• Dishon Edward

Mumbai: A city with two contrasting Urban Development

Mumbai, which was previously called as Bombay, is a densely populated city on India as it is also the financial center and India's largest city.



On the Mumbai Harbour waterfront stands the iconic Gateway of India stone arch, built by the British Raj in 1924.


It has the highest number of millionaires and billionaires among all cities in India. Mumbai is home to three UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Elephanta Caves, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus, and the city's distinctive ensemble of Victorian and Art Deco buildings.


With that all being said, the urban planning of Mumbai city had can be easily categorized into two extremes.


The rich and the poor


Modernity and slums.


Where did it all Start?


Bombay was not a native city of India, it was created by the British Empire exclusively for trades. The thought of settlement which might eventually turn into a big city was not expected.



The lack of master plan and an unclear path towards design of the city led to a stage where Mumbai was ill-prepared for growth.


When there was no rules of play before them, there came the flexibility for development, where any development through addition and intervention of opportunity for a growth or affirmative development all led to the existing physical structure.


The Two World


The city was not built with a focus on a particular image. The series of evolutionary change had led to the emergence of two worlds.




Since the city was driven by economical aspect from the start, the city eventually was seen developing on the economic difference, which is the Rich and the poor and there was a difference in lifestyle and culture in this two worlds.


In the Architecture point, The slum located in the heart of the city, in a place called Dharavi, which is characterised by houses with metal sheets as roof and livelihood in an unhygienic environment with absence of sanitation with no proper plans and development.


Surrounded by the rich part of Mumbai with the high-rise and art deco buildings all connected by a mass railway network.


Dharavi - The emergence of Slum


The Dharavi slum was based in 1884 throughout a people colonial era, grew partially thanks to an expulsion of factories and residents from the earth middle by the colonial government and the poor rural Indian migrated to the urban Bombay. For this reason, Dharavi is presently a extremely numerous settlement religiously and ethnically.


PC:Jonas Bendiksen


Dharavi has an energetic informal economy within which varied home enterprises use several of the slum residents animal skin, textiles and pottery product are among the products created within Dharavi. the entire annual turnover has been calculable at over US$1 billion.


In 1850, when decades of urban growth below Malay Archipelago Company and British rule, the city's population reached 1,000,000. The geographic region then lined principally the southern extension of city solid ground, the population density was over ten times on top of London at that point.


The most polluting industries were tanneries, and therefore the initial work stirred from solid ground city into Dharavi in 1887. those that worked with animal skin, usually a profession of lowest Hindu castes and of Muslim Indians, stirred into Dharavi. alternative early settlers enclosed the Kumbars, an outsized Gujarati community of potters.


PC: Tripsavvy


The colonial government gave dharavi a 99-year land-lease in the year 1895. Rural migrants trying to find jobs poured into city, and its population soared past one million. alternative artisans, just like the embroidery staff from state, started the ready-made clothes trade.


These industries created jobs, labor stirred in, however there was no government effort to arrange or invest in any infrastructure in or close to Dharavi.


The quarters and little scale factories grew haphazardly, while not provision for sanitation, drains, safe water, roads or alternative basic services.


But still there were certain ethnic, caste and spiritual communities that have settled in Dharavi at that point helped build the settlement of Dharavi, by forming organizations and political parties, building faculty and temples, constructing homes and factories.


Hence any urban development that was brought forth to change the slums in to better place was always been intervened by the native people of that area since it couldn't benefits the small traders in the slums.


That's the main reason why till today it remains unchanged. The population density of dharavi had increased and the margin development for each individual is very huge.

There were many architectural firms, who gave conceptual development for Dharavi but it is very hard to make it to reality.


The Center of Status


During the mid 60's, The development of the city was spreading in the

north-west part of the city. The urge of taking hold of the waterfront which spread the development of 'center of status' which can be seen through the Nariman Point, development in the Navy Nagar, The reason why skyscrapers that are raised from the land are given birth from the sea.



There was no development taking place in terms social issues and in an urban design scale because there was no understanding of planning a city with mixed-use development or in the activity pattern of the city.


The recent proposals and the schemes were not successful since they lacked ideology and they also avoid the class dynamics of the people which was the main part of the city's evolution.


Hence the process of development in micro and macro sector of the city should be considered as priority and the increase in the employment base in the city, which is connected through rail network. Mumbai now has the power to be a big city and by making a change in hidden part of mumbai, a chance where the center of financial capital of India can create lot of profession which can create a great asset to city's future.





#mumbai #citydevelopment #city #urbanfabric #urbandesign #architecture #planning #india #financial #development #dharavi #rich #poor #buildings #artdeco #slum #bombay

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