The very talked-about concept, ‘walk-to-work’, inspires developments such as housing, commercial premises, institutions, healthcare facilities, entertainment zone, shopping centres in the vicinity of each other. A lot of the new housing centres are planned in a way so that everything, starting from the very accommodation to the workplace, school, shopping centres etc. is all built in the vicinity of each other.
Describing the growth story of the suburbs, Mr. Rajat Rastogi, Executive Director, Runwal Group said, “With the rapid growth of upmarket towers, retail outlets and commercial establishments, there is a swift transformation in the suburban skyline. Numerous tall towers have marked their presence and more are coming. The infrastructure developments too have played their role in seamlessly connecting the suburbs to other locations such as Navi Mumbai, Thane and South Mumbai. Emergence of a vibrant lifestyle in the region along with the presence of top-notch brands, malls and restaurants have provided the home buyers with access to a high street living. Due to these factors, homebuyers are now looking for destinations which are an enviable mix of convenience and leisure. With many Central Business Districts (CBDs) such as BKC, Vikhroli, Powai, Airoli & Navi Mumbai; the walk-to-work concept has become extremely convenient for working professionals who are residing in such locations.”
Many people agreed to this concept and believed that this culture needs to be adopted across the nation, given the everyday challenges a working citizen comes across in order to get to work. Especially in the metropolitan cities where the crowd on the road, and in the public transport screw the life of an individual, owning a house near to their workplace is a dream for many. In cities like Mumbai, where the rainy season’s spell is cast for more than half of the year, integrated complexes are becoming a “dream come true” situation for home buyers. Not just that, cities like Bangalore, Kolkata, and Mumbai, where traffic gets on everyone’s nerve, opting for ‘walk-to-work’ will not only reduce traffic issues majorly, but will also save time for many. During the office hours, a kilometre of travelling in the transport can take up to 30 minutes, whereas residing nearby the workplace won’t take an average person more than 10-15 minutes.
Mr. Anuj Khetan, Director, Vijay Khetan Group says, “Walk to work has always been a dream for most employees but it is only accessible to the top management as the prices of residential apartments are at a premium at designated business districts like Nariman Point, BKC & Andheri East followed by Goregaon and Malad. Upcoming Metro connectivity in Mumbai will be a boon making more affordable northern suburbs of Mumbai more accessible to designated commercial hubs as mentioned earlier. Renting apartments close to work has been seen as a new trend.”
The concept has been popular amongst the millennials especially in the cities that have projects located in vicinity to reputed companies. Mumbai being the financial hub, many developers have come up with such projects that intend to reduce the office travelling time to zilch. Nowadays, homebuyers face a challenge to commute in their day-to-day life and to overcome such a challenge, they prefer staying in studio apartments/compact homes irrespective of the price value.
Commenting on the importance of this trend, Mr. Bhasker Jain – Head Sales, Marketing & CRM, The Wadhwa Group says, “Our cities are distinctly divided between a few business districts and many scattered, often far off residential areas. Reaching to the workplace has become a challenge. Long and stressful commute to the workplace is damaging work-life balance. Such modality is affecting the physical and mental health of the population. To make the ‘walk-to-work’ concept viable, the planning of our cities is essential. As India is witnessing a notable economic growth in recent years, the increasing momentum of the concept is leading to some major constructive consequences. Living in an infrastructure that is well-connected with its surroundings, with offices, daily conveniences, etc. has become the need of the hour.”
Today, there is a gradual shift as the commercial hubs are moving towards the North of the city due to high rentals and soaring prices in the South. Therefore places like BKC, Andheri and Goregaon have evolved as an alternate and viable option for commercial spaces. With this shift, the concept is gaining momentum as the homebuyers are now looking out for apartments that are closer to their workplace.