Magarpatta, India, Asia
Year2000latitude: 18° 30'
longitude: 73° 55'
Initiator(s)Magarpatta Township Development and Construction Company Ltd.
Planning organizationMagarpatta Township Development and Construction Company Ltd.
Nationality initiator(s)
Designer(s) / Architect(s)
Design organizationHafeez Contractor
Target population35,000
Town website
Town related links
Literature- Ahluwalia, Isher Judge and Nair, Ranesh. “Magarpatta: Building a City with Rural-Urban Partnership” May 26, 2010., retrieved on September 9, 2010.
- “Magarpatta: A Dream Town Worth Emulating”. August 30, 2004., retrieved on Febraury 10, 2010.
- McKinsey Global Institute, Shirish Sankhe, Ireena Vittal, Richard Dobbs, Ajit Mohan. India's urban awakening: Building inclusive cities, sustaining economic growth. McKinsey and Company, USA. 2010.
- Panagariya, Arvind. India: The Emerging Giant. Oxford University Press, USA. 2010.
- Ramesh G.,Vishnu Prasad Nagadevara, Gopal Naik and Anil Suraj. Urban Infrastructure and Governance. Routledge, India. 2010. 
- Sinha, Jayant. “A Case of Public Acts and Private Ambitions” In: Outlook Business. September 7-20, 2008. Pp. 30-32.

type of New Town: > scale of autonomy
New Town
Company Town
> client
Private Corporation
Public Corporation
> policy
In the 1990s, the Magar clan brought together 140 local families and became the first farmers to develop their own land into a new town. As landlords, they continue to profit from what would have otherwise been a one-time sale to a developer. This financial success story has made the new town an inspiration for other farming communities in a country where land is swiftly evaporating.

Magarpatta lies in Pune District, Maharashtra, just five kilometres from the sprawling city of Pune. The farming community started to notice the city slowly leaking over its borders, drawing closer each day as urban sprawl began to close the gap between them.

Just one decade ago, what is now the most famous township in India was fields of sugarcane. The much-lauded rags-to-riches story began in the early 1990s, when hundreds of members of the Magar clan were under pressure to sell their farmland to developers, who subsequently reclassified an agriculture land to a building site and thus increased their profit. Some farmers did sell, and their quick profits seemed enviable – until the money ran out; and farmers found themselves destitute and landless.

In 1993, Satish Magar (at that time only a member of the Magar clan, now the managing director of Magarpatta Township Development and Construction Company (MTDCC)), the educated farmer with a political and landowner background, came up with an idea to convert traditional farmers into entrepreneurs and let them, rather than developers, benefit from their land holdings.

It was in 1982, when Pune development plan tagged Satish’s ancestral lands as “Future urbanised Zone”. This allowed the Government can easily acquire the land under the Urban Land Ceiling Act of 1976 (repealed in Maharashtra in 2007). The Act limits the amount of land available for purchase by individuals and private companies, effectively giving government bodies a monopoly over large tracts of land. With some efforts and political contacts, Satish and his family managed to get the identified as “Agriculture Land”. But he knew that with growing population and commercial needs, they would eventually lose the battle to the rapid urbanisation. Satish started to negotiate. He talked to the government, (the well-known Mumbai architecture) Hafeez Contractor, other local architects and engineers and succeeded to convince them to give up the plan and follow his own one.

Master plan
After the farmers set up the MTDCC, the company hired Hafeez Contractor to develop a master plan for the city. The plan was submitted to the Pune Municipal Corporation and the government of Maharashtra in 1993, and approvals came through in 2000. The seven long years between submittal and approval gave the farmers plenty of time to reconsider their impulsive choice.

When an approval for the master plan finally came out, the Magarpatta Township Development and Construction Company started building houses. The houses went up in four different sections, with each section developed in various stages. Although the town itself is a walkable scale, each section has a separate commercial centre filled with restaurants, shops, clinics, banks and supermarkets. Two years later, Magarpatta became an ISO 9001:2008 certified township, a title that carries numerous advantages in Maharashtra state. The state government has qualified the town as a chartered township. A chartered township is one that occupies at least 100 acres of continuous land, makes available abundant clean water supply at all times, ensures reliable power, designates at least 60% of the total area for residential purposes and at least 20% for green space, and offers schools, a college, a hospital and a fire station. Limited land availability coupled with high demand for housing, an exploding population and higher disposable incomes has contributed to the widespread adoption of the integrated township model. Integrated townships are seen as the solution to commuter problems and increased standards of living. Each integrated township must provide a school, a healthcare facility, recreation spaces and a community centre. Commonly hailed as the answer to India’s urban problems, integrated townships are a way of providing relatively inexpensive housing while also decreasing the demand on infrastructure.

In the centre of the new town, a 25-acre round park named Aditi Garden provides a vital recreation and leisure destination. A 1.2-acre man-made lake adds to the park’s appeal. The edge of the circular park is ringed by twelve IT complexes. The office buildings average nine stories in height, creating a feeling of semi-enclosure in the public space.

Magarpatta has fourteen residential developments, all of which are named after flora and fauna (Daffodils, Cosmos, Grevillea, Erica, Acacia Gardens, Roystonea, Heliconia, Iris, Jasminium, Mulberry Gardens, Trillium, Sylvania, Laburnum Park and Zinnia). Two of these neighbourhoods are made up of individual bungalows, while the rest are characterized by multi-storey apartment buildings. The housing targets the working middle class.

Today, 8000 homes, divided into 28 neighbourhoods, provide housing for the city’s 35,000 inhabitants. Each neighbourhood is made up of similarly-styled apartment blocks, row houses or private bungalows. Everything is constructed from heavy concrete frames and brick walls, produced in the city by enterprising former farmers. In order to maintain the close-knit community feeling of the new town, MTDCC hosts various gatherings and social events.

In Magarpatta’s large residential areas, the centre of each neighbourhood is occupied by a semi-private green space and a community clubhouse available for parties, meeting, etc. This organization is meant to reflect the traditional “chawls” of Girgaum, Mumbai, a historical neighbourhood structure known for stimulating intimacy and familial relationships among tenants.
The planners of the city have given explicit importance to the ecology of the surroundings. About 120 acres (30%) of Magarpatta City has a lush green natural carpet. Plus garden traffic islands and glorious fountains add to the city’s panoramic beauty.

Through its sustainable development model, Magarpatta City introduced eco-friendly development. The environmental commitment is evident in several special programmes initiated by the residents. One such programme is a recycling plan that requires garbage to be separated at its source. The monthly average of 400 tons of household waste breaks down into 280 tons of biodegradable waste that is then used for compost and vermiculture throughout the new town. A biogas plant also breaks down waste into usable energy. In a more visible environmental pledge, solar panels top the roofs of every apartment building in Magarpatta. The panels are primarily used to heat the water used by occupants for domestic activities. A rainwater harvesting system collects runoff through underground pipes, to be filtered and then reused in garden irrigation.

Current situation/Results
Magarpatta City has won many national and international awards for its uniqueness and novelty. It has won accolades in the 2008 Sidney World Congress of Metropolis. Maharashtra Economic Development Council lists Magarpatta City amongst the 'Top 10 success stories of the state'. The City has also been mentioned in the Limca Book of Records for having largest solar water heating system. Furthermore, the IT Park, Cybercity Magarpatta, at the centre of the town belongs among the biggest private developments of Software Technology Parks of India (STPI).

One decade after construction began, Magarpatta has proven to be a financial success for the (120) farmer families, who initially invested in the project, as well as for their children. At its conception in 1994, the farmers’ collective was unprecedented; today, this new town has become a working model for other farmers, who risk losing their ancestral land to insatiable developers. In July 2009, Magarpatta Township Development and Constructions Ltd., announced the launch of its second project. Nanded City, a 700-acre township on the Pune-Sinhagad Road, follows the farmer-cum-developer strategy first used in Magarpatta. Since Magarpatta’s success, many new townships in Pune have drawn inspiration from the model, including Amanora, Blue Ridge and Megapolis, proving, perhaps, that imitation is the highest form of flattery.

source: Rachel Keeton

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