COVER STORY – THE REVIVAL OF COMMUNITY LIVING
We discuss its possible interpretations in the current realty parlance
Community living is a concept that defines a closely-knit social connect with in a residential arena. There can be many terms for community living in the real estate sector. For example `township development’ can also be termed as community living. Community living can be defined as a housing society of people living as a community in a specific geographical and demographical area. In today’s fast-paced world, families are getting smaller by the day and people choose to live in nuclear families with their spouse and child.The age-old concept of a joint-family for which India was famous for has somewhere gotten lost.Homes today, in tier-I and tier-II cities are getting smaller, thereby, forcing families to shrink in size.Sandeep Ahuja, CEO, Richa Realtors, says, “Migration due to socio-economic factors is also a reason for the concept going under the mat. In Mumbai, areas which were earlier identified under the community living ambit are now seen as residential hubs for all communities. The demand for standalone apartments or single building projects with a few houses or even independent budget homes, has increased sharply over the years in Mumbai.“
Echoing a similar view, Niranjan Hiranandani, CMD, Hiranandani Group, comments, “Community living is found in some parts in the old colonies of Mumbai the Parsi Colonies, locations like Five Gardens in Matunga, to some extent, Shivaji Park. These are locations where community living was the norm some years ago.Now, with the rapid increase of the urban sprawl, we see green spaces being replaced by concrete structures lawns being replaced with parking spaces, bungalows with high-rise apartments.Small conglomerations where residents were a part of a community have existed in Mumbai, but over the years, these are changing in terms of features. Now, the community spirit seems lacking in the older, what used to be previously classified as `community living’, localities.“
A DIFFERENT TAKE
While there exists this view of the increasing demand for standalone buildings and the rise of nuclear families, there are views that community living is infact not dying and it still does thrive in a city like Mumbai. Community living is evolving in Mumbai as people are moving from standalone buildings to larger residential developments townships. Percy S Chowdhry, director, Rustomjee Group, opines, “The constantly elevating lifestyle demands of residents along with the increasing population of cities cannot be accommodated in stand-alone structures like bungalows or buildings in small areas, with a few floors or apartments. Residential communities are thus, being re-designed into large scale formats. Such formats are spread over a minimum of two acres with housing units and allied infrastructure, which are replete with amenities that cater to the daily needs, entertainment and basic healthcare of residents. So, from simple pleasures of perhaps, a walk down a serene path to luxury luncheons with friends and family, people are able to live each moment at an arm’s length.“
The global exposure that Indians are used to to day has a lot to do with the concept of community living taking a dip. Adding to this, Ram Raheja, director, S Raheja Realty, opines, “The citizens of Mumbai have a global outlook and are living in a multi-cultural environment. Urbanism is all about diversity and progress; thus, we are moving with the world and crossing barriers of race, religion and creed.“
THE NEW-AGE MANTRA
With the society ever-evolving, and nuclear families being the norm now, joint families are slow ly breaking up, and if one looks at `community living’ as having been a part of such a community of joint or large families, that is now being replaced by smaller, nuclear families. In today’s times, with the emergence of DINK couples (Dual Income No Kids) or for that matter, a family of three, where both the parents are working, the children learn to live without adult supervision throughout the day. Viewed in this perspective, the new communities that are coming up, have the adequate social infrastructure and the community of neighbours, coupled with the safety and security of the complex, are slowly but surely replacing the large, joint families.
Rahul Saraf, managing director, Forum Projects, shares, “There are many areas where the concept of community living is still alive and these areas are Chembur, the western suburbs, Byculla and south Mumbai, central suburbs like Wadala, etc. However, having said that there are many reasons why this culture is slowly taking a backseat and the reasons are a more global exposure, a cosmopolitan outlook, the rise of nuclear families, increase in growth of the economy and infrastructure.“
Siddharth Bhatia, marketing head, Wadhwa Group, concludes, “Community living is still relevant in certain parts of Mumbai; however, the young generation today, is more aspirational and is willing to locate to different cities in search of a well-paying job, amenities, a modern lifestyle, preference for nuclear families, etc, and as a result, community living is reducing in number.“
From an industry perspective, the ways in which this concept can be revived into the market are with the adoptionconstruction of larger apartment complexes that encourage greater interaction between residents. Therefore, though not as rampant as it was a few years ago, it still has not its charm yet!
Courtesy Property Times