While the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has set open space standards of four-square-metre per person across city in the draft Development Plan (DP), the civic body’s data showed that the city has a deficiency of 1,590 hectares to meet this standard.
As per the draft DP, the total demand for provision of open spaces in 2034 is 5,116 hectares, while the total provision is 3,525 hectares area marked as public open spaces that includes existing and the proposed reservations on the plots.
This means the city can get 2.76-square-metre open space per person as against the proposed four square metre standards. Currently, the public open space per person is 1.28 square metre. Civic body has included additional 4,308 hectares area as public open spaces.
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These areas include recreational grounds in private layouts, Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP), Aarey Colony, buffer zones along the creeks, nullahs and rivers with others.
As per the draft DP, except Colaba, Malabar Hill, Worli, Bhandup and Mulund, there is huge deficiency of open spaces in rest of the civic wards.
While the civic officials maintained that these areas are being enjoyed by a section of people, the urban planners and activists said these are the environmental assets and not the public open spaces.
“Since these areas are available to the public and very much part of the city, we have considered them as the public open spaces. The reason to add the recreational grounds in private layouts as public open space is that these are available to the citizens residing in the area,” said a senior civic official.
The official also added that public open spaces falling under the special planning authorities have also been included in it.
Activists have said the public open space area has been twisted to meet the standards.
These are the inflated public open spaces just to meet the standards. But it can’t really solve the problem of public open spaces in city.
“Areas such as Sanjay Gandhi National Park and Aarey Colony are an environmental asset. There is need of tangible, accessible, usable open spaces in the city and those are very low if compared with the standards,” said Pankaj Joshi of the Urban Design Research Institute.