Properties that offer homes and Grade A office spaces in close proximity encourage a walk-to-work culture that saves commutes, enhances lifestyles, and provides greater convenience and safety, particularly in this COVID-19 era.
The concept of #walking to work has been gaining ground the world over for some years now, as cities have increasingly grappled with choked streets, overcrowded transport systems, pollution management, and productive time lost owing to long commutes. In a post-COVID-19 world, there are now the added factors of safety and social distancing to consider; who would have imagined that Mumbai’s local train network, the lifeline of this metropolis, would grind to a halt for such reasons! As a Cushman and Wakefield study of 40,000 working professionals pointed out, having everything at one’s doorstep also offers a safer environment, and this has become an even more important factor in our COVID-19 times.
San Francisco, with 265,000 weekday commuters, is not just a walking city; it even has a Walk to Work Day to celebrate the fact. In Milan, COVID-19 has paved the way for 22 miles of roads, formerly used by cars, to be turned into walking and cycling paths. There are many other such instances globally.
We’ve been seeing the trend slowly picking up in India too, and I expect that it will increase. About 25 years ago, when the concept of integrated townships began to become popular here, it introduced homeowners to the idea that they could live and work in the same vicinity, with easy access to other facilities such as schools, retail, and leisure options. Getting to work could be just a matter of walking to the office a few minutes away, rather than commuting long hours in crowded public transport and on busy roads. This proximity also meant being able to go home for lunch, and having more time to spend with the family, or on other pursuits, after returning from work. Avoiding clogged and often flooded streets in busy cities like Mumbai and Pune during the monsoon also proved to be appealing, and #millennials particularly grabbed the concept wholeheartedly.
A key factor in the development of the ‘walk-to-work’ culture in India was the growth of IT and ITeS zones. A report I read in 2018 pointed this out and referred to cities like Pune and Mumbai as being among those where #housing projects were located in the vicinity of IT companies. Since Mumbai is the financial capital, it has always been in demand, and Pune, being the software hub of the country, is at the forefront too.
In Mumbai, new central business districts (CBDs) and secondary business districts (SBDs), designed to take the pressure of the commercial hub of Nariman Point, contributed to this trend. While land for townships may have been limited in this city, the growth of these new work districts close to residential areas offered greater convenience to Mumbaikars.
Walking to work also helps people save both time and money, but there are other very important benefits. As many who have tried this would agree, it’s much better for one’s well being and mental health than driving. It’s also well known that walking helps control weight, and lowers the risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Plus, it works wonders for the mind; as the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche said: “All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking”. Walking with a purpose – such as with the goal of getting to work on time – has particular advantages. A study I read about recently found that people who walked with some intention reported better health than those who walked mostly for leisure. Walking to work also has positive impacts on the environment and levels of pollution, which further enhances our quality of life and good health.
Property developments designed for walking to work, with the proximity of homes and workplaces, are also vital in this post-COVID-19 era; they reduce the need for public transport, facilitate social distancing norms and enhance business continuity even in troubled times. In my view, in fact, they would be key to building market momentum.
“Most of Mumbai spends two hours commuting to and from their workplace every day. That translates to about ONE MONTH every YEAR spent in transit. Now imagine if you got one extra month every year with your family or to pursue that hobby that you could make time for”.
At Supreme Universal, we have always been guided by our Founders’ vision to ensure superior lifestyles and utmost convenience to customers. At a time when the world is taking a pause to rethink the vital concept of work-life balance, we renew this commitment with our projects in prime locations. For us, the ability to create projects that offer a quality lifestyle with both Homes and Grade A Office Spaces in close proximity is a prime consideration.
As our commitment to this vision, we are now developing Grade A boutique office spaces in Bandra to bridge the huge demand-supply gap and get quality office spaces closer to people’s homes.