This one day workshop brought together a number of practicing urban planners and economists, policy analysts and researchers from both the government and academic institutions to explore and identify possible areas of priority research in land economics and urbanisation in India, including land supply, demand, land valuation and pricing, regulation, and the role of the private sector. The workshop began with inaugural remarks by Shri Kamal Nath, Minister for Urban Development and Parliamentary Affairs in conversation with Dr Shekhar Shah, Director General, NCAER. Reflecting on challenges faced in urban development, he emphasised the need for research, particularly on economic perspectives, on land-, which is a scarce resource. This was followed by brief remarks by Professor Jeffrey S. Hammer, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University and Non-resident Fellow at NCAER. Prof. Hammer provided perspectives on public health issues relating to urban India. Dr. Shashanka Bhide then provided a detailed background to the workshop, highlighting the need for analytical research in the area of land economics in India where urbanisation is taking place at a fairly rapid rate and land prices are soaring, making affordable housing beyond the reach of many.
The workshop included two technical sessions and a round table on research on land economics. The first technical session, chaired by Prof. Edgar Ribeiro, was devoted to issues and challenges for land supply for urban development where two commissioned papers were presented. The first paper was by Mr. Vidyadhar Phatak an eminent urban planner and former Chief Town Planner of Mumbai Municipal Corporation. He focused on issues of land supply. The second paper was by Dr. Kala Sridhar who provided insights into the impact of land-use regulations on land supply. The second technical session, chaired by Prof. Partha Mukhopadhyay, focused on issues relating to demand for urban space. The first paper by Prof. Chetan Vaidya, Director, School of Planning and Architecture, Delhi was devoted to issues relating to demand for living space as well as for other uses. This was followed by a detailed presentation on trends and patterns of land prices by Ms. Jayashree Kurup, Magicbricks.
The concluding session was a roundtable chaired by Mrs. N. Jayaseelan, Member Secretary, NCR Planning Board. To begin with, Mr. K. C. Sivaramakrishnan, Centre for Policy Research in his address underlined the need to explore and identify the key issues for further research on issues of land management and governance. This was followed by brief presentations by a panel comprising of Prof. D B Gupta, Prof. Edgar Ribeiro and Ms. Ritu Anand.. There was a general consensus on the priority areas for work. These broadly related to study of land prices, a relook at the land use regulations as well as regulations relating to transactions in land for urban use, and an analysis of inclusive nature of urban housing development. A need was also expressed for some work on governance and land management and also on urban infrastructure especially studies relating to transport infrastructure as part of urban development.
The Workshop concluded with a vote of thanks by Dr Shashanka Bhide.