Mum­bai’s Tryst With Ver­ti­cal Growth - Mum­bai’s DP 2034

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The Bri­han­mum­bai Mu­nic­i­pal Cor­po­ra­tion (BMC) un­veiled Mum­bai’s Devel­op­ment Plan 2034 that rides high on the city’s ver­ti­cal growth and un­lock­ing of NDZ and salt pans for con­struc­tion. The plan wel­comed by many has also re­ceived flak for fall­ing short of be­ing far­sighted. Sapna Sri­vas­tava presents a crit­i­cal anal­y­sis of the city’s ex­pan­sion plan.

The Mum­bai Devel­op­ment Plan 2034, re­cently ap­proved by the Ma­ha­rash­tra govern­ment has in­creased the floor space in­dex (FSI) for both - com­mer­cial and res­i­den­tial build­ings. FSI is the ra­tio of the to­tal area to the built-up area. A higher FSI means de­vel­op­ers will be able to add more floors in a build­ing on a given plot. The key fea­ture of the plan is the grant of more FSI on wider roads with higher FSI pro­vided in the is­land city than in the sub­urbs in a bid to en­hance the ex­ist­ing in­fra­struc­ture. The move has re­ceived mixed re­ac­tions from the real es­tate sec­tor. Some have wel­comed the move, say­ing it will help cre­ate large amount of hous­ing in a space

starved city, oth­ers are ap­pre­hen­sive of the higher FSI linked-pre­mium, while some oth­ers are ques­tion­ing the re­sult­ing live­abil­ity quo­tient of the city and the fear of build­ing ver­ti­cal slums.

Avail­abil­ity Not Nec­es­sar­ily Af­ford­abil­ity

The Devel­op­ment Plan acts as a blue­print for Mum­bai’s growth for the next 20 years and can have far reach­ing con­se­quences for its cit­i­zens. The DP as­sumes that by al­low­ing builders to build more, homes will be­come af­ford­able be­cause of more avail­abil­ity of res­i­den­tial units. Con­tra­dict­ing this fact is the eco­nomic sur­vey re­leased by the Cen­tre, that showed nearly 500,000 homes in Mum­bai ly­ing va­cant. Clearly, sup­ply isn’t the is­sue; af­ford­abil­ity is - as mil­lions of peo­ple still con­tinue to live in slums or “Chawls”. Mum­bai’s DP vi­sion state­ment also pro­poses cre­at­ing 10 lakh af­ford­able hous­ing units by uti­liz­ing 3,300 hectares (ha) of No-devel­op­ment Zones (NDZ) in­clud­ing 130 ha of salt pans, 1,100 ha of tourism zones and 2,100 ha of pri­vately owned lands. The en­vi­ron­men­tal ac­tivists con­sider us­ing salt pans for con­struc­tion dan­ger­ous for the city mak­ing it prone to flood­ing be­cause the salt pan lands act as nat­u­ral sieves dur­ing mon­soon. Town plan­ner and hous­ing ac­tivist Chan­dra shekhar Prabhu had stated that by al­low­ing con­struc­tion on salt pans the govern­ment will kill the last green lungs of the city. He terms the can­cel­la­tion of non-devel­op­ment zone and in­tro­duc­tion of spe­cial devel­op­ment zone for af­ford­able hous­ing as a ploy. BMC plans to in­cen­tivize landown­ers of NDZ land by of­fer­ing them free devel­op­ment on 34 per cent of the land with an FSI of 3 on sur­ren­der­ing 66 per­cent of the land for af­ford­able homes and pub­lic ameni­ties. If he doesn’t, the old NDZ norm of 0.2 FSI will ap­ply. But there seems to be no clear de­mar­ca­tion of spe­cific ar­eas for af­ford­able hous­ing in the NDZ. Civic groups pro­pose the al­ter­na­tive of de­vel­op­ing 2,000 hectares of slum land and 3,000 hectares of land un­der the Ma­ha­rash­tra Hous­ing and Area Devel­op­ment Author­ity (MHADA) and land un­der the Mum­bai Port Trust (MPT) that can pro­vide equal num­ber of af­ford­able dwellings as en­vis­aged in DP 20134.

More build­ings NOT Nec­es­sar­ily More JOBS

An­other con­tro­ver­sial hy­poth­e­sis is the BMC claim of cre­at­ing 8 mil­lion jobs by al­low­ing four times more area for com­mer­cial struc­tures in the Mum­bai Devel­op­ment Plan. As crit­ics point out, that cre­at­ing more com­mer­cial spa­ces is def­i­nitely de­sir­able but it will be fool­ish to as­sume that just by cre­at­ing more com­mer­cial spa­ces, with­out con­sid­er­ing other eco­nomic fac­tors or in­fra­struc­ture devel­op­ment, higher em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties can be gen­er­ated. As per a 2017 re­port by Col­liers, ap­prox­i­mately 13

It re­mains to be seen if such a norm ac­tu­ally serves the in­ter­est of the city or is a skill­ful de­cep­tion. What comes to mind is the Devel­op­ment Con­trol Reg­u­la­tions of 1991 for mill lands clearly al­lo­cat­ing ar­eas for com­mer­cial use, open spa­ces and mass hous­ing use only to be mod­i­fied in 2001 to re­duce the promised 400 acres of city’s share to a mere 60 acres.

per­cent of com­mer­cial space in the city re­mained va­cant. As Hus­sain In­dore­wala, As­sis­tant Pro­fes­sor at the Kamla Ra­heja Vidyanidhi In­sti­tute for Ar­chi­tec­ture and En­vi­ron­men­tal Stud­ies had rightly said, that only al­low­ing builders to con­struct more com­mer­cial spa­ces can­not cre­ate jobs. To go along with such plan­ning, pro­grammes specif­i­cally tar­geted to­wards cre­at­ing jobs are needed.

What’s GOOD about it

Mum­bai’s to­tal area un­der hous­ing is a mere 22% that un­der the new DP will in­crease to al­most 50%. The area re­served per capita for open spa­ces, ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions and of­fices will also in­crease and to add more open spa­ces, a 300-acre gar­den will be de­vel­oped on re­claimed land at Cuffe Pa­rade and an­other at Sewree by the Mum­bai Port Trust. The plan prom­ises to build so­cial in­fra­struc­ture by build­ing the­atres, mu­se­ums, parks, play­grounds, theme gar­dens, old age homes and shel­ters for the home­less. It in­tends to cre­ate multi-pur­pose hous­ing cen­tres ex­clu­sively for women, fa­cil­i­ties like child­care cen­tres and co-work­ing spa­ces. It has also en­vis­aged a new author­ity ded­i­cated to tack­ling park­ing is­sues in the city, from ap­prov­ing park­ing lots to con­cep­tu­al­is­ing poli­cies around the is­sue. The new Devel­op­ment Plan does rec­og­nize the need for devel­op­ment to keep pace for the grow­ing pop­u­la­tion and has pro­posed a geo­graphic dis­tri­bu­tion of FSI in­stead of a uni­form FSI which is a good move. Tran­sit-ori­ented devel­op­ment with higher FSI around sta­tions will work well if planned and im­ple­mented with pre­ci­sion. The new DP also clar­i­fies the FSI cal­cu­la­tions with­out am­bi­gu­i­ties of what ac­counts and what does not ac­count as free of FSI, bring­ing much needed sim­plic­ity and trans­parency, in a way elim­i­nat­ing cor­rup­tion. In the pro­posed DP, FSI will be cal­cu­lated on the ba­sis of

The rich­est civic body in the coun­try is ex­pected to gar­ner around `5,000 crore through its devel­op­ment charge on in­creased floor space in­dex (FSI) in the devel­op­ment plan 2034 (DP). In ad­di­tion, the de­vel­op­ers will

be able to get il­le­gal floors reg­u­lar­ized on pay­ment of a penalty or a pre­mium, pro­vided the new DP al­lows for in­creased FSI on that plot.

the en­tire plot, which will pro­vide more con­struc­tion rights on the plot, in def­er­ence to the pre­vi­ous devel­op­ment rules.the BMC will also in­clude a clause which will en­sure that slum dwellers’ car­pet area of 300 sq ft in re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion build­ings does not in­clude the flat’s wall area. For other con­struc­tions, builders will be al­lowed to count the width of the in­ter­nal wall as part of the to­tal car­pet area, which was not the case ear­lier. BMC has pro­posed that peo­ple would have the free­dom to make changes in the in­te­rior part of their home as per ne­ces­sity with­out dam­ag­ing the struc­tural sta­bil­ity of the build­ing. The DP has also cre­ated sev­eral zones like res­i­den­tial, com­mer­cial, in­dus­trial and two mega park­ing space of 300 acres each in Cuffe Pa­rade and near the Bom­bay Port Trust. Aarey Colony in Gore­gaon has been ear­marked for a Metro carshed, re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion of adi­va­sis from the San­jay Gandhi Na­tional park and a zoo.

con­tro­ver­sial PLAN

The plan, from its con­cep­tu­al­i­sa­tion in 2012, has been rid­den with con­tro­ver­sies such as non-map­ping of city’s slums, show­ing roads end­ing in the sea or mark­ing schools, col­leges, re­li­gious places wrongly forc­ing BMC to scrap the plan in 2015 and re­vise it again. Un­for­tu­nately, the new DP plan is based on the fal­lacy of go­ing ver­ti­cal as the so­lu­tion for all ills - land scarcity, de­con­ges­tion, hous­ing and city devel­op­ment. The in­dis­crim­i­nate hike in FSI if not synced with the en­hance­ment of in­fra­struc­ture and trans­port fa­cil­i­ties can be dis­as­trous for the city re­sult­ing in ver­ti­cal slums and in­fra­struc­ture crum­bling un­der pres­sure. Ar­eas around ex­ist­ing rail­way sta­tions are al­ready burst­ing at its seams and traf­fic chaos is chok­ing the road net­work across the city. The ir­ra­tional den­si­fi­ca­tion of such zones can have a dev­as­tat­ing im­pact on the city, warn ur­ban plan­ners. Pankaj Joshi, Ex­ec­u­tive Direc­tor, Ur­ban De­sign Re­search In­sti­tute, re­minded that in­creas­ing FSI in ar­eas that are sub­stan­tially de­vel­oped will put pres­sure on rail­way in­fra­struc­ture and might lead to more El­phin­stone - like tragedies in fu­ture. The plan has also ig­nored the po­ten­tial of rede­vel­op­ment of slum lands and di­lap­i­dated govern­ment hous­ing that can gen­er­ate ad­di­tional res­i­den­tial units for lower and mid­dle in­come home­buy­ers.

WHAT the realty in­dus­try HAS to SAY

While hop­ing for the best, the ques­tion in ev­ery Mum­baik­ers mind is - will the plan make or break the city. Most of the real es­tate de­vel­op­ers see the new DP as the re­vival plan for the city that will not only boost the real es­tate sec­tor but if ac­com­pa­nied with in­fras­truc­tural growth, can rid the city of woes of hous­ing short­age, lim­ited Grade A com­mer­cial spa­ces and lack of pub­lic & so­cial ameni­ties. Shishir Bai­jal, Chair­man & Man­ag­ing Direc­tor, Knight Frank In­dia, “Key mea­sures such as sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in the FSI for res­i­den­tial devel­op­ment, par­tic­u­larly in South Mum­bai and the thrust on af­ford­able hous­ing through the open­ing up of no devel­op­ment zones and salt pan land would boost the na­tional vi­sion of ‘Hous­ing for All’. An­other un­prece­dented move is the fil­lip to­wards com­mer­cial space devel­op­ment. The burn­ing de­mand for com­mer­cial real es­tate in the

Prin­ci­pal Sec­re­tary of the ur­ban devel­op­ment de­part­ment - Nitin Ka­reer said that max­i­mum stress has been put on mak­ing avail­able more open space. He said that a pro­vi­sion has been made to add 42 hectares of open space. The DP has also des­ig­nated 12,859 hectares as nat­u­ral spa­ces, a new cat­e­gory, where no new con­struc­tion will be al­lowed un­less

per­mit­ted by the Min­istry of En­vi­ron­ment and Forests (MOEF) or if needed for es­sen­tial ser­vices.

The ma­jor con­cern is that no de­fin­i­tive time-frame for im­ple­men­ta­tion has been out­lined. BMC Com­mis­sioner Ajoy Mehta had him­self ad­mit­ted that 1991 Devel­op­ment Plan saw only 20 per­cent im­ple­men­ta­tion. But, this time BMC has con­ceived four 5-year plans with amounts to be set aside in ev­ery bud­get.

space-con­straint city, has re­ceived the govern­ment’s at­ten­tion through in­creased FSI for build­ing of­fice spa­ces.” Anuj Puri, Chair­man, ANAROCK Prop­erty Con­sul­tants, “The DP is likely to spur real es­tate ac­tiv­ity in the city and also pave the way for the devel­op­ment of much-needed af­ford­able houses in the Max­i­mum City. How­ever, if in­fra­struc­ture devel­op­ment does not keep pace with in­creased con­struc­tion, the stress on civic ameni­ties and traf­fic may worsen in the city. Dr Ni­ran­jan Hi­ranan­dani, Pres­i­dent NAREDCO, “For years, Mum­bai’s Devel­op­ment Plans fo­cused on res­i­den­tial real es­tate devel­op­ment. This time around, the fo­cus has been equally placed on com­mer­cial real es­tate, with twin fo­cus – first, on de­con­gest­ing ex­ist­ing CBD ar­eas as also ex­tend­ing the ‘walk to work’ as­pect to newer lo­ca­tions. The Mum­bai Devel­op­ment Plan 2034 brings in a se­ri­ous ef­fort as en­sur­ing the tar­get of af­ford­able homes get con­structed within a rea­son­ably short time, given the open­ing up of var­i­ous cat­e­gories of land on which such con­struc­tion was ear­lier not al­lowed. Sim­i­larly, the DP shows sig­nif­i­cant hikes in FSI for com­mer­cial, re­tail and hos­pi­tal­ity. The FSI hike for com­mer­cial real es­tate is ex­pected to not just en­hance GDP growth, but also en­cour­age em­ploy­ment and eco­nomic devel­op­ment.” Ramesh Nair, CEO & Coun­try Head, JLL In­dia, “We see a mas­sive op­por­tu­nity for af­ford­able hous­ing and the plan has man­aged to main­tain a bal­ance be­tween en­vi­ron­ment and devel­op­ment. There is great prom­ise in this DP and it is sup­ported by a ro­bust fi­nan­cial out­lay for on ground im­ple­men­ta­tion.” Manju Yag­nik, Vice Chair­per­son of Na­har Group, “Given the in­creas­ing pop­u­la­tion and need for more devel­op­ment within lim­ited land, higher FSI for both res­i­den­tial and com­mer­cial devel­op­ment was long due and will cer­tainly come as a boon to the city’s realty sec­tor. The af­ford­able hous­ing tar­gets roar­ing up to 1 mil­lion would fa­cil­i­tate the home­buy­ers with vo­lu­mi­nous op­tions to choose from the vari­ant and chang­ing mar­ket dy­nam­ics. Over­all, the an­nounce­ment will act as a cat­a­lyst to the GDP growth of the coun­try.” Amit Wad­hwani, Direc­tor, Sai Es­tate Con­sul­tants, “The devel­op­ment plan also em­pha­sizes on the non-con­struc­tion area, the theme gar­dens, pay and park con­cept, old-age homes, farm­ers mar­ket ear­marked etc, lead­ing to main­tain the cities green­ery in place. Adding to the Devel­op­ment Plan 2034, the Ma­ha­rash­tra govern­ment has looked into in­creas­ing the floor space and the ex­ten­sion of devel­op­ment of land, across the res­i­den­tial build­ings and com­mer­cial as well. The im­ple­men­ta­tion of

Devel­op­ment Plan 2034 will bring in the easy way of com­mu­ni­ca­tion not only for real es­tate but the en­tire seg­ment here af­ter.” Ravi Ahuja, Se­nior Ex­ec­u­tive Direc­tor, Mum­bai & De­vel­oper Ser­vices at Col­liers In­ter­na­tional In­dia, “I ex­pect higher Com­mer­cial FSI to en­cour­age ex­ist­ing pre­mium and luxury res­i­den­tial plans to con­vert to com­mer­cial, par­tic­u­larly given the stag­nancy in res­i­den­tial sales for pre­mium and luxury seg­ment de­vel­op­ments. Of­fice leas­ing de­mand con­tin­ues to be steady at ap­prox. 5 to 6 mil­lion sf p.a. in Mum­bai” Samyak Jain, Direc­tor, Sid­dha Group, “In a space-starved city like Mum­bai, ver­ti­cal growth was the way to go and the higher FSI will al­low ver­ti­cal devel­op­ment and al­le­vi­ate hous­ing woes along with the sup­port of ro­bust in­fra­struc­ture devel­op­ment in the city. More­over, a city which wit­nesses an in­flux of pro­fes­sion­als on a daily ba­sis, there is a need for larger of­fice spa­ces and the FSI in­crease could not have come at a bet­ter time. This devel­op­ment will also boost em­ploy­ment gen­er­a­tion sig­nif­i­cantly.”

high­lights Of Mum­bai Devel­op­ment PLAN 2034 (DP)

The BMC has re­placed the con­cept of area-based, floor-space-in­dex (FSI) with a uni­form FSI. BMC pro­poses to build 1 mil­lion af­ford­able homes by uti­liz­ing the No-devel­op­ment Zones (NDZS) and Salt-pan lands. All reser­va­tions on NDZ land have been deleted and nearly 3,700 hectares of land in­clud­ing salt­pan land will be opened up. The DP pro­poses the largest ad­di­tions to the city’s de­vel­opable land banks in re­cent his­tory. The 33% of the NDZ land will be used for af­ford­able hous­ing, an­other 33% for open spa­ces and the re­main­ing por­tion may be de­vel­oped by the owner. The new Devel­op­ment Plan 2034 sug­gests to reg­u­lar­ize the space al­ter­ations and of­fers ad­di­tional FSI against the pre­mium amount. Ad­di­tional FSI for rede­vel­op­ment of hous­ing so­ci­eties (which will go up to one ex­tra room for each flat owner) A net­work of roads in salt­pan lands and NDZ lands will be al­lowed to boost in­te­grated devel­op­ment and ease pres­sure on in­fra­struc­ture within the city. Trans­fer of Devel­op­ment Rights (TDR) can now be used any­where in the city, un­like ear­lier where it could only be used to the north of a plot. This could see more ver­ti­cal devel­op­ment come up in within the is­land city as well and not just in the sub­urbs. High-rises in the city can now grow taller with the BMC propos­ing that high-rise build­ings can be­gin be­yond 32 me­ters from the ear­lier 24 me­ters. The BMC cred­its this to the city hav­ing up­graded its fire-fight­ing mech­a­nisms, mak­ing fight­ing fires on tall build­ings eas­ier. Reser­va­tions on land be­long­ing to cessed build­ings have been scrapped. This will make the rede­vel­op­ment of sev­eral thou­sand di­lap­i­dated build­ings in the is­land city much eas­ier. The BMC has pro­posed to re­claim 300 acres of the bay area at Cuffe Pa­rade and con­vert it into a ‘Cen­tral Park’ or green lung to serve as a recre­ational space for peo­ple. The re­vised DP also pro­poses the cre­ation of park­ing author­ity at the mu­nic­i­pal level with the ap­proval of Govern­ment of Ma­ha­rash­tra (GOM). BMC has pro­posed geo­graphic-in­for­ma­tion sys­tem (GIS) map­ping of the avail­able park­ing ar­eas in the city in or­der to de­velop a bet­ter park­ing-man­age­ment sys­tem.

ramesh nair

manju yag­nik

ni­ran­jan hi­ranan­dani

shishir Bai­jal

anuj Puri

ravi ahuja

samyak jain

amit wad­hwani

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