As green outdoor spaces shrink in urban areas, most home buyers now prefer to buy homes that offer ample open space and greenery within the residential complex, to enjoy the benefits of nature and to lead a healthy lifestyle. One such home buyer is Aniket Mehta. “I bought a house in a residential complex in the western suburbs of Mumbai, which has a play area for children. Of course, compared to standalone buildings, flats in gated communities are a bit more expensive. Nevertheless, I feel that it is important for children to play outdoors, as physical activity helps sensory development, prevents childhood obesity and it teaches children to develop different competencies, including being part of a group and exploring their environment,” says Mehta.
Open spaces in realty projects a luxury in metro cities
However, having open spaces in real estate projects in metropolitan cities, is a luxury. “With increasing land prices in central areas, developers try to utilise every inch of the available FSI. Generally, as a buyer, if one is looking for open spaces and gardens, one needs to look at projects in the outskirts of cities or in satellite cities. Projects along the peripheral areas of cities, are able to provide open spaces and gardens and are using such amenities as unique selling points of their projects. Even in projects within the city, many developers are trying to provide open areas, by developing rooftop gardens, podium parking, etc.,” says Surabhi Arora, senior associate director, research, Colliers International.
The lack of open spaces and maintenance of greenery, reflect the failure of urban planning, to some extent, maintains Mudassir Zaidi, executive director – north, Knight Frank India. “Therefore, the need for open spaces arises within housing complexes. The ability to create open spaces, is only available in cities where new projects are coming up, like in Delhi NCR, where there are large projects spread over ten acres. Even in the south, cities like Bengaluru have open spaces in new projects. However, in a city like Mumbai, the scarcity of land makes it difficult to execute projects that have open areas. Nevertheless, projects that offer such facilities, generate more demand,” Zaidi explains.
Consequently, it is the buyers who have the ability to pay a certain premium, who opt for complexes with such amenities. “Home buyers are looking for projects that provide more than the basic facilities like a club house. We have also seen developers coming up with themed projects, like sports-driven themes, as these have also been preferred by home buyers,” adds Zaidi.
Types of recreational amenities in modern residential projects
It is a proven fact that natural surroundings can relieve stress, rejuvenate one’s mind and encourage physical well-being. Living amidst nature enhances our psychological, emotional and spiritual well-being. Besides being a space for exercise, gardens in housing societies also act as social spaces, where the residents can build social networks.
“Green spaces or open spaces in projects are essential, as these areas allow the residents to partake in outdoor activities like playing sports, walking or relaxing with one’s family after a long working day. Nowadays, projects incorporate such spaces in different forms, like parks, cycling tracks, jogging tracks, yoga zone, children’s play area, vertical gardens, water bodies, etc. Especially in metros like Delhi, Bengaluru and Mumbai, creating a plethora of amenities in open spaces, is the need of the hour,” says Yashodhan Tere, head of architecture and interiors at the Wadhwa Group.
As the demand and preferences evolve, the developers are also trying to keep pace with home seekers’ aspirations by providing such facilities. Amenities like open space for physical activities, are not just a luxury but are now becoming the norm in most of the middle to high-end housing projects.