Failure in planning OR failure of planning? Reflections on the saga of Mumbai’s DP

The ambitious Mumbai Development Plan (DP) 2034, envisaged as a blueprint that specifies the land allocations, land use patterns, transportation networks and amenities for India’s largest metropolis, has been recently put on the shelf  for revisions following intense criticism on several fronts. It is to be revised and republished for public response within four months.

gateway of india
Iconic monument, Mumbai’s Gateway of India. Photo credits: Mukta Naik

 

The release of the plan into the public domain, itself a unique occurrence for Indian city planning, has facilitated an unprecedented amount of public debate and discussion. In the process, many hitherto unconcerned citizens have hopefully thought about the issues involved in deciding a future for their city. However, several burning questions remain. On the mechanics of planning a megacity like Mumbai. On the processes and institutions required. On responsibility. On why Indian cities are unable to plan. And on why they must learn to do so rapidly, or risk severe ecological and economic failure.

In this context, Poornima Dore’s crisp critique of planning in the context of the events unfolding around the Mumbai DP offers : Why India needs to invest in Planning. Poornima, who is associated with the Tata Trusts, is a Mumbaikar and a passionate advocate of responsible development. Her piece avoids theoretical musings and instead focuses on her thoughts on evolving a new, transparent and practical approach for planning our cities. This post was originally published on the SHRAM portal, the mouthpiece of the SHRAMIC in which Centre for Policy Research is an active partner.

As a teaser, here are some quotes that highlight her three main points:

Cities must be empowered to deliver

“It is critical to put in place systems, processes and people empowered to deliver, if cities are to act as engines of growth – without sputtering as we turn on the ignition.”

Governments must listen to credible professionals

“Mumbai and every city needs to be willing to invest in (and listen to) a credible team of urban planners, with tight deadlines and uncompromised deliverables.”

Standards are necessary, holding organisations and people up to them is critical

“Can we have more stringent norms for what is acceptable in the name of surveys and research, and can we blacklist agencies that have glaring mistakes in what they provide as data?”

Read her piece here

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