How townships may be the answer to sustainable living – A Photo Essay
Our online writing program student, Anusmita Dutta, explores the benefits of staying in a township through a photo essay of the Hiranandani Estate in Thane.
As a ‘working from home’ professional and a mother to a pre-schooler, she shows how townships may be the answer to issues our overly populated cities face.
Through her photo essay, she shows how townships can help us lead a sustainable and a better quality of life. Please note, this article was written long before the city was hit by the Covid19.
Text & Photographs by Anusmita Dutta
Townships do what sadly many cities have failed to do in India – provide a balanced life to its inhabitants where our work, life, and leisure needs can be met fully. According to a report published in 2019 by office commute platform MoveInSync, on an average, Indians spend 7% of their day in commuting to an office. Add to this at least another one hour of travel to and fro to access conveniences needed for day-to-day living. Builders taking cognizance of these challenges of modern living are coming up with residential real estate projects which are designed as self-sufficient townships with an increased focus on enriching the quality of life of its inhabitants.
By definition, Townships are clusters of separate residential buildings or houses within a designated area with all amenities to make it self-sufficient. One of the earliest townships in India was in Industrial towns like Tata Nagar, Jamshedpur, ONGC colonies for its employees across the country, Oil India Ltd township in Duliajan Assam, Assam Gas Company Ltd’s township in Duliajan to name a few. It is noteworthy that these townships were built by these companies to provide a balanced life to the employees working in them. Having spent my initial growing up years in a township, I have experienced first-hand the first-class experience provided by townships for a wholesome living. In the Oil township in Duliajan, Assam where I lived, we had our school, clubhouse, library, cinema hall, market, golf course, hospital all within 5-10 minutes of our residence. When I moved to Mumbai, I realised it was a mentally and physically exhausting experience to travel from one place to another to access simple amenities of life, what with the distance, traffic, and pollution involved. Then I realised that luckily there were pockets in the city which were designed as townships to meet the growing demands for a quality life.
In the busy and bustling city of Mumbai-Thane-Navi Mumbai, one such pocket is Hiranandani Estate, a township at Thane West, around 5Kms away from where I reside.
Hiranandani Estate is my family’s favourite haunt on weekends. I find the place extremely convenient because of the availability of parking space, market places, and eateries in close proximity. My daughter and I spend time at the park and return home post shopping and lunch. Hiranandani Estate is also host to many festivals and events throughout the year. The ‘Carnival of Lights’ event, for example, is very popular when a large part of the area is lit up in glittering lights during Diwali festival.
A glimpse of this lovely township, through the lens of my phone camera.
As I entered Hiranandani Estate, the wide and smooth roads with trees on either side looked straight out of a foreign movie scene. The roads were clean and it made me think to myself, “How nice it would be if we could replicate the same level of cleanliness in all parts of the city!”.
The wide roads dotted with greenery and the neatly parked vehicles were not an eyesore for a change. It was rather a treat to the eyes.
The rest of the township with its clean and spacious look and amenities as I discovered is equally fabulous.
“The Walk” is an open-air shopping mall located in the heart of the township. It has supermarkets, restaurants and cafes, kids’ entertainment and shops. For residents living in Hiranandani estate, ‘The Walk ‘offers a good hang-out place, all at a walking distance of 5-10 minutes.
The ‘Spick and Span’ open-air mall is impressive. People are seen leisurely walking around or just window shopping. Open-air malls save on electricity as they do not use lifts and escalators, and people get some much-needed physical activity too. I feel we need more and more builders to think on similar lines to contribute to conscious and environmentally friendly living.
High rises are a very common sight in Mumbai. But what sets Hiranandani Estate apart from the rest are the open spaces, greenery, well-planned roads and building clusters. Not only that, but it is also the good quality construction of the buildings with all possible amenities you can think of within the township. The visible focus here is on providing a truly good standard of living.
There are corporate offices within Hiranandani Estate. In fact, Tata Consultancy Services has one of the biggest corporate offices here as well.
Hiranandani estate also houses a hospital and two prominent schools, Hiranandani Foundation School and Poddar International. This is photo is taken outside Hiranandani Foundation school, a prominent ICSE board school in Thane.
Joggers Park is an absolute gem that I chanced upon within the Township. This huge park is very well-maintained and offers something for every age. The park size is such that runners can cover an impressive 450 metres in each round with an elevation gain of around 15 metres. Here you can find joggers, people practising yoga, exercising at the open gym or just lounging around.
The park is open for all within and outside Hiranandani estate and has a small play area for children too.
A residential area like the Hiranandani Estate in a city like Mumbai is a treasure trove for all its residents. More importantly, it makes me realise that if townships are well planned where the residents can have the best of life, work and leisure, it will make a huge positive impact both in their lives and that of the environment.
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About our writing program student:
Anusmita Dutta works as the Content Head in GetAConnect.in. She started her career in the e-learning industry but moved on to writing in the print and the web medium as well. She is also a Spoken English Tutor and a children’s storyteller.
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