The origin of New town concept has its roots in Garden city movement founded by Ebenezer Howard in the late 1800’s in Europe. A new town is a planned community mainly built in a previously undeveloped area (Ratoola Kundu, 2010). Conceived as a crucial instrument for balanced urbanization. New towns are being built considering a pragmatic way of resolving the urban issues of the time.
Since ancient times, philosophers, planners, architects, and engineers are attempting to explore concept and ideologies to create a new city for better life. How a city be more ordered and how society might be more perfect. Developing New towns on clean slate occurred a better way for planners and urban designers rather than dealing with mess of realities of existing cities. The causative factor responsible for modem new towns have been to either promote a planned dispersal from congested urban centers or to provide a nucleus of special functions such as industrial, educational or administrative.
Concept of New Towns
The ideas and concepts of emergence of new towns are thoroughly differ from one another and rooted in great ideology. Such as decentralization of metropolitan or sprawl of urban areas, without hindering the existing. Building a national or state capital; which would create political statement or become a national symbol. Few towns established to accommodate workers within the proximity of their industrial / work areas. Developing a sustainable city, by exploiting existing resources is one of the responsible concept for new towns. The new towns are mainly built away from existing urban areas, on Greenfield sites or practically uninhabited before responding to ‘self-contained’ concept of new towns (Prakash, 1972). The concept is vaguely defined by various philosophers. Ebenezer Howard; considered to be the father of New town’s theory, never mentioned the term himself though he idealized to have employment and other facilities within the town. Quite often the term self-contained or self-sustained term convey the notion that new towns should not be dependent on other cities (Prakash, 1972). British New Town policy reviewed the term and observed the term has dual meaning. First, refers to facilitate that exists in Town. Second defines as a self-contained area with complete urban facilities, i.e. employment, shopping, health, educational facilities etc. In general usage second definition has been overlaid. Since site location of majority of new town is Greenfield and situated distinct from existing urban area, hence the need of a town to be a self-contained or self-sufficient is essential.
New towns in India
Post-independence India is in the process of developing new urban settlements. Most of them were planned and developed during the period of 1950-80s. Their need for emergence was rooted in diversified objectives.
Towns to decentralize the metropolitan areas
The post War planning of London was based on the need for containment of physical expansion and population growth of city. Abercrombie’s plan for London included Green Belt around the city; and ‘self-contained’ new towns were proposed at distance beyond the Green Belt (Transit Oriented Development for smart cities, n.d.). This model influenced and later reflected in the Master Plan of Delhi and surrounding ring towns. Delhi being the capital of India and the city full of opportunities and convenient linkages is attracting almost every trade and activity, for function and economic growth towards the city (Guneet Kaur, 2004). This development brings in more migrants to Delhi, and thus results in accelerated growth rate of the city. The added population in the NCR causes pressure on Delhi’s infrastructure and services. The settlement policy of the National Capital Region has suggested with the Master Plan of Delhi to divert some population (7 lakh persons) of the city to ring towns like Faridabad, Gurgaon, Ballabgarh, Bahadurgarh, Narela, Loni and Ghaziabad located within a radius of 30 km (Report of the steering committee on urban development, 2007-2012).
The new towns received support and facilities from their respective state government authorities and are developing faster than the mother city Delhi. On this background the 1965 article of Correa, Mehta and Patel distinctly stands out. It did not crave for limiting growth of Mumbai city but making room for its expansion on the mainland. The MARG article proposed a large integrated city on the mainland single major urban centre on the mainland opposite Mumbai, of equal prestige and importance which could develop into an area, as large as the old city rather than number of separate small satellite towns. Thus Navi Mumbai came into existence.
Industries started growing tremendously, which required planned labour colonies within the vicinity of work areas. Thus Industrial towns established for the rehabilitation of industrial workers in the proximity of industries. Rourkela, Bhilai, Durgapur are the prime examples of new industrial towns, developed in early categories of town. The planning of Rourkela and Bhilai are adopted is self-contained residential units; based on neighbourhood or sector concept.
Every new nation or state, have liberated capital city, either newly built or relocated. The declared rationales are in response to disperse development or satiate the need for increased infrastructure demand. Post-independence India built three capital cities, different from one another.
Bhubaneshwar was commissioned before independence, located in close proximity of old capital Cuttack. Chandigarh was planned in the post-independence, being a trendsetter of modern India. Gandhinagar is a case of building of administrative capital. The planning of Gandhinagar draws a lot of influence from Chandigarh city, essentially another garden city. Both the cities are planned on the sectorial neighbourhood concept.