Areas for Fresh Air Rare in Mumbai

A new study documents exactly how deprived of access to open space the 13 million residents of Mumbai are. The numbers are grim, especially when compared to other cities around the world, and even in India, reports Neha Thirani.
September 4, 2012, 9am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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The new study, published by the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Environment Improvement Society, documents what many have observed: in one of the world's most populous cities, "open spaces are rare, and rarely open." 

According to the study, only 9 square feet (.88 square meters) of open space is accessible per person in the city. "That puts Mumbai far behind other cities in India, and around the world. Delhi and Bangalore offer 15 and 6.4 square meters of open space per person, while Tokyo and New York have 6 and 2.5 square meters, according to research carried out by the real estate company Jones Lang LaSalle."

"As the city government revises Mumbai's Development Plan, looking forward to the next twenty years, officials hope this study will contribute to the planning process," notes Thirani.

The problem does not appear to be insurmountable though. "Although Mumbai's total open space is tiny, the study shows that most Mumbai residents are within a five-minute walk of some open space. However, factors like insufficient visibility, poor signage and lack of access from roads restrict the use of some of these spaces."


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Published on Monday, September 3, 2012 in The New York Times
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