By Rakesh Koti
In our effort to design and manifest eco-habitats, we come across this question, often from clients and sometimes from collaborators: why are you developing a community so far away from the city?
With our cities being choked due to high population density, we are consuming polluted water, breathing polluted air and eating polluted food. Counter-urbanization is one possible solution to reduce stress on our cities and improve our health and well-being.
I live in Kukatpally, probably the densest part of Hyderabad. When I go to the supermarket to purchase vegetables, I have no idea where the food was produced, how it was handled, what preservatives were added to it, how the packaging was done, how long the food has travelled, how many hands it has changed before it fell into my shopping cart. There is a lot of uncertainty there about the freshness and quality of food in this supply chain.
In Rurban Communities, farming happens in your backyard. You can see how your food is produced. You can see it being harvested and delivered to your house immediately. The supply chain is very short.
Having lands dedicated to agriculture is not possible within the city due to cost of land and polluted air, water and soil resources
As shared in articles in previous newsletters, the best source of water is rainwater. And it is impossible for our city to entirely depend on rainfall due to high population density compared to the amount of rainfall falling. We are not only diverting water from lakes and rivers for city consumption but are also cutting off pathways for rain to flow back into these resources by building roads, destroying soils and rocks and cutting down trees.
In Rurban Communities, the density is not more than 3 units per acre. This means, there is ample rainfall for communities to sustain. Please see this article for more information of water consumption in urban vs rural communities. (Blog)
There is so much information nowadays about the importance of air quality that it is evident why air quality is bad in the city and it is not going to improve, unless a pandemic type scenario arises.
Or, Rurban Communities can offer a breath of fresh air as they are far away from the city with low vehicular movement. This is not possible in the city.
Building Rurban communities is not like typical real estate where the value is majorly derived from the speculative nature of land price and developments that happen around the project.
In Rurban Communities, there is very little speculation on land price and most of the cost of construction goes into building infrastructure installing technologies for sustaining the community. As can be seen in the breakdown below, land price is just 11% of the overall cost. There are so many other contributors to the cost such as work-from-home spaces, Goshala, solar, water security, training and skill development cost, farming, MEP infrastructure spread over a larger area, etc.