What is Dharavi Evolution

  • Dharavi Evolution is an initiative to help the Government of Maharashtra lead the redevelopment process of Dharavi with a sustainable, planning-led approach which is realistic and respectful.

HOK's Strategy Document for Dharavi Redevelopment

Why we care

  • We believe in the cultural and social importance of Dharavi's lifestyle and its contributions to the City of Mumbai. Over the years of working here, we feel a personal commitment in assisting the City in one of its most important redevelopment projects.

Who Are We

  • HOK | ideas work
    The HOK Planning Group is a community of designers and creative technical experts that create unbiased opportunities from the most complex of urban planning and design challenges to benefit all.
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Main | Committee of Experts Debunk Dharavi Redevelopment Plan »

Tuesday, 06 January 2009

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Katia Savchuk

This is a welcome effort to present a coherent alternative to the current DRP that is sensitive to Dharavi's role in the city and the plan's effect on Mumbai's urban future. A comment: To go a step further, it seems that many of the "redeveloped village" sites do not to need to be redeveloped at all - just developed further. If people were supported to access credit and there were a system to incrementally earn legal titles (by conforming to a graduated process of conforming to adjusted building standards, for example), or even if they were left alone and given time, people could continue an incremental upgrading process that has been going on since Dharavi's birth. An infrastructural and environmental masterplan and interventions would be needed, but people have by and large been successful at gradually improving their housing. Although this would take longer, it would reduce the free-sale development that is currently used to finance resettlement, and it would be the best way to make sure Dharavi's residents get to stay in Dharavi and that local culture, associations and economies stay intact.

Prasoon Kumar

Thanks Katia for your feedback. It is an interesting thought to "not redevelop" but "develop further". I am in complete agreement of an incremental process in improving housing standards where the residents get a stake. In fact, the pink buildings in the masterplan for ‘Dharavi Evolution’ are the sites that have not been redeveloped and the masterplan is organized around them to integrate those into the new proposed fabric. In later phases, these could also be taken up for redevelopment to achieve the quality standards of the new development.

Some further thoughts-
I have been in Singapore for past two years and residing in ‘mass-produced' multi-storey public housing. The public housing which houses more than 80% of the island’s population was built with little respect for the land, the people or their lifestyle. In some ways it was not really an incremental approach to development because affordability was the single dominant factor for its design and construction. There are a number of arguments in favour and against this regimented housing seen across the country, but it has successfully given Singapore the distinction of the only ‘slum-free’ country in the world. An interesting aspect of this housing is that the government continuously works with the residents for the betterment of the housing by either increasing the built up areas of the units or improving the accessibility by adding elevators or by upgrading the building services. The point is that incremental improvements to housing can be done in many different ways. In some cases bold moves go much further in benefitting the society even though smaller and longer incremental changes seem less painful.

You rightly mentioned that the free-sale development component (which was at 4 million sqm at the time when this document was prepared) will be used to finance the resettlement portion. If there is a clear rationale behind this number, then the calculations would be based on achieving a reasonable IRR on the project to attract the developer community. The government has succeeded in bringing the developers on board which is a major step forward as most redevelopment projects never lift off the ground due to lack of money. If there is any room to lower the IRR on the project without compromising the feasibility, then it would be good to reduce the free- sale component.

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