Mumbai Local

When designations are misleading

The reason why planners undertake an existing land use (ELU) survey is to understand realities on the ground before improvements and new developments can be proposed.

An accurate and comprehensive survey is indispensable for a credible plan. When the State government ordered a review of errors in the development plan (DP), it was an acknowledgement of the critical importance of an accurate survey for a good plan.

The MCGM released a ‘designation survey’ for public review and suggestions, but unfortunately, it has more problems than corrections. Though ‘designations’ indicate amenities that already exist and not how they came about or who owns them, the MCGM seems to have confused the existing land use survey with land use proposals. For example, if the 1991 DP had planned a school on a certain plot, but for some reason a hospital was built in its place, the survey ought to ‘designate’ it as a hospital. The MCGM has instead designated it as a school, which is a new land use survey error, not a correction.

In a city that is already extremely deficient in social infrastructure, it is important to preserve amenity plots. An analysis undertaken by Marina Joseph and Aravind Unni of Youth for Unity and Voluntary Action (YUVA) and advocacy group Hamara Shehar Mumbai (HSM) found that the PN Ward has effectively lost 45 amenities, including 10 private hospitals, nine private schools, seven public halls, six open spaces, two welfare centres, two charitable and two municipal dispensaries, a night shelter, and a fish drying yard.

Sufficient and good quality social infrastructure and amenities are central for the achievement of both these aims. The MCGM has to find ways of increasing, not reducing, public lands and amenities in the city. The designation survey seems to be a step in the opposite direction.

Hussain Indorewala is Assistant Professor at Kamla Raheja Vidyanidhi Institute of Architecture in Mumbai

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Printable version | Sep 19, 2020 6:07:35 AM |

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