Mumbai is the second most overcrowded city in the world, trailing just behind Dhaka, according to a 2017 World Economic Forum report. Starved of land, it has crammed in, on an average, 31,700 people in every square kilometre of developable space available. The city’s Development Plan-2034 is set to compound the situation. While the plan has proposed to release 3,734 hectare of government and privately owned land, previously tagged as no-development zone (NDZ), town planners feel it has failed to address the crushing densities the city is saddled with. Here’s what to expect once the plan is adopted.
The DP-2034 has aims at creating 10 lakh affordable homes by infusing 3,734 hectares of NDZ land into the developable land bank. Owners of these lands can utilise the full development potential of the plot if they surrender one-third of the built-up space for open spaces and institutional buildings, and another one-third for low-cost housing, to the Mumbai municipality. This is the largest addition to Mumbai’s developable land bank in recent times.
To create jobs, the DP has hiked FSIs for commerce, retail and hospitality sectors. An FSI totalling five times the plot size has been provided. While officials say that hike in FSI for these special projects had taken into account the infrastructure upgrades in Mumbai, town planners claim the hikes have come without indexing the availability of physical and social infrastructure. The city’s net bulk FSI has increased further. The goal is to increase the land area under residential cover from 22 per cent to 50 per cent, while enhancing the commercial use by at least 40 per cent, officials said.
Public open spaces
Mumbai currently has a per capita open space availability of less than 2 square meter, far lower than the national average of the 10 to 12 sq m. Officials said provisions to enhance the availability of per capita open space to 4 sq m have been incorporated in the new plan. Two large central parks in Colaba and Mumbai Port Trust land in south Mumbai have been proposed. The municipality has also hiked standards for educational amenities and healthcare facilities. But the DP document itself admits that the past implementation has been poor. The new plan has now proposed more incentives for those voluntarily surrendering or building amenities on reserved lands.
In a break from the past, the new plan has made spatial provisions for social amenities — women hostels, orphanages, welfare centres, shelters for the homeless and old age homes. Land have been earmarked for building art galleries, museums, open-air theatres, auditoriums and planetariums. Provisions have also been made to make civic infrastructure more disabled-friendly. In a push to Mumbai’s nightlife plan, provisions have been made for new food courts, temporary hawking zones and weekly bazaars.
The sanctioning of the DP is just the first step for the city’s renewed development. The biggest challenge has been implementation. For instance, only 20 per cent of land use reservations of the existing plan could be developed. Admitting that it did not have the resources to acquire all land reserved in the new plan (estimated to cost Rs 25,000 crore), the government has further incentivised the accommodation principle and transferable development right policies, in anticipation of enhanced private participation in developing reservations.