Gated Communities: Cultivating a Holistic Vision

A safe, well designed, and a self-sufficient home in a gated township delivers peace of mind, comfort, and privileges, making community living a growing preference; not surprising then that the concept is gaining traction in India’s real estate sector.

India’s real estate sectorRunwalGardens_Dombivli - Township

Gated communities and townships are offering smart solutions to many urban living challenges. They offer homes that can fulfil the need for health emergencies, connectivity during a crisis, and make basic facilities readily available. Post-pandemic, developers and homebuyers are looking for an ecosystem of health, security, amenities, and lifestyle. Gated properties demand a “walk to work lifestyle” with well-connected and well-developed infrastructure like business centres, schools, hospitals, shopping malls etc. all within walking distance. The design of townships with larger open spaces, gardens, sports areas, and facilities to suit the needs of all age groups has become the need.

As per a report by management consulting firm Redseer, it is estimated that demand for gated communities will surge 2.5 times to reach $500 billion. The consumption in India will increase by 2026 and at least 24 million households will be residing in gated communities in India in the next 5 years.

Rajat Rastogi, Executive Director, Runwal Group
India’s real estate sector
The focus of developers and homebuyers has altered post-pandemic; they are now looking at an entire community ecosystem emphasizing health, amenities, and lifestyle. Kanjurmarg, Thane, Mulund, Kalyan-Dombivli, etc are some of the few locations that are being preferred by homebuyers in the wake of integrated township living. People are now opting for properties that provide a walk-to-work lifestyle with robust connectivity and well-developed social infrastructure, including business spaces, schools, hospitals, shopping malls etc. within walking distance. Our Runwal City Centre Kanjurmarg and Runwal Gardens Dombivli are two such projects. As against standalone buildings, townships provide larger open spaces, gardens, jogging tracks, and gated community living that suit the needs of all age groups. These townships are also a better investment option in terms of sustainable rental income and valuable returns in the long run.

Himanshu Jain, VP - Sales, Marketing & CRM Satellite Developers Private Limited (SDPL)
India’s real estate sector
Gated communities are private spaces where residents can enjoy access to many facilities and state-of-the-art amenities for hassle-free living. Free from pollution and with ample pockets of green spaces scattered throughout the property, these are the best residential options for buyers wishing to stay in a home surrounded by green foliage and well-maintained lawns. We have lately witnessed an emergence of gated communities in Mumbai in areas such as Malad and Goregaon, and in Mumbai Central, to name a few.

The gated townships offer a complete living experience to the homebuyers, an end-to-end solution for their needs as well as an integrated lifestyle with a self-contained ecosystem and the added advantage of nearby workplaces. This helps in saving time in commuting to offices, with more leisure time for work-life balance. The demand for integrated living saw an unprecedented rise post-Covid. Gated communities and townships are set to transform India’s residential real estate landscape in the years to come.

Shraddha Kedia-Agarwal, Director, Transcon Developers
India’s real estate sector
Due to the scarcity of residential options in fast-growing cities like Mumbai, and their limitations, there is a surge in the development of gated communities. Real estate usage patterns and preferences have evolved significantly across markets. Buyers are now willing to pay a premium for projects built by prominent names in the real estate industry as they do not want to compromise on quality or delivery time. With the aim of presenting an integrated and luxurious living experience, gated townships are offering panoramic views, superior amenities, and a tranquil ambience. These gated communities boost the lives of homebuyers with elegant designs and state-of-the-art amenities like stylish and well-equipped clubhouses, leisure zones like kids play areas with the latest equipment, jogging tracks, lush green gardens, swimming pool, skating rink for kids, cricket pitch, open-air party lawn for celebrations, walkways, and a well-equipped amphitheatre. This style of living took the form of gated communities in Mumbai in areas like Andheri, Malad, Mulund, and Thane, to name a few.

Shabnam Dhar, Partner, Studio Archohm, discusses the design potential and scope of designing townships.
India’s real estate sector
There is a strong potential for creation of a dynamic urban life with multifunctional neighborhoods, mixed primary use, blocks with a connected street system, and a high concentration of people. All these conditions could contribute to designing vivid urban streets, and public urban spaces.

There are three key elements for the design of the gated community:

Liveable streets are the first and foremost prerequisite of a vibrant, lively, and well-integrated urban form. An attractive urban space brings people out and promotes social interaction. Therefore, a good urban form should be the central theme in the design solution for gated communities. Planning should rely on creating a sense of ‘arriving home’ and creating a program in which public spaces become extended living areas.

India’s real estate sectorArchome Sample Flat November 2015 © andré j fanthome
The role of physical elements determines the quality of public spaces. Green and open spaces combined with independent living should be the main focus of an integrated community.

The boundary of the community defines its relationship with public spaces around. This could be in the form of walls or fences built for separation, but could be made much friendlier with low height boundary walls, transparent materials like glass, sufficient lighting, pleasant greenery, and so on. Alternatively, it could be made of buildings facing outwards which provide diverse uses and therefore facilitate various activities on the adjacent public spaces. It could also be a natural or constructed space for public use, such as lakes, public parks, squares, etc., which could function as a buffer or could be mutually shared with the neighbors.

Finally, evolving ideas for a sustainable living is critical today. Community living allows a unique opportunity to focus on and implement these strategies, starting from segregating waste to green modes of travel within the community to generation of common sources of energy. As designers today, it is a responsibility that must be shouldered by each one of us.

Sneha Gurjar, Director, CEM Engineers, shares her views on the immense growth potential in Tier-II cities, with gated township developments catering to all segments of homebuyers.
India’s real estate sector
Rapid urbanisation has started reflecting on the quality of life in both Tier-I and Tier-II cities. Plotted developments and colonies planned in the last 30-75 years now support about four times the planned population. The yesteryear colonies inherently lacked secondary and tertiary spaces that added to the quality of life of the residents. This was less evident when the number of dwellers was lower.

The amenities offered, ease of living, and the lifestyles of families are more aligned today with gated townships. Apart from ensuring security, such residential properties can provide more community living benefits, play areas, reduced commute time, adequate parking, etc, all while exercising development controls that civic bodies have not been able to apply.

Having worked on integrated townships for both the private and government sectors, I have witnessed a stark contrast in the living experience offered by integrated gated townships today compared to the rest of the city. There is an immense growth potential in Tier-II cities, with gated township developments catering to all segments with lifestyle needs from humble to uber-luxurious, without compromising on the basics.

The opportunity to make an impact by improving the quality of living is a designer’s first and most desirable outcome. The way we work, the way we eat, our family systems and norms have all evolved, and the same percolates into the way we live. Therefore, a lot of innovation is possible. Having the wherewithal to deliver such large-scale developments, I really hope that the next step in the evolution of design, in this case, moves from aspirational design to affirmative design, where we aren’t saying this is who you should be. Instead, we design for who you are.
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