Sabarmati Riverfront

SABARMATI RIVERFRONT

(A tale of Urban Transformation)

Waterfront is known as a place where irreplaceable resources like land, water, air, sun, and productive plants interface with each other. Development having in front of any form of waterbody is term as a waterfront development. There are three main reasons for developing any riverbank i.e., reduce river pollution, protection from floods and attract more and more people by developing the riverside beautifully to increase tourism hence revenue. Waterfronts are broadly categorised into four different types based on activities happening on the riverbank i.e., Natural Waterfront, Public waterfront, Working waterfront and Redeveloping waterfronts. It can also be classified based on the source of water in the city as Riverfront, Lakefront, and Seafront. With increasing urbanisation and industrialisation, recreational and open spaces in cities have reduced. With the development of waterfronts, new options for recreational opportunities and awareness of natural aspects of river life to residents comes up. These initiatives increase interaction between human and water that was once lost during the century of industrialization. Some of the general principles of waterfront development are interconnecting linear waterfront with broad public access, protecting natural riverfront environment, and retrieving unique identity of cities specially water cities.

Klynveld Peat Marwick Goerdeler (KPMG) is one of world's top advisory firms who has included Sabarmati Riverfront Development Project in '100 most Innovative Projects' in the field of urban regeneration (2012) that make cities liveable as well as sustainable, Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) received HUDCO National Award 2012 for innovative infrastructure development for the riverfront project are some of the achievements of the project.

Sabarmati Riverfront is a project where both banks (eastern and western) of the river i.e., 10.5 km stretch was redeveloped creating approximately 200 hectares of reclaimed land. Under this project management system was developed for minimizing flooding and cleaning of river with new sewage treatment infrastructure. For planning and implementation of project, The Sabarmati River Front Development Corporation Limited (SRFDCL), established in 1997, reached out to several NGOs and citizen groups. The process of implementation was done by BMOT mode.

The objectives of the project are categorised under three broad topics. First objective is Environment improvement that includes Reduction in Erosion and Flood, Sewage Diversion, Water Retention and Recharge as well as River Cleaning. Second is Social Upliftment that includes Rehabilitation and resettlements of around 10,000 households that were living in slums along the banks of the river, creation of parks and public spaces for reconnecting river with the city as well as provision of socio-cultural facilities that includes Riverfront market, laundry campus, Event grounds and Exhibition centres. And last objective is Sustainable development through revenue generation and revitalisation of neighbourhoods.

The proposed development is of mix land use that includes commercial, recreational, and residential developments within both side of riverbank from Gandhi Bridge to Sardar Bridge.


                                                        

Table 1: Land use of Sabarmati riverfront

(Source- http://www.sabarmatiriverfront.com)

Figure 1: Land use map

(Source- http://www.sabarmatiriverfront.com)

For allocating land uses to reclaimed land main considerations were existing land uses along the river; extent, location, and configuration of reclaimed land available; potential for development; the structural road network and form of the city and the possibility of providing adequate infrastructure in the new development. To improve the accessibility to riverfront, existing streets were improved, and new streets were proposed out of which most are under construction. The new streets were designed with wide footpaths and designated cycle tracks to improve and encourage pedestrian access to the river.

The aim of the project was to create a thriving, people-centric network of parks, waterside promenades, markets, cultural and recreational facilities in the heart of Ahmedabad, making the city’s riverfront a public asset. One of the key features of this project is a two-level, continuous promenade at the water’s edge along each bank of the river which provides 11.5-km long pedestrian walkway as well as boating Stations for water recreation and can offer water-based mode of public transport in the future.The project also aimed to be self-financed and do not rely on funds from the government to achieve its goals and targets. To earn enough resources for development and management of riverfront, a small portion of the reclaimed land will be sold for commercial development. commercial development round riverfront will be done in a controlled manner and within regulations to ensure that the built environment along the riverfront is harmonious and has a memorable skyline.

General facilities like street vendors, laundry facilities for the washing community, trade and fair facilities for the business community are provided for improving existing amenities and for incorporating new amenities.

Some of positive impacts of project development are diversion of around 250 MLD sewage to eliminate water pollution, increased accessibility through ghat, ramps and stairs, provision of organised facilities to Traditional users of a river like washer men and unorganized vendors.

The project was developed in two phases. In second phase of development emphases was given to greener development having stepped green multi layered Promenades, excellent Road network, active green Parks, Children’s Play area, Food Plaza, Amphitheatres etc.

Under this phase 5.8 kms will be added to existing 11.5 kms stretch on the Riverfront East and 5.2 kms to the existing 11.5 kms stretch on the Riverfront West of Phase I ending up to Indira Bridge. Thus, the entire Sabarmati Riverfront Development will be covered from Ambedkar Bridge to Indira Bridge and would take the total length of the Sabarmati Riverfront Development Project from 23 kms to 34 kms. To maintain the level of water for the entire stretch, a Barrage cum Bridge would be constructed which would also store the water for 10-15 days for the City of Ahmedabad. The entire development of the Project is towards Urban Regeneration and Environmental Improvement which will transform the river as a focal point of Leisure and Recreation.

With the coming of such projects, rivers are brought back to the cities by utilizing exiting resources and converting abandoned land of riverbed and nuisances at the centre of the city into people's attraction point and transforming city into a more liveable space

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