Reaching for the Sky

Torbit - July 09, 2023 - - 0 |

Tall buildings continue to dominate the skyline of the cities with Mumbai topping the charts with the largest number of high-rise buildings. And with more and more tall structures being planned, real estate landscape will witness a big transformation in the coming years.   

A latest report by the CBRE ‘Sky is the Limit: Rise of Tall Buildings in India, reveals that Mumbai commands India’s skyline with a notable share of 77% of the total tall buildings in India. The city has more than 100 tall buildings and is likely to continue leading the construction of tall buildings in future. Its tall buildings command prices at a premium compared to most other cities, making the construction of such developments economically viable in the city. Limited land resources and an exponential increase in urban population have been the primary reasons for the city’s vertical growth over the years. Globally, Mumbai ranks 17th and 14th in Asia among cities with the maximum number of tall buildings (Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat).

Percent share of tall buildings in Indian cities (completed and under construction)

Percent share of tall buildings in Indian cities

Decentralization of growth in Mumbai led to expansion towards the north and east, giving rise to new micro-markets such as Malad, Goregaon, Powai, Vikhroli, and Kanjurmarg, which have transformed from residential outskirts into important city centers. Despite this expansion, land scarcity remains a pressing issue in Mumbai’s urban areas, resulting in high demand and causing a steep hike in land prices. Central Mumbai and South Mumbai, known for their prestige and premium location, have become hubs for high-rise clusters. These densely populated areas enjoy excellent connectivity through public transportation and road networks and command a premium real estate price compared to other parts of the city.

Among other Indian cities, Hyderabad, Kolkata, and Noida account for 8%, 7%, and 5% of the tall buildings in India, respectively. Gurgaon, Bangalore, and Chennai closely follow them, each contributing 1% to the country’s tall building landscape. The report also indicates that nearly 89% of completed tall buildings in India are dedicated residential buildings, while 6% are designated office buildings. Mixed-use structures account for 4% of the tall building landscape, while hotels make up 1%.

 City-wise share of tall buildings in India by their use (Completed, under construction and Planned)

City-wise share of tall buildings in India by their use

Anshuman Magazine, Chairman & CEO – India, South-East Asia, Middle East & Africa, CBRE, says, The current trend in major Indian cities allows for outward expansion. However, it is important to recognize that this approach may not be a sustainable solution in the long term. As a result, it becomes imperative for developers, architects, planners, and policymakers to embrace a vertical growth strategy. Mumbai has already demonstrated the success of such an approach in some locations, but other cities still heavily rely on horizontal development. Hyderabad, for the past few years, has been eyeing vertical growth, presenting another prime example where developers and stakeholders are actively pursuing vertical growth, capitalizing on the favourable Floor Space Index (FSI) regulations in Telangana. Exponential urban migration has led to a need for a well-planned city landscape by way of exploring avenues for growth of tall buildings.”

According to Gurjot Bhatia, Managing Director, Project Management – India, SE Asia, Middle East and Africa, “The urban sprawl has challenges such as limited institutional capacities and fragmented government regulations creating hindrances in implementing a robust infrastructure network and facilitating efficient distribution of resources. Tall buildings in such a scenario provide holistic urban solutions. The tall structures not only help reduce carbon emissions by creating compact environments with efficient mobility features, but they offer branding opportunities, high-quality living standards, and presence in prime locations, attracting investors. Research also shows that densely populated areas have an additional cost advantage in providing basic services.”

 Sustainable Vertical Growth

Going forward, there is a need for sustainable developments for which various recommendations need to be followed

Recommendation for sustainable vertical growth in India


Unified Building Code & Guidelines:

  • Formulate stringent national / state level guidelines regarding choice of materials, vertical transportation, methods of design and construction, etc for development of residential, commercial, hotel, mixed use tall buildings.
  • Develop planning guidelines that encourage the integration of tall buildings into the existing urban patterns.

Skilled Development & Safety Training:

  • Support top institutions / research organizations and enable industry collaborations to drive innovations and build indigenous expertise among architects, engineers, etc.
  • Invest in safety training exercises of:
    • Construction workers to facilitate incident-free sites.
    • Safety personnel to formulate effective evacuation plans in case of an emergency.

Create Awareness:

  • Educate stakeholders regarding the benefits of tall buildings and address concerns related to safety and anticipated impact on local communities.
  • Emphasize sustainable aspects of tall buildings and enlighten stakeholders about effective tools to reduce their ecological footprint.

Forge International Alliances:

  • Foster collaboration with international organizations and experts who have made advancements in construction of tall building technologies.
  • Partner with international developers / architects / planners who have delivered successful projects in other countries and adopt the best practices to the Indian context.

Upgrade Infrastructure Networks:

  • Ensure the availability of efficient infrastructure network in terms of emergency services, transportation, water supply, sewage systems and power supply to support tall buildings.
  • Upgrade existing networks to accommodate future demand in the vicinity of tall buildings.

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