G20 Prompts Call for Nationwide Creation of ‘National Real Estate Assets’ by Urban Design Experts

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    Urban design experts advocate for the development of ‘national real estate assets’ across various cities in the wake of international events like the G20 summit. Emphasizing the importance of meticulous planning for these assets’ long-term utilization, experts aim to prevent them from becoming financial burdens for host cities.

    Historically, India’s national and international events predominantly centered around Delhi, particularly Vigyan Bhavan, due to convenience and a lack of confidence in other cities, according to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. However, the G20 event marks a significant departure from this tradition, taking a more decentralized approach.

    By the end of India’s G20 Presidency, more than 220 meetings will have been held in 60 cities across all 28 states and eight union territories. Over 125 nationalities will have participated, involving more than one lakh participants and reaching approximately 1.5 crore individuals in India. The effort has required substantial capacity building in terms of infrastructure, logistics, communication skills, hospitality, and cultural activities.

    Urban design experts support this approach, suggesting that such international events should serve as catalysts for creating more ‘legacy/national real estate assets’ nationwide, with careful long-term planning to avoid them becoming ‘white elephants’ or ‘dead assets.’

    Professor PSN Rao from the School of Planning and Architecture (SPA) believes that national legacy assets are created alongside international events in the capital, citing the example of Bharat Mandapam as part of Pragati Maidan’s redevelopment. These assets will continue to play a crucial role for the next few decades, showcasing the need for modern infrastructure to match India’s progress.

    Rao stressed the necessity for similar facilities across the country, emphasizing their role in revenue generation and positioning India as a Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions (MICE) tourism destination worldwide.

    Jignesh Mehta, Senior Associate Professor at the Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology, Ahmedabad, concurs, highlighting the importance of planning these assets for both international and local use. To avoid future economic burdens, he recommends permitting mixed-use developments around convention centers.

    Smitha Kuttikat, an architect-planner in Bengaluru, views these projects as nationally significant and emphasizes their timeless design concepts’ contribution to the local economy and real estate valuation. She argues for the dispersion of such asset creation across the country.

    Architect Vidyadhar Wodeyar from Arch Plan Architects suggests the establishment of Habitat Centres in various cities, particularly in southern regions, near international airports.

    Over the past decades, international events like the Unesco Conference, Asian Games, and Commonwealth Games have driven urban and infrastructure transformations in Delhi.

    AK Jain, former commissioner of planning at Delhi Development Authority (DDA), highlights the need to spread national/legacy real estate assets across cities, suggesting Ayodhya and new international airports like Jewar as potential locations for convention facilities.

    An anonymous urban planner and consultant underscored the high costs associated with maintaining these assets and suggested considering long-term opportunities arising from MICE events while planning convention centers across cities.

    Read more: G20 Summit Expected to Fuel India’s Real Estate Development

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