18 May, 2021

The Monsters At The Back

Mumbai is poised for a 2034 development roadmap. Planners are thrilled, ecologists are apprehensive.

Old, New
High-rises come up beyond tile-roof businesses in Lower Parel
Photograph by Apoorva Salkade
The Monsters At The Back

For all the vibrancy and glamour, Mumbai has a flip side: more than half of its population lives in slums. In the past two decades, it is the Slum Rehabilitation Auth­ority that has built close to 10 per cent of the city’s expected houses. The western metropolis has one of the worst per-capita open space ratios anywhere. Yet, more than one lakh of its fully constructed apartments have been lying quietly in the unsold inventory of the real estate ind­ustry that was thriving till not very long ago.

This, when Mumbai is the world’s second-most densely populated city, with a density as heavy as 31,000 people per sq km. Simultaneously, there is an unprece­dented slump in the real estate industry. Ironically, that is amid a governmental promise to build 20 lakh affordable houses by 2022 in Maharashtra.

So, why talk of all this now? Well, beca­use of a move now to entirely reorder a city already at its edge. The latest anno­uncement is DP 2034—a ‘development plan’ or blueprint on how to expand the metro in the next 16...

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