Less Plans on Paper, More Practical Thinking Needed for Mumbai

Every 20 years, the Municipal Corporation of Great Mumbai (MCGM) publishes a Development Plan. Kristen Teutonico argues that past and current plans have been too grand for implementation and that the City should focus more on smaller-scale projects.

"The Development Plans always seem to hold the answers for a balanced and socioeconomically rational city," writes Teutonico. "But while they go into great detail on paper, the city never quite follows through on the implementation with equal rigour." Since 1964, the plans have focused on alleviating problems including sprawl, overzoning, inadequate infrastructure, housing, and transportation. "All of which," considers Tuetonico, "as of the end of 2012, are still alarmingly present."

The lack of implementation, argues Teutonico, is due to new plans being developed before old problems can be addressed, a twenty-year lag behind changing conditions, and a government more interested in economic gain from investing in wealthier neighborhoods. Corruption and elitism need to be curbed, believes Teutonico, but "[i]n the meantime, rather than grand abstract plans every twenty years, what the city needs more of are practical and proactive thinking to pinpoint problems and solve them with articulated design solutions that have timelines, budgets and schemes that are easily attained." She mentions increasing public participation, building new public spaces, and establishing new bus routes as three small-scale, but realistic, plans that Mumbai can start.

"Large answers are not always the way to deal with large problems, and the web of tangles in Mumbai is too complex to unravel in one grand sweep," states Tuetonica. "In rethinking the grandiose nature of the Development Plan, perhaps the government can engage in smaller scale implementation ss [sic] and allow new regulations and ideas to take centre stage so that Mumbai can begin to envision its future and move beyond its paper urbanity."

Full Story: City of paper urbanism: how Mumbai can make plans it may actually implement


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