aimed at promoting and strengthening existing crafts and craft-clusters by developing artisan clusters into professionally managed and self-reliant community enterprises.
How does cluster development work?
According to experts, cluster development is the economic development of business clusters or residential areas to permanently protect open spaces and environmental resources. Under this scheme, houses are built closer together on a part of land rather than spread evenly on large lots over the whole development.
But how will this make our cities better?
MakaanIQ talks to Shaleen Sharma, dean of School of Architecture, World University of Design, to understand cluster redevelopment and how does it work.
Q: How can cluster development/redevelopment help India and its urban problems?
Ans: The Indian government has put a major thrust on smart cities in its last budget. As an architecture proponent, I believe planning and structure are very important for the development of a city and one of the easiest ways to implement this, is by promoting clusters. Urban issues such as lack of resources including finances, haphazard development and management, can be remedied through the efficient use of clusters. Strong domestic cluster initiatives are also known to aid the cities in bringing in foreign investments. Further, cluster development can help India and its urban problems in three major ways - increased productivity, focused and quick innovation and the formation of new industries in the region, providing a city with the base to develop into a smarter version of itself.
Q: What are the challenges of cluster development in Indian cities and towns?
Ans: While India is focused on building smart cities, it faces several major issues in this journey. The lack of adequate planning and implementation is perhaps the biggest challenge Indian cities face during cluster development and we can take the example of the Thane Municipal Corporation in this aspect. In Thane city, projects undertaken under the smart city funds took off without any major glitch but those undertaken on public-private partnership basis, got stuck and caused delays. Further, lack of funds could also limit cluster development in India.