In a bid to improve urban planning for the city, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is planning to set up a separate urban planning department soon. With the civic body currently in the process of drafting the city’s new development plan (DP) for 2014-34, the proposed department will ensure that the policies and proposals for the city’s infrastructure are properly planned and implemented.
The department, which was first mooted as part of the BMC’s budget plans, is expected to take off within a month. Apart from civic officials it will also include experts from the housing sector, environmental planning and the traffic department, among others.
According to the Urban Development Plan Formulation & Implementation (UDPFI) guidelines issued by the Ministry of Urban Development, each civic body is required to have a department dedicated to perform the functions of spatial planning.
Spatial planning relates to making and implementing decisions on locations and distribution of land use. It is of great importance in a city like Mumbai, which have limited land resources to be distributed for public and private purposes, thereby affecting the quality of life of citizens, said a civic official.
The proposal to set up a separate urban planning cell also includes creating a systematic GIS (Geograhic Information System) database with accurate large-scale maps and multi-dimensional data of land use, population pattern etc. “Such spatially organised data would have potential for helping and monitoring other sectoral plans such as education, health, fire protection etc,” Municipal Commissioner Sitaram Kunte had said in his budget speech for 2013-14. “As part of this urban planning cell, a full fledged GeoSpatial Data Infrastructure cell is also being planned, which will facilitate creating and maintaining of updated GIS database including utilities mapping underneath roads to meet all the data requirements regarding land use and to augment in monitoring developments in the city,” the commissioner had said.
According to a preparatory studies report recently prepared by the BMC, the city needs to free up to 46.65 sq km (equivalent to over 10 per cent of its size of 458.28 sq km) for health, education, social amenities and open space requirement for its residents over the next 20 years.
The 280-page report, jointly drafted by BMC and Group SCE India Ltd, a 100 per cent subsidiary of French consulting firm EGIS Geoplan, was submitted to Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan in November last year. It compares the existing DP (1991-2013) with its actual implementation, and suggests future projections. A DP is a blueprint for developing the city over the next 20 years.