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Saishree Mohanty, Pune

Lavasa is a planned city located near Pune, Maharashtra. It was developed by Lavasa Corporation Limited, a subsidiary of the Hindustan Construction Company, with the aim of creating a smart and sustainable city. However, despite initial promises of becoming a thriving city, Lavasa has failed to live up to expectations and can be considered a failed city for several reasons.

Controversial land acquisition

The land used for the city was acquired by the Maharashtra government through the use of the Special Planning Authority (SPA) Act, which allowed the government to bypass the usual land acquisition procedures. This led to protests by local farmers and activists who claimed that their land was taken away without proper compensation or consent. The controversy surrounding the land acquisition tarnished Lavasa’s reputation and created negative public sentiment towards the city.

Lack of basic infrastructure

Despite being marketed as a smart city, Lavasa lacked basic amenities such as proper roads, sewage systems, and electricity. The city was also not designed to be pedestrian-friendly, making it difficult for residents to move around on foot. The lack of infrastructure made it difficult for people to live in Lavasa, and many chose to move out or not to move in at all.

High Cost of Living 

Lavasa was designed as a luxury city with high-end apartments and villas, which made it unaffordable for the average person. This meant that the city was unable to attract a diverse population and instead, became a playground for the wealthy. The high cost of living also meant that businesses had to charge higher prices to cover their costs, making it difficult for them to compete with other cities.

Lack of job opportunities

Despite being marketed as a business hub, Lavasa was unable to attract businesses and create job opportunities. This was partly due to its remote location, which made it difficult for businesses to access a large market. The lack of job opportunities meant that people had to commute to other cities for work, making Lavasa an impractical place to live in.

Environmental impact

The city was built on a hillside and required extensive excavation and construction, which led to soil erosion and deforestation. The city also lacked proper waste management systems, which led to the nearby river being polluted. The environmental impact of Lavasa was a major concern for activists and residents alike, and led to legal battles and protests.

Lavasa is a failed city due to a combination of all mentioned factors that have made it difficult for the city to attract residents and businesses. Lavasa has not been able to live up to its initial promises of becoming a thriving smart city. The lessons learned from Lavasa’s failure can be used in the development of future cities, ensuring that they are sustainable, inclusive, and responsive to the needs of their residents.