How much is planned for Navi Mumbai

New Bombay / Navi Mumbai and Hiranandani Gardens

Report on a day in two "sub-cities of the 21st century" in Mumbai (February 18, 2007)
(This day was part of a three-week excursion through ten Indian cities, organized by the Institute for Urban Development of the German Academy for Urban Development and Regional Planning)

Harald Kegler

New York is not America, but America cannot be understood without New York. Bombay is not India, but you would not have seen India without Bombay. Bombay (Mumbai) is a city of modernity. It has been an artificial settlement from "birth", reclaimed from the sea and modernized again and again. It is the symbol of the subcontinent, its economic heart and at the same time a city of superlatives without showing the typical features of a global city in appearance. Bombay is not New York. But this is what Bombay would like to be - posters with skyscrapers are hanging everywhere, suggesting what Bombay will look like in 2050: modern, like every other metropolis in this global megacity community between Shanghai and Sao Paulo. We are talking about cities of superlatives that we do not have and will not have in Europe: “Cities” that have over 20 million inhabitants, whose GDP is greater than that of many European countries and which are growing almost unstoppably. Nevertheless, Bombay is a major European city, perhaps the most European in India, which is also being "Indianized". The arch spans between Marine Drive and New Bombay, which includes all elements of urban and regional development in the transition phase from industrial to post-industrial development under the conditions of a post-colonial country: Laboratorium Bombay - New Bombay.

This laboratory is the subject of the day tour from Marine Drive on the west coast of the city to the new development horizon in the east, the new "urban" zones that are supposed to relieve the core city and at the same time mark a path that Indian urban society will take. A breathtaking path opens up, full of contradictions, risks and with an unheard of dynamism. If the demographers are right, then Bombay / New Bombay will have around 50 million inhabitants in the middle of the 21st century - the plans also point in this direction. This would then be the world's largest agglomeration, the dimensions of which and the related questions about the “controllability” of such a “cluster of people” no longer appear to be answerable. A completely new kind of crowded existence is emerging here, something that has been called a city up to now. When passing from west to east, the viewer passes those areas that are likely to define this future state of the “city”: dense buildings and, time and again, the slums. Bombay / New Bombay is a "planet slum". Two blatant worlds collide which do not appear in any planning textbook and which have no place in the future plan for Bombay and New Bombay: "Mud"

The day on the way to a future: Sunday February 18, 2007

7.15 a.m. Wake up, breakfast at the hotel - in the heart of British Bombay on Marine Drive
08.45 am departure to New Bombay (Navi Mumbai) with the prospect of getting into one of the daily mega-jams - but we are spared - on Sundays the streets are only full
10.00 a.m. Stopover at the Hotel Supreme Heritage with an introduction to the tour of New Bombay - tour of the northern area with the SEZ (Special Economic Zone) and the Millennium Business Park (in Mahape -1-, in the center of the industrial belt city between Thane) Creek and Parsik Hill), a high-security wing of economic development, embedded in a chaotic sea of ​​infrastructure facilities and expanding slums
11.45 a.m. Ascent to Parsik Hill -2- with a view of Kharghar, part of the north-eastern extension area of ​​N.B., where a village still ekes out a romantic existence today, but in the future should be a posh district
3:15 p.m. Lunch back at the hotel
4.00 p.m. Lecture by representatives of the Development Company for N.B., CIDCO, a planning and development group
5:00 p.m. Trip through the CBD south to the future industrial development area with the new port, the JNPT, a trip into "nowhere" that reflects the dimensions and quality of the infrastructure of N.B. felt (especially for the bus occupants on the back benches)
6:00 p.m. back on the west side of Bombay, visit to one of the new middle class areas in the urban, neo-traditional habitus that has emerged recently and opens a new chapter of urban culture - the competition to N.B. (Hiranandani Gardens -3-), with a stroll through the city and a visit to an apartment in the “Tivoli” high-rise building on the 26th floor
8:00 p.m. Return to the hotel, past the waterfront of Chowpatty Beach, the gateway to Marine Drive and the posh Malabar Hill district
9.30 p.m. dinner
11:15 p.m. Quiet time

Plan of the stops of the day:

The plan and the reality.

New Bombay is a typical planning product of post-war modernism of European provenance: a “relief city” compared to the old city. Something similar can be found in Belgrade and Novi Beograd, in Halle and Halle-Neustadt, in Paris and Nantere, and the like. Not only should new development space be created for the existing old city in line with a growth-related need, but at the same time a symbolic act should be carried out: the aim was to build a “better” city than the old one. This should be characterized above all by clear rationality in the separation of functions and the car orientation as well as in modern architecture and urban composition. The aim was often to break the traditional development path of urban development - mostly along railway lines or waterfronts - and to open up a new development direction. This was also the case in Bombay: the north-south orientation was to become a west-east direction, which, parallel to the “old” city, was to represent a completely new and post-colonial one. But it couldn't be more European! The actual goal was to prove the modernity of the new India. In 1965 the young planners Mehta, Patel and Corea initiated the discussion about a new city on the other side of Thane Creek. The new city was to be laid out as a ribbon city with a CBD at its core. The state planning group CIDCO was founded in 1970 to implement this. CIDCO manages everything - from urban planning to marketing for offices and apartments. The focus of activities, however, is on infrastructure projects and land management. The structure of the professions reflects this:

 Planners & Architects: 042
 Engineers: 450
 Economists: 005
 Marketing: 050
 Estate Management: 050
 Lands (Acquisition & Records): 050
 Finance and Accounts: 005
 Legal: 002
 Computer programmers: 010

Total: 664 (of a total of 2,200 employees)
CIDCO acts as a kind of "middleman". The company achieves its proceeds from planning profits. T. is paid to the state, z. T. is reinvested itself.

The planning, which began in 1970, divided the New Bombay area into development areas that radiate in a star shape from the CBD. The residential areas are arranged to the west and the industrial zones to the east, in a functional sense. The center, the CBD, is grouped around a watland area that is supposed to absorb the water masses of the monsoons. The entire area of ​​New Bombay extends in a north-south direction for a distance of almost 40 km and in an east-west extension of about 15 km. In the structure, the band city is doubled by "Alt" -Bombay. In the future, the economic focus will be on the area around the new port in the south, which will completely replace the old one in Bombay. The new port is then to be connected to the old urban area of ​​Bombay by a mega-bridge in order to relieve the umbilical cord on which New Bombay now hangs. All in all, the path of this new city is mapped out: It will not be a solution to the problems, so it is assumed, but a reinforcement.

The company settlements in N. B. - “labor camps” of the future

In addition, the next extensions are already planned: "Navi-Mumbai ++" - a further expansion of the city to the southeast and northeast connected by that mega-bridge!
If New Bombay was planned for 2 million inhabitants, the number of inhabitants is likely to have already doubled and with the new expansions it is increasing again.

Plan for New Bombay (final planning status 1993)

Legend: yellow - residential, purple - industry, orange - port or airport
blue - CBD, green - mountains with forest

The original plan now only serves as a framework for the anchorage (new port, new airport, new expansion areas, center and transport links). The social concerns of the planners from 1965 - as they themselves find out - have in fact failed. There are three reasons for this:
1. The new city was compared to the "old" area as a preferential area, whereby the latter was supposed to be devalued, but this contradicted reality - the prospect of being able to undertake a faster development through lower land prices only succeeded initially;
2. The new city was primarily planned and developed as an economic area, the other functions (especially living) were derived from this, which made it difficult to develop an independent identity - the character remained as "New" Bombay, i.e. its smaller sister which, moreover, only acts as a catalyst for industrial modernization;
3. the economic ties of the residents, especially the slum dwellers, but also many medium-sized businesses, is tied to "old" Bombay; relocation would mean an enormous loss for these strata, only those who came to Bombay as construction workers or service providers for the new industries, settled immediately in New Bombay.

With the construction of the new city, according to one of the planning goals, the solution of the slum question in "old" -Bombay should be pursued:
“In the 1970s, city and state authorities embarked on an extremely ambitious project to build a modern twin city on the mainland across from Bombay. The urban poor were promised new homes and jobs in sparkling New Bombay (now Navi-Mumbai), but in fact the mainland residents were relocated and lost land and livelihoods while most of the new housing stock went to civil servants and the middle class. ”( Davis, p. 71) In "old" Bombay the situation remained unchanged; on the contrary, the slum areas grew at an even faster rate during the years of New Bombay's construction. At the same time, new slums grew in the new districts of New Bombay. The "game" of settlement began to resemble that of the old metropolis. The question of housing half of Bombay's residents - 48.9% live in slums (Mumbai Report, p. 10) - does not appear in the presentations by CIDCO, the quasi-state developer. In principle, there are no identifiable strategies for solving the "side effects" of economic growth. It appears to be taken note of, but not addressed as an object of serious planning, at least not to the extent that economic development is being promoted.

The different future of New Bombay

The company concentrates most of its development work on the SEZ, the Special Economic Zone, a strategy developed according to the Chinese model. The three large SEZs in New Bombay represent the backbone for the new city. They form the actual purpose of New Bombay. While the new city initially saw itself as relieving the pressure on the old city to develop, the new city has now become a "free trade zone" - or is on the way there. The urban structure has merged into a conglomerate of buildings that barely shows any contours, appears additive and fragmented. The center, the CBD, has nothing to do with a city center that has any urban qualities. Business is everything The glossy brochure from CIDCO suggests “We make Places”, but anything but “places” emerge - there are interchangeable infrastructures and residential complexes that can be seamlessly integrated into the global arbitrariness of metropolises in the “emerging countries”. built. For New Bombay the model: “Super City of the World” is propagated.

This is also reflected in the planned composition of the income groups in the residential areas:
(Low-Income, Middle-Income, High-Income as the three social categories according to which the urban society of N. B. is structured - as far as they can afford an apartment - without the upper classes)


 Navi Mumbai New Towns Total
EWS / LIG 51,627(47%) 48,250 99,877 (61%)
MIG 33,051(30%)4,560 37,611 (23%)
HIG 25,491(23%)1,014  26,505 (16%)
Total 110,169(100%)53,824163,993 (100%)

This quantitative representation does not explain the real social status that is outlined by these three categories - the slums along the way do not occur.

The picture of New Bombay

Overall, New Bombay takes on the character of a “Technocity”: A suburban “workers' settlement” around the high-tech industry of the 21st century. The new “creative classes”, however, ask about other urban areas in which they can achieve a penetration of creative work, living and everyday life as well as leisure time in the vicinity of the centers. Internationally, comparable trends are emerging that operate under the label of the “Urban Renaissance” - Bombay is state of the art.

The return to the “old” city marks a new residential area on Powai Lake, Hiranandani Gardens, almost symbolically opposite the “Renaissance” hotel and within sight of the famous Bollywood. The first impression on reaching the large residential area is surprising, as this area stands out from the conglomerate of the new city on the other side of the bay. In a neo-traditional language of form, the entire area is characterized by a high degree of urbanity. Everything is within walking distance, there are wide sidewalks - there are hardly any in New Bombay, there is a clear structure of the street cross-sections with density and high quality in the furnishings - plus the residential gardens around which are not accessible to the public but can be seen the high-rise apartment buildings. Only a bus line connects the district with the center - a fact that has been criticized. The main street is lined with a point de vue - a column or a striking structure. The entrance to the shopping center is marked bombastic, but also urban.

Numerous international companies with their branches have settled in the area and many of the software companies and call centers are also here. The “creative class” is looking for urbanity and is turning its back on New Bombay - to some extent. The entire area is private property and is supervised by security services. However, it is not a “gated community”. The houses have normal concierges and are only accessible to residents. The streets make a very clean impression and invite you to stroll, provided that the street noise - for our ears - allows something like that in Bombay at all. The upper middle classes live here, like the companion of the group, an architect with her own office. This 100 square meter apartment costs 200,000 euros (20% are required as a down payment).

The developer had acquired the area 50 years ago at a ridiculous price of the equivalent of 1 euro / sqm (today the prices have risen to 2,000 euros / sqm). Planned 20 years ago, the area (initially 200 acres) has been developed and marketed very well for 10 years as an urban residential and commercial area with offices, a hotel, hospital, cafes, shopping center and school - all private. The company is now building areas in other parts of India using the same model.

From the 26th floor of the large 4-room apartment, Bombay appears as a counter-world to that in New Bombay - actually urban and attractive for the upper classes - and yet unreal.
Attempting a conclusion and a scenario

"When it comes to India, one must never forget: the exact opposite can always apply to every single insight that one comes to about this huge and complicated country" (Joan Robinson)

Certainly such a cursory glance from the moving bus at such a complex and barely manageable development area as New Bombay forbids a quick assessment.And certainly the planning history of New Bombay would also have had to be discussed more thoroughly in the context of development trends in comparable cities around the world and the influence of European urban planning - and from different perspectives, but one can also venture a hypothesis on the future of a megacity like Bombay / Mumbai: New Bombay will be the quasi-urban, industrial “backyard” of a strengthened “old” city of Bombay, which is turning to its colonial legacy and attracting new middle classes and businesses to the area of ​​the historic center and the renewed northern areas. The Marine Drive is becoming an international water front with a new look - something similar is happening and has happened on the comparable water fronts of metropolises such as the Copacabana in Rio, in Tel Aviv or - to some extent - the Malecon in Havana. If the old port area on the east side of the Bombay peninsula has also been redesigned, Bombay Down Town is likely to experience a renaissance - with all the contradictions that are foreseeable. This in turn will create additional difficulties for New Bombay - the port and airport alone will not bring new urbanity and no wealthy classes. For New Bombay, the orientation towards infrastructure development harbors the risk of further de-profiling, as the successful companies will move to "old" Bombay. At the same time, New Bombay's slum belt will stabilize and enlarge. It is to be feared that - if the slums are rehabilitated at all - it will be in “Old Bombay. The traffic problems will also intensify, as the gigantic bridge will probably only be available in 10 years - but by then the course will have been set for the location decisions for Old Bombay, as the currently bottleneck can hardly accommodate growing traffic without any problems. The construction work on the bridge over the bay of Mahim Bay indicates that a focus of urban development should be placed on "old" Bombay and its north. New Bombay will become a “normal” edge city of the various infrastructure clusters, which are drifting into an uncertain future as a suburban business city with residential areas and a slum border. This could mean that the new city could face a fate similar to that seen in other twin cities: they will become “second-choice cities”. Which strategies will be developed for a holistic Bombay can only be assumed if the successful cities of Cleveland in the USA (model city for the renovation of an old industrial city) and Shanghai (model of a boomtown) are given as targets for urban development by the government. (Mumbai Reader, p. 14 ff) New Bombay is far from both.

The “creative class” has made a decision - nighttime street scene in Hiranandani Gardens.

Urban Design Research Institute (2006): Mumbai Repprt
Müller, H. (2006): World Power India, Frankfurt / M.
Davis, M. (2007): Planet Slum, Berlin
Kamdar, M. (2007): Planet India, New York
Joan Robinson, quoted in: Vir Sanghivi (2007): India today, in: National Geographic “Mythos India, p. 20

Photos: Harald Kegler

Plans: CIDCO

The participants of the excursion:

Helpless search for urbanity - view of New Bombay

Finding new urbanity - with the help of the new middle classes