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Mahindra World City brings together eminent panelists in its 2nd edition of 'Confluence - Building the Future Together'

Experts from Academia, Industry, Culture and Policy Makers meet on building Sustainable Cities


L.R. Anita Arjundas, MD Mahindra Lifespace Developers Ltd, Dr Shirish Shanke, Director McKinsey & Company, Sanjna Kapoor, Co-Founder Junoon Theatre, Rajeev Ranjan IAS, Principal Secy to Government of Tamil Nadu, Highways and Minor Ports Department, Sangeeta Prasad, Chief Executive Officer, Integrated Cities and Industrial Clusters, Mahindra Lifespace Developers Ltd, Anshuman Magazine, Chairman and MD, CBRE South Asia Pvt Ltd

Chennai, March 6, 2014: Mahindra World City, Chennai today hosted the 2nd edition of 'Confluence - Building The Future Together' a thought leadership platform conceived by Mahindra World City. The objective of this forum is to have result-oriented dialogues with peers, sharing thought leadership expertise and best practices in integrated urban solutions with government leaders and industry experts.

The theme of Confluence this year is " Sustainable Urbanisation - Opportunities & Challenges in India" with a focus on "Planned Urbanisation: Way Ahead for India"

Commenting on this event, Anita Arjundas, MD, Mahindra Lifespace Developers Ltd and Member of the Group Executive Board said, "Cities are not just engines of economic growth but also hotbeds of innovation and creativity. Nurturing the soul of cities and creating environmental resilience are as important as building economic vibrancy. Forums like Confluence provide an opportunity for policy makers, planners, practitioners, and academia to come together and evolve sustainable frameworks for the future of our cities."

Today, the world calls for very evolved, mature and sustainable infrastructure creation and urbanisation. The concept of an evolved urbanisation lies in managing and seeking to improve environmental, social and governance performance, acting not only in the developer’s interests, but also the interests of the stakeholders, and communities.

With this in mind, Confluence hosted two panel discussions including one on ‘Sustainable and Inclusive Urban Development with a focus on improving existing cities’. Moderated by Dr. Shirish Sankhe, Director, McKinsey & Company. India, it featured a range of experts including Ms. Sanjna Kapoor, Co - Founder, Junoon Theatre; Mr. Rajeshwar Tripathi, Chief People Officer - AFS, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd; Mr. Sanjay Shridhar, Strategy Head - Urban Development and Accessibility, EMBARQ India; Prof Ashok B Lall, Design Chair, Kamla Raheja Vidyanidhi Institute for Architecture and Environment, Mumbai and Raj Cherubal, Director Projects, Chennai City Connect.

Ms Sangeeta Prasad, Chief Executive Officer, Integrated Cities and Industrial Clusters, Mahindra Lifespace Developers Ltd said, "We at Mahindra World City are striving to create urban centres which are anchored on industrial development, economic growth and job creation. The endeavour is to create global standard infrastructure to attract best in class corporates to invest in facilities within these spaces; and Residential and Social Infrastructure to catalyze a self-fulfilling ecosystem. We believe that Confluence will help us collectively gain strategic insights into leadership and governance and the latest thinking on urban livability and sustainability as well as influence a larger group of persons."

The discussion focused on the role of state governments in driving sustainable and inclusive urban development, while highlighting some of the measures underway in the current scenario. It also discussed the measures required to achieve this objective, and other sustainable urban technologies relevant to Indian cities across various parameters including housing, water supply, energy, and solid waste management. The panel also looked at softer aspects that make a city great including so called Life Elements that build the character of a city. These include social, retail and educational infrastructure and the private sectors role in enabling this change.

Dr. Shirish Sankhe, Director, McKinsey & Company who curated the event commented, "The Indian urban population will grow rapidly in the next 20 years, from 30% to 40%. This mean an additional urban population of close to 250 million, equal to the size of the United States. We now need to shift our perception of urbanisation and look at it as an opportunity and not as a problem. To maximize this opportunity, we need to fix our macro-policies on how we govern, how we fund and how we plan our existing and new cities. Turning around our cities will be critical to India's future economic growth and social equity."

The second panel discussion looked at ‘Sustainable and Inclusive Urban Development with a focus on developing New Integrated Cities: Opportunities and Challenges’. This discussion was moderated by Mr. Anshuman Magazine, Chairman & Managing Director, CBRE South Asia Pvt. Ltd. The participants for this panel included Mr. Rajeev Ranjan, IAS, Principal Secy., Govt. of Tamil Nadu- Highways and Minor Ports Dept. Mr. Arijit Sen, Country Managing Director, Parker Hannifin, India; Mr. Mathew Joseph, Member of Executive Management, HDFC Ltd; Dr. Leena Srivastava, Vice Chancellor, TERI University & Hony. Executive Director, TERI; Dr. Arbind Prasad, Managing Director, Invest India and Director General, FICCI.

Panelists highlighted the key challenges faced while planning the development of a new industrial city, the ways to maximize IRR from new city developments, the kind of ecosystem required to make such a city successful, what this success looks like, and the learnings from Mahindra's experiences with city development.

Other aspects included the role that technology providers play in the development of new industrial cities; and the challenges encountered while setting up operations in a new integrated city, compared to an existing city in terms of infrastructure, employee movement, safety, transport and livability.

The panel also looked at the institutional and policy levers required to streamline the development of such a city within a time bound manner; the states that have been able to do this successfully and what can they do better, along with insights based on Mahindra’s experience in this regard.

Anshuman Magazine, Chairman & MD, CBRE South Asia Pvt. Ltd says, "Sustainable and inclusive urban development is of particular importance for India at this juncture of its economic growth. With the urban infrastructure of our major metropolitan cities bursting at their seams owing to increasing urban migratory patterns and a growing population, the development of new integrated cities has become the need of the hour. Such planned design and development of new urban landscapes should not only address present needs, but should be capable of accommodating future requirements as well. ‘Planning’ being the keyword in this context, there is a rising requirement for the integration of economic, social and environmental approaches towards development."

The discussions concluded on the topic of whether great infrastructure makes a new integrated city 'great', the challenges involved in enriching the Life aspect of a new urban center, engineering engagement opportunities and socially inclusive hangouts which are paramount to building up the Life aspect of a new city, and its importance in enhancing the quality of life, growth and prosperity.

About Mahindra Lifespaces

Mahindra Lifespace Developers Ltd., the real estate and infrastructure development business of the $16.7 billion Mahindra Group, is a leader in sustainable urban development, through the creation of residential and integrated large format developments across nine Indian cities - Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur, Gurgaon, Faridabad, Jaipur, Chennai, Hyderabad and Bangalore. The Company's residential & commercial development footprint includes over 0.8 million sq.m. (8.3 million sq ft) of completed projects and over1.0 million sq. m. (11.3 million sq. ft.) of ongoing and forthcoming projects.

Mahindra Lifespaces has pioneered the concept of an integrated business city through 'Mahindra World City' developments in Chennai and Jaipur. These developments cover 1862 hectares (4,600 acres) and house over 100 reputed global companies, providing an integrated environment for Life, Living and Livelihood. The Company’s ‘Green’ homes, pan-India presence, and the development of successful integrated cities have all contributed to Mahindra Lifespaces being recognized as a developer with a pioneering spirit. Mahindra Lifespaces is the first real estate company in India to release its triple bottom-line focused Sustainability Report that is based on the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) framework and received an A+ rating indicating the highest levels of disclosure and transparency.;

About Mahindra

The Mahindra Group focuses on enabling people to rise through solutions that power mobility, drive rural prosperity, enhance urban lifestyles and increase business efficiency.

A USD 16.7 billion multinational group based in Mumbai, India, Mahindra employs more than 180,000 people in over 100 countries. Mahindra operates in the key industries that drive economic growth, enjoying a leadership position in tractors, utility vehicles, information technology and vacation ownership. In addition, Mahindra enjoys a strong presence in the agribusiness, aerospace, components, consulting services, defence, energy, financial services, industrial equipment, logistics, real estate, retail, steel and two wheeler industries.

In 2012, Mahindra featured on the Forbes Global 2000 list, a listing of the biggest and most powerful listed companies in the world.
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