Palava: An Innovative Answer to India’s Urbanisation Conundrum

21 January, 2019

How are cities going to address the growing desire to listen and engage with their residents?

India is expected to undergo one of the largest urbanizations ever by 2030, with its urban population growing from 350 million in 2015 (30% of total) to 600 million (38% of total). Imagine adding almost the total population of Europe to India’s urban population over ten years-this is what India faces!

The extraordinary scale and pace of this transition is already placing an enormous burden on cities, and this reflects in their struggle to deliver even the most basic services to their citizens. Housing deficit, poor quality of city planning, vehicular population, rising pollution, poor quality of living and weak governance are challenges to be addressed. As of now, the list of unfinished and unattended items on the urbanisation agenda is long and daunting.

Going forward, whether these new cities become chaotic slums – or become truly sustainable, would depend on how city developers plan and respond to the urbanization challenge. The solution lies in how cities are planned, governed, and provide services to their citizens. Increasingly, experts are reiterating the need of a new model of urbanization that not only strives to improve liveability but also helps plan and build new future cities.

Palava is fast emerging as a case study for a sustainable model for urbanization in emerging economies. In a very short duration since its inception, Palava has become home to 100,000 + population, which is further expected to grow to 500,000 by 2025.Instead of imitating established models, Palava has innovated on how it wants to deal with urbanisation. The city has been designed to accept that infrastructure at this scale of urbanisation can never be sufficient, a high quality life and opportunity can be achieved for every citizen and city governance needs to be sustainable in long term.

Can we build a city where one doesn’t need a private vehicle?

Emerging cities with huge urbanization pressure cannot build sufficient infrastructure to keep up with enormous escalating demand. The move to driverless vehicles or electronic vehicles is great but it does not address the core issue of insufficient infrastructure. A radically different thought in designing cities is thus needed- this is where Palava, designed as the world’s first walking city, steps into the picture.

Palava is the world’s first “green mobility city” with wide footpaths, cycling lanes and e-scooters that save fossil fuels and reduce the carbon footprint. Intelligent city design places everything you need- workplaces, schools, and parks-at just a 5 to 15 minute walk away, saving community costs, minimizing travel time, and improving citizens’ quality of life. 25% green spaces and 60% open spaces enable Palava to maintain the best Air Quality Index of 60-70 in MMR.

Can we create responsible citizens to own and govern their own city?

Professionally run by Palava City Management Association (PCMA), Palava delivers an international standard of governance and public infrastructure at highly competitive costs. Resident councils have been formed where resident experts work closely with PCMA on day to day decision making for the city. All city information including financials are disclosed regularly for residents to evaluate and comment on. Palava’s technology infrastructure has played a key role in governance too and has provided multiple convenient platforms for residents and PCMA to interact with each other. Residents often use social media platforms, Palava’s dedicated app/portal to access information on day to day happenings in the city, access important documents and reach out to PCMA.

PCMA also plays an active role in managing activities to allow residents to interact with each other and foster a sense of community in the city. Cultural events, activity groups and Sports tournaments ensure that residents are party to a vibrant lifestyle all around the year. Palava has a FIFA standard football stadium, full-fledged cricket ground, 9-hole golf course and multiple cluster clubhouses with sports facilities like swimming pool, table tennis, badminton, tennis etc. An Olympic sports arena is being constructed that would be fully operational in the next two years.

Going forward

Palava is well on its way to become a model of innovation for urbanization. It’s getting recognition globally but more importantly, in a short span of 8 years, it has been able to create a vibrant sustainable eco-system, for its thriving community, which focuses on a big city’s aspirational appeal but also addresses its limitations. Innovative solutions delivered in Palava have been very successful and need to become the way ahead for all city planners still struggling with addressing the urbanization challenge.

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Monica Chandwani – A Dedicated Mother & A Palavian

07 January, 2019

I can confidently say that the move from Kalyan (where we previously resided) to Palava some 5 years ago has been the best decision of our lives. Moving to Palava seemed to be a practical decision for us as my husband runs his own business in Badlapur, and this move would have been beneficial for all of us.
While the whole ‘moving to a new place’ thought was running on our minds, the biggest concern for us was our kid’s education. We didn’t want to hamper our son’s routine or compromise on the quality of education. I wasn’t very convinced with the education system at Kalyan and hence, I was apprehensive at first. But, all my worries proved to be futile when we came across Lodha World School (LWS). As we researched and learned more about LWS, we realized that LWS was as invested as I was in my child’s growth. The state-of-the-art amenities, reputed faculties, and extra-curricular activities offered by the school were enough to convince me to opt for LWS. The school hasn’t only helped my child grow academically, but also physically and with emotional values. With Lodha World School being at a cycling distance from our home, the whole commute from home to school and back wasn’t tiring for my child. My kid loves football and is a part of the Palava FC team. The security here is top notch and I can vouch for my son’s safety while he’s playing around the building.

For me, there’s never a dull day here as there are so many activities and facilities made easily available. I am a member of various clubs and actively participate in several activities held in the city.

#PalavaMakesMeMore confident as I begin my journey towards investing in my child’s bright future without any fear.


Bindu Prabhu – A Trained Badminton Player & A Palavian

07 January, 2019

For me moving from Virar to Palava has been a big switch. We moved to Palava in 2015 and since then, I’ve only been in awe of this place and its beauty. We were contemplating shifting to Navi Mumbai keeping in mind our son’s higher education. But, we hadn’t decided on anything concrete, which is when Palava happened. We came across an advertisement for Palava, and we couldn’t resist from visiting their website. The rest, as they say, is history. We visited Palava and were mesmerized on our first visit itself. It’s going to be close to 4 years now and we’re loving it.

Everyone here at Palava is one big, happy family, where each one is supportive of the other and it feels like we live in a joint family.

I used to be a fitness enthusiast, but time was always an issue for me. As and when I used to watch my son Aditya play badminton, I also developed an urge to take up this sport. I started playing badminton in order to stay fit, and I’ve come across people, who have inspired me and supported me every step of the way. I have competed against great opponents who have taught me a lot and helped improve my game, irrespective of winning or losing. One of the most unforgettable moments of my life would have to be the time when I played alongside my son for a mixed doubles match and the best part was when we won as a team. I have practiced and won every doubles match conducted since 2015, including a doubles winner in Palaso’s first edition.

Now, Mita and I are training hard to compete in badminton tournaments outside Palava.

#PalavaMakesMeMore excited regarding what the future holds in terms of my passion for Badminton.


Why Cities Today Are Getting Hyper About Hyperlocal

06 April, 2016

With a startup being one of the most used terms in recent times, it’s time to add a new one to the vocabulary: hyperlocal. In layman terms, hyperlocal is essentially mobile commerce that comprises firms thriving on technology in order to connect local retailers with consumers in a particular area. Though at a nascent stage, Mumbai has seen a handful of hyperlocal startups slowly spreading its wings. These services are now trending and seem to be giving fierce competition to conventional offline models. This probably explains why e-commerce giants too are foraying into the hyperlocal space. Amazon Kirana is already operational as a pilot in Bengaluru. Paytm has launched Zip mobile app and is testing in Bengaluru, and Ola has started Ola store, a hyperlocal grocery mobile app.

Today ‘curation’ is becoming the new buzzword.

If the US is at the apex of the supermarket experience, then India has become the hub of hyperlocal services as the market segment for these services is quite sizable and no one wants to miss out on the opportunity.

Hyperlocal firms can customize their content and offerings based on the location they are in, as each locality typically houses a certain kind of customer demographic. This helps them create a personal equation with their target audience.

The US$18-billion hyperlocal market lets businesses focus on delivery logistics until the last mile while taking the intra-city logistics out of the equation. This business model also enables retailers to save significantly on marketing and advertising costs, as it is taken care of by the very feature of being local.

From the consumer point of view, there are various factors that are responsible for hyperlocals’ growth spurt. To begin with, the Indian consumer is now accustomed (and how!) to online shopping, thanks to e-commerce companies like Flipkart and Snapdeal that trained the consumer early on. This growing trend of online purchases was highlighted in an Assocham-PWC report that said about 40 million consumers purchased something online last year, and this number is expected to go up to 65 million this year. The other factor is the rapid growth in mobile usage. Mobile users are not just utilising their devices for calls or messaging, they are shopping as well. About 11 per cent of all e-commerce sales are through mobile devices, reports say. And the third and major factor that has contributed to the surge in the hyperlocal user base is convenience. Thanks to the diminishing demand-supply gap in the hyperlocal space, consumers can now access everything from a Starbucks coffee to a horde of other services, right at their doorstep, with just one click. With the transition from offline shopping to online purchases, hyperlocal concepts are redefining the e-world.

Palava Local, a hyperlocal initiative introduced by Palava City Management Association, is a step in the right direction. With citizen services encompassing furniture rentals to a book library, Palava Local is bringing convenience closer to home with its web-based offerings via the city’s My Palava app. As a strategic partner of PCMA, RentoMojo seeks to provide an effortless home furnishing solution. With mobility increasing at a never before rate, spending money on furniture and appliances is unnecessarily expensive and cumbersome to deal with if you need to move from one city to another. With renting, people can design the lifestyle of their choice without the hassles and expenses that are associated with purchase of new goods.

RentoMojo’s rental plans ensure that every house becomes a home without spending a fortune on furniture that may not be needed after a few months. With scrupulous quality checks, free maintenance and installation, and flexible payment options, RentoMojo’s offerings are matched perfectly by PCMA’s efforts to reach every house in the city. The packages start at as low as Rs.799/month and vary in price as well as range to ensure there is something for everyone.

From homeowners looking to sublet their home for rent to tenants hoping to save money by cutting unnecessary costs, RentoMojo is the convenient one-stop solution for everyone. Going hyperlocal with Palava also translates to easy availability of high-quality furniture for the residents as well as access to other local services and products such as home appliances and travel accessories.

In the end, while businesses are drawn to large markets that await prompt services, consumers rate convenience above everything else. This is what has made cities ‘hyper’ about hyperlocal.

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Is Palava the Smart City That India Today Needs?

26 December, 2016

Consider these scenarios: A completely Wi-Fi enabled city where citizens can connect to work while resting under a tree in their neighbourhood park. A universal ID card that can be used for cashless transactions and also acts as a key to enter your building with advanced security systems. A dedicated mobile app that can be used in a crisis to summon an emergency response team in less than 10 minutes. Sounds like a Hollywood movie with a plot set in the future?

These features may appear to be somewhat futuristic but are already a reality at Palava, a greenfield first-of-its-kind smart city project coming up rapidly on the outskirts of Mumbai. The project’s uniqueness lies in the fact that a real estate developer is developing it, rather than any nodal agency in Urban Planning. With over 25,000 homes sold in 6 years since its inception, the city is planned to be a home to 4 lac families and have 3.5 lac jobs in its business district by 2025.

For Palava, the city developer Lodha Group has a franchise agreement with Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Co. Ltd for near-uninterrupted electricity supply and solar panels power its street lights. It has a tie-up with General Electric Co. (GE) for 100% flush water recycling, and automated water metering and billing to ensure transparency and zero water loss. The city has also tied up with IBM to incorporate its smarter cities technology using advanced, data-driven systems to integrate information from all city operations into a single system, to improve efficiency and deliver an enhanced quality of life for the residents.

Information technology accounts for only 5% of the total project cost, says Shaishav Dharia, Regional CEO (Palava) at Lodha Group, adding: “The Lodha Group has also set up Palava City Management Association with urban experts and citizens as members to deal with day-to-day issues, as well as a 311 grievance helpline number and 911 emergency helpline number for citizens, and a mobile app. Palava’s smart technology also extends to 500 surveillance cameras that capture real-time data and in future will support facial recognition for entry and have panic alarms every 200 meters. A smart card given to all Palava citizens will allow cashless transactions at retail centres, access to bus service, public Wi-Fi within Palava’s premises, building, and commercial points entry, and information access from the Palava command centre.”

Two operational schools, the Lodha World School and Pawar Public School offer an all established Indian and international syllabi. Shri Ram Universal School (from the stable of “Shri Ram Schools” widely acknowledged as the holy grail of schooling in India) is set to open shortly. “My children and I love to cycle, and we do it just for leisure around the riverside promenade or even to catch the latest movie at PVR at the neighbourhood Xperia Mall! Everything is just a 5-minute ride from my home, therefore, one doesn’t have to rush all the time,” says Tasneem Pithawala, a resident of South Mumbai who bought a golf-course facing villa at Palava in 2013.

The potential for smart cities in India is enormous—something that makes Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s 100 smart cities goal an achievable one. “India’s urban population will reach 590 million by 2030, living in at least 60 cities with a population of more than one million, requiring an investment of $1.2 trillion by the government for their development,” Dharia says.

The Maharashtra State Government has given its nod to the construction of a 21km flyover starting from Kalyan, the first step towards building the Mumbai-Nagpur super highway. In addition to the same, there is 1.7km road tunnel planned to connect Airoli in Navi Mumbai to Shil-phata. And the most recent announcement is that of the 7.5km JVLR-Khoparkhairane-Ghansoli Bridge, to provide a seamless corridor for travelling to Kalyan, Thane, Dombivali, and provide a direct corridor to the upcoming second international airport.

Sharing the plans for the near future, a Lodha Group spokesperson shared that Palava will soon have an Olympic-standard Sports Complex, a Centre for Arts and Culture, 20 schools and much more. While real estate developers often ride the trend wave on impulse, the structured planning and dynamic execution of Palava seems to define the onset of Smart City development in India. Whether this will define the route for others to follow is definitely worth the watch.

This Greenfield project by the Lodha group offers professional sport amenities, recreational gardens and parks and over 60% of open spaces


For enquiries around buying a home at Palava, SMS PALAVA to 52424.


Building Sustainable Frameworks to Make Cities Prosper

07 January, 2017

‘With the growth of a city, the country prospers.’ Today, India is on the trajectory of redesigning its cities to make them citizen-friendly and sustainable. The Government of India has launched ‘Smart Cities Mission’, an urban renewal and retrofitting programme, to develop 100 cities across the country. As the Ministry of Urban Development in India works towards shaping the identity of its cities, Palava Times spoke with Senior Urban Planner for the World Bank, Washington DC and former Mayor for Madrid’s Central District, Pedro Ortiz for his insights on the essentials to design a ‘livable’ city and best practices for its successful growth.

How would you define ‘livability’ in a city?
The concept of livability is culture-related. Every culture will look for different items as the goals for quality of life. If you focus on ‘comfort’, which is most sought after by us, I would say five key essentials that define livability are housing, job opportunities, environmental quality, recreational opportunities and GDP. Housing facilities ensure ‘zero’ annual housing deficit, therefore, eliminates any slum percentage. Job opportunities ensure restriction of the unemployment rate. An ideal rate of unemployment should not be more than 3%. Environmental quality is a crucial aspect of every city as it impacts health and well-being. A city should aim to have its citizens enjoy a life expectancy of 79 years for men and 85 years for women. Most importantly, cities should offer recreational opportunities where citizens can pursue their hobbies while managing their professional commitments. ‘Walk to work’ should be emphasized upon by every planner. An ideal time to commute between work and home should be not more than 30 minutes every day. Lastly, a city’s wealth is a global indicator of livability. If a city’s GDP per capita is in the range of 30,000 USD, it is said to be a good performer.

Which global cities, according to you, have etched a mark for their livability quotient and why?
The most livable cities in the world are the ones in Northern Europe. According to me, the most sought after ones would be Copenhagen, Stockholm and Oslo. They have attained equilibrium between efficiency and equity within a sustainable framework. While some may critique them to be monotonous and lacking culture, they are very efficient and rationale. I mentioned earlier that livability is related to culture, therefore, you see the Italians or the Colombians or the Rwandans prefer to live in their own cities. I strongly recommend that while building cities, we should concentrate on personalizing their infrastructure to make them livable and not simply replicate solutions of others as that may probably not work for us. In simple words, I believe one should be inspired, but should not blindly replicate.

Is the growth of a city and its citizens directly proportional to its livability quotient?
Cities or metropolises grow because they offer hope. Citizens can expect more from one city over the other. People move from rural to urban (350,000 every day in India) because they are looking for a better life with work opportunities and housing options. One changes his or her existing culture and location in the hope that their children will lead a better life in the new place. I believe cities grow because of their ‘expectations’ quotient, not because of their livability.

If not, what is most essential for the growth of a city?
A city with a strong framework and sustainable facilities will always grow. The responsibility of the city managers is to make cities livable and to build them within a sustainable framework. Once things are set right, cities will organically attract people and grow. For the growth of any city, its managers, which means its politicians and civil servants should primarily grow a sound economy that will produce jobs and wealth, provide decent housing that is affordable, well-located and equipped with all the social facilities and ensure fair distribution of city wealth.

How has urban planning evolved?
In the 70s the trend was computational analysis, in the 80s it was community action, the 90s saw conservation of environment, the last decade witnessed bottom-up participation and presently it lies with climate and technology. Today, those concerned with social equity are focusing on sustainability, resilience to food risks and climate change. Those aiming to enhance economic efficiency are focusing on smart cities. I personally feel rather than focusing on a different aspect every decade, we should integrate and focus on them together as that will be more impactful for the citizens.

What is your opinion on cities in India? Do you have any suggestions for them?
India is a remarkable country; its cities are beautiful as they reflect the incredible Indian culture. Indian culture is among the top six cultures of the world today. But Indian cities are under enormous strain due to the explosion of growth in the country. To ease the strain, cities must harness the growth. They need to plan better by focusing on city statistics such as the annual need of housing land services and availability of mass public infrastructure to sustain its population growth. It should strengthen its public administration efficiency and finance capacity. India’s political leadership and collective intelligence of the society can help better cities by putting their priorities right.

How would you design a ‘city’ in India?
I would design with intelligence instead of smartness. I would ensure the fundamental concepts are got right before thinking which technology would be the best to achieve the intelligent goals. It is important to first ensure the basic amenities are provided and then turn focus on using technological smart instruments to further enhance the design of the city.

Which has been your most memorable urban planning projects and why?
From 1996 to 2016, I was given the responsibility to create the Metropolitan Planning of Madrid. It addressed the needs for housing land and public transport for the Madrilenian and it worked very well. I hope the Mumbaikar’s will benefit from the same results out of the recently approved regional plan announced by the Indian Government.

Pedro Ortiz has previously served as Deputy Director of the Council of Architects of Madrid and Director of the Institute for Urban Renewal, a joint venture between the public and private sectors in Madrid. He was also the Founder and Director of the Masters Program of Town Planning of the University King Juan Carlos of Madrid. He is also a member of the Madrid’s City Council (1987-1995) where he was responsible for Urban Prospective (1993- 1995) and for Culture (1991-1993). He served as Director of the “Strategic Plan for Madrid” (1991-1994) and as Director General for Town and Regional Planning for the Government of Madrid Region. He has authored two books, “Regional Development Plan of Madrid of 1996” and the “Land Planning Law of 1997.”

Read more on this work at www.pedrobortiz.com/


Vandana Mehrotra – Marathon Runner and A Palavian

16 November, 2018

It’s seldom that one comes across something- especially a place- that tends to give them so much in return. Palava gave me more than what I could ask for when we shifted to this city. I am a teacher by profession and I teach at Don Bosco School at Matunga. My family and I moved to Palava some 2 years ago and since then, there’s been no looking back. Palava has helped me discover my individuality and learn to appreciate it. I have always been inclined towards running, but never really thought of pursuing it as a hobby. Initially, I started by walking around the complex as I was apprehensive to start running. Gradually, I grew more confident and my running also improved with time. A few of my neighbours saw me running and urged me to participate in the various marathons held in the city. I trained myself for these marathons and I have run numerous marathons till date. I have no qualms about crediting my success to Palava for providing me with the best facilities to practice and for making me realize my dream. I’m very proud of myself today as I have been able to encourage several women of Palava to run for their good health.

My dream of running the Mumbai Marathon was fulfilled in January 2018 when I ran the marathon for 21 km. I’m training myself hard to cover the 42km stretch and I’m sure I’ll get there someday.

My day begins at the crack of dawn, and I go for my morning run at 5 AM. Then, I cook for my family before rushing to work. Once I return from work, I destress myself by going for an evening jog.

#PalavaMakesMeMore committed to running and urges me to keep training and give my best for future marathons.

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Manikant Mudgil – A Software Guru & A Palavian

18 December, 2018

The shift to Palava has been very recent, but I’m already wowed. As a resident of Colaba, this hasn’t been an easy decision for me as I’m an out-and-out South Bombay person. But, when I shifted to Palava, that’s when my perspective about this place took a 360-degree turn. I realized how close Palava is to South Mumbai in terms of the place, nature, and everything else. Since I loved Colaba because of the fresh and clean air, as well as the greenery on all sides, imagine my surprise when I moved to Palava because this place gave me the same exact feeling and did not make me feel out of place. My father served in the Navy and during his tenure, we stayed in Navy Nagar, which was a beautiful place. So, from my childhood itself, I have grown up amidst greenery, clear blue skies and breathing the fresh air around. To my surprise and happiness, Palava took me back to my childhood days, as this place has all the facilities and immense greenery that I have always been so used to since I was a kid.

Another stand out feature for me is that Palava is extremely close to my workplace, Ghansoli- which is also known as the ‘Software Hub’. The short commute allows me to enjoy various other activities once I come back from work. My favourite weekend spot is the mall situated nearby, while the gym and the clubhouse are also where I spend my free time.

The city doesn’t disappoint and stays true to its name – Smart City. Palava is ahead of its time in terms of trends. The free Wi-Fi availability also allows me to work from home.

#PalavaMakesMeMore enthusiastic as I look forward to combining work and other activities with sheer ease.

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Madhuri Amte – A Self-Made Entrepreneur & A Palavian

24 December, 2018

My story is a little different from the rest since I did not immediately purchase a flat at Palava City. I moved to Palava over a year ago on a rent basis, but after having a close look at the whole quality of life and the city’s offerings, I was instantly convinced to buy my own house here, and that too within 3 months’ time.

I have two kids who also love this city as much as I do. My elder one is in college and the younger one goes to Lodha World School (LWS). I never had second thoughts about sending my child to LWS as I was always aware of the school’s top-notch facilities and reputed faculty. I would like to point out to the exceptional safety and security measures that Palava has ensured to all its residents. This is why I don’t mind my daughter walking to her school every day, which is just a short distance away. The residents of Palava are a tight-knit family, where we face all the ups and downs of life together and help each other through all the trying times. I initially conducted tuitions at my home but stopped it as I yearned to spend more time with my family. That is when I decided to start my own business of making homemade farsan, and slowly ventured out and started taking orders for chaklis, sweets, and farsan. In less than a year, everyone loved the quality and the taste of my food, and the orders kept coming. Now, I also have my own catering business and I enjoy the look of satisfaction on people’s faces when I serve them my food at various events in the city.

I’m a happy resident of Palava and like the fact that Palava encourages community living. I look forward to having my own stall in the next event organized at Palava, including Tarang.

#PalavaMakesMeMore eager to create my own identity and pursue what I love at all times.


Anviksha Shah – A Budding Entrepreneur & A Palavian

24 December, 2018

I had been staying at Dombivli for 34 years of my life, so you can well imagine my reluctance when I had to shift to Palava some 5 years ago. I wasn’t sure if leaving my comfortable life of 34 years at Dombivli for Palava was a wise decision, also because I was dreading that I would have to constantly travel back and forth from Palava to Dombivli, which is going to leave me exhausted. But, once I moved to Palava, I was impressed and how!

I am government certified authorised service provider for leave and license agreements at Palava. I have registered numerous leave and license agreements for Palava city residents at the exact government rates.

What attracted me instantly to Palava is the connectivity and how one can go on about their life with ease over her. I have a young daughter and for me, her safety is a priority and Palava provides me with that. One of the biggest achievements for me is enrolling my daughter at Lodha World School as LWS has some of the best facilities and faculties offered to kids, and she loves every minute of it.

I work from home and this city has some great facilities that allow me to work amidst the gorgeous surroundings. I have put myself out there by partly sponsoring as well as appearing as a special guest in the last edition of PALASO.

I feel that Palava City offers me everything I need and more. Today I don’t have to step out of Palava City for anything, as everything is available here. After coming here, I believe age is just a number as the pleasant and natural atmosphere of Palava City always makes me feel young.

#PalavaMakesMeMore responsible towards attaining the perfect balance between business, family and my social life.

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