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  • Naitik Trivedi

Decoding the GDCR

Updated: Sep 1, 2019

Premises of the existing GDCR rules were discussed to better come to the understanding of the rules. Assumptions by the students were discussed and compared with the actual premises of these rules.

1. Zoning was discussed in reference to the bye-law 6.1 from GDCR

An example of separating industrial areas from the residential area was discussed to understand the merits of such zoning strategies. How does issues such as noise, pollution, public infrastructures not arise due to existing zoning strategies.

Is zoning relevant in a world where structures such as Airbnbs, Food delivery apps, ICU at home exist to convert your residence into hotel, restaurant and an hospital respectively.

2. Permissible use of land based on road width.

Reasoning of these sets of bye-laws: Wider the road, more is the accessibility and thus such uses are allotted based on road widths.

Our questioning of the premises began with questioning the traffic, a road receives based on the time of the day. Examples such as hospitals, schools and offices wherein the time of the day greatly affects the traffic received on its adjacent roads.

We went so far as to question this premise as why only the road width, shouldn’t even the whole surrounding network be considered to come up with the permissible uses.

Discussion topics ranged from exits and entrances to shifting dividers in talking about accessibility.

3. FSI

FSI as a density controller was discussed and how the government plans it’s resources such as road width, plumping lines, electrical lines and other infrastructure based on the urban density of that region.

Comparison of dense cities in terms of permissible FSI was discussed such as Mumbai having an FSI of 4 while Hong Kong having an FSI of 25 and the authorities’ reasons for doing so.

Dense urban fabric in Hong Kong

Problems of increasing FSI without the government infrastructure improving was discussed. TDR (Transferable development rights) is when FSI of one plot can be transferred to the FSI of another plot of the same developer. Demerits and merits of this provision was discussed.

Premises of giving certain area as free of FSI is how the government ensures how certain necessary standards of livings are upheld.

FSI rules also become an important factor that determines the appearances of houses such as providing free lobby spaces outside elevators would result in a longer plan while if it is counted it would result in a more compressed block. Other examples discussed were the 4 and 2 feet balcony rules and its misuse amongst developers and how certain rules lure corruption.

4. Road widths and margins and built volume.

Margins are required to be put around the building based on the height of the building and several other factors. Premises of this rule were mostly related in preventing and stopping the incidents of fire. Heights of the buildings were usually determined based on the height the fire ladder can reach in case of fire. Margins prevent the domino effect of fire by separating a building from another.

The Great London Fire of 1666

According to the byelaws roads widths also determines the height of the building. The premises of this was that the road should receive adequate sunlight. We questioned this by asking whether this prescriptive regulation should be turned into a performative regulation. Instead of having a particular height for a particular width of the road can we have a byelaw that would prescribe how much of the sunlight should the road receive. Instead of working in 2d formats of plans and sections can the authority now shift to 3D models and determine whether the required premise was met. Margins’ effect on reducing the noise and nuisance was also discussed.

While discussing the byelaws it was inevitable to not discuss how people don’t follow these. Montesquieu in his ‘The Spirit of the Law’ compared people’s attitude towards law and he went as far as comparing people from the cold climate and the warm climate and its effect of these attitude. Is it required to rethink the laws based on the communities, traditions for some are sins for other communities.

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