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Urban Social


Every human settlement consists of certain

Interaction of these elements form a pattern - the

urban pattern.

The urban pattern is a result of the relationships

between people and their social, economic and
physical environments.

Buildings and spaces are created by people and

quite often characterize them (Kostof, 1991).

If the residents build the buildings themselves,

then they reflect their lifestyles.

However, if government agencies or contractors

build them, they are more generic and may not
Whatever the mode of construction, residents
soon influence their urban environment,
changing and modifying it to suit their way of
life (Lozano, 1990).

Simultaneously, people adapt to the physical

environment around them.

The human-environment relationship is a two-

way process termed as the socio-spatial
dialectic (Knox, 1995).

Thus, urban form is not merely the

architectural form of the city (Lozano, 1990). It
is also a cultural manifestation
Urban pattern is influenced by:

•Land ownership
• Technology
•Communication and
relationships 4
Intricacies in relationships have increased the complexity
of the urban form over time.

The pattern of spatial distribution is recognizable in most

contemporary cities (Alexander, 1987).

Where market forces work, income is

one of the most important
Education, occupation and values of housing
influence the spatial character.

Socioeconomic factors have a very important contribution

to the pattern. 5
Demographics, linguistics and ethnic
background also influence urban patterns.

Thus, urban social patterns are complex

manifestations of underlying cultural values
intermingled with global economic forces
(McGee, 1971).

Although details may not be identical, every

city has certain elements.

Doxiadis defines five elements in the study of

human settlements. nature,
They are
human beings, society, buildings
and infrastructure. Urban spatial
patterns occur because of the repetitive spatial6
Factors Influencing Urban Form
Many factors influence the form of cities. Traditional
settlements were shaped by (Lozano, 1990):

•the way in which nature and man-

made features satisfy needs for
protection and defense
•the way in which physical and
economic landscape allows for
communication with other regions
•the way in which the topography of
a site suggests the construction of a
human settlement
•the way in which climate leads to
building solutions 7
These factors influence the cultural and spiritual form of the cities
The physical form is a variable of the social and
built pattern of the city. The built form is
influenced by factors as (Alexander, 1987):

•Land ownership
•Existing land use
•Planning regulations
•Street patterns
•Economic considerations
•Political and historical
The physical expansion of the city is always bound and
land ownership, and natural and
guided by
manmade obstacles.
A city replaces existing land use. Thus, it is necessary to
determine existing land use as a pre-condition to urban
growth and form.

The change of land use from rural to urban depends on

the existing land use, and the ownership. Some farmers
may sell their land more easily than others may.

The rural land may also have been subdivided.

Plots of varying sizes and shapes
influence the layout of the streets and
of individual buildings (Knox, 1995).

Planning controls influence

development to a great extent.

Master plans and regional plans provide

long-range strategies for development
Various economic, social and political
circumstances influence the social pattern
(Scargill, 1979). While some processes are
culture-specific, others are global in scope.
These factors are (Alexander, 1987, Kosambi,

•Ethnic composition of the city

•Economic considerations
•Political and historical events 11
The housing market also influences the social
pattern of the city.

A household’s choice of place to live is

determined by:
• Its income level,
•Personal preferences and
•Institutional constraints.

Owner-occupier, private rental and public

sector housing operationalize housing sectors.

A particular social pattern brings about a

particular built form. Certain built forms
encourage certain social patterns. 12
The Evolution of the Urban Form of Indian

The traditional theory of urban origin is

generally attributed to Childe (Herbert, and
Thomas, 1990). Some other experts have
commented that urban centers were a result of
agricultural change.

People as food gatherers advanced to become

Domestication of animals and cultivation of
land created villages.

Soon, surplus food production was achieved.

This allowed some of the people to develop

other professions. Priests, craftsmen and13
However, other scholars contend that it is doubtful that
surplus can be attributed as the single factor which
caused the emergence of urban settlements (Jacobs,

Reasons such as trade and defense have also been

used to explain the formation of cities.

For thousands of years, cities were very simple

although they rarely served single purposes. Instead,
they supported a range of activities.

Housing, commercial buildings, government offices and

warehouses formed the built environment of the city.
Pedestrian movement limited the size of the city.
Clear differentiation between urban and rural
existed, often because of a city wall. However,
within, a city contained social distinctions in
terms of class, race and religion (Vance,

Urbanization took place at different

chronological periods. The factors influencing
urbanization were also different. The variation
in influencing factors and historical
circumstance gave rise to different urban
forms in different parts of the world.

The evolution of the urban pattern of Indian

cities is divided into the social pattern and the
built form.
India is among the most stratified of all known societies in
the world (Srinivas, 1992a). The caste system of India
separates and hierarchies the Hindus.

The external manifestation of the separation and hierarchy

through particular attributes of the castes brings about
social stratification of the urban social pattern (Marriott,

Clothing, language, rituals, marriage and death

ceremonies distinguish one caste from another. In India,
the forms of social stratification are many. Along with the
caste exist occupational stratification, linguistic
stratification and religious stratification.

The social stratification is very deep and varied. The

Indian theory of social stratification depends on caste,
linguistic, religious and ethnic diversity of the country 16
The Built Form
The historical evolution of the built form of Indian
cities can be divided into three distinct phases.
The earliest is the Hindu phase (3000 B. C to 12th
century AD), which contributes many elements to
the urban form. These characteristics are derived
from the need for defense and administration and
the importance of religion (Kopardekara, 1986).

The temple as the symbol of religion dominates

the urban form. The temple also influences the
siting of other land uses. Prime commercial and
residential land was located near the temple.

The science of architecture and planning,

Vastushastra, governed the alignment of roads,
orientation of buildings and arrangement of
internal rooms based on astrological and religious
The square was used in the creation of the vastupurusha mandala,
which was the terrestrial representation of the cosmic universe
inhabited by Brahma, the creator. The mandala could be divided
into smaller squares, padas.

In planning the town a vastupurusha mandala which was most

auspicious, and which had as many padas as there were to be
residential sectors was selected.

The streets ran from north to south and from east to west. The town
wall enclosed the mandala, and four gateways were situated at the
cardinal points.

The final shape of the town depended on the natural features of the
site. If it could not be a perfect square, a perfect rectangle was
accepted. Certain other shapes were also considered to be
auspicious like the circle, cyclical and swastika

The residential districts were divided among the four
castes. Generally, the Brahmans worked and lived in the
northern district, Kshatriyas in the eastern and
southeastern part, Vaishyas in the southern part and
Sudras in the western district.

There was further subdivisions within each district

depending on the sub-caste. The Brahmans and
Kshatriyas lived in the parts of the town which were
climatically more comfortable - sheltered from the hot
sun, and the south-west monsoon.

Characteristics from medieval times are Islamic in nature

(14th to 17th centuries A.D.). During this time, the Hindu
tradition continued, and Hindu elements of this period are
not distinct from earlier ones. The Islamic elements
included the mosque and domestic architecture which
emphasized the purdah through enclosed courtyards, jali
(carved screens) and projecting balconies (Kopardekara,
The residential character throughout this period was
segregated. The urban segregation was based on
function and occupation premises.

Areas for selling of specific goods – cloth, jewelry,

pottery, metalware, and wood formed niches in the
urban pattern.

Residential areas associated with the commercial area

were contiguous or within the commercial area (Hall,

In India where occupation and caste are synonyms, this

has led to segregation and creation of enclaves within
the city.
The colonial influence (17th to early 20th century
A. D.) was the third phase of historical urban
form, especially seen in the port cities associated
with the East India Company (Mills, 1988).

The morphological components include buildings

used for trade - warehouses, counting houses.

This led to the development of commercial

centers and zoning based on Western market

On the periphery of these urban centers, military

establishments - the cantonment - were
developed (Hall, 1980).
At the time of independence in 1947, India inherited a complex
urban fabric.
Diversification of professions due to industrialization in the post-
independence era has resulted in further complexity (Becker,
Williamson and Mills, 1992).

Residential segregation is no longer based only on occupation and

caste, but also on socioeconomic factors (Ramachandran, 1989).
Large migration of people from the rural area, and insufficient
infrastructure in cities has led to the creation of slums and
shantytowns (Misra, 1978).

Many researchers have tried to fit Indian urban growth into a

theoretical model. “In the case of India, many researchers have
pointed to the lack of penetration of urban values into the
countryside, and the apparent timelessness and permanence of
village life” (Hall, 1980). It has been shown that rural values have
penetrated the urban philosophy due to large-scale Migration.

Studies of Urban social Patterns
The study of the urban social pattern of a city
primarily focuses on the residential land use
(Herbert and Thomas, 1990).

Analysis of individual cities shows that the pattern

is not uniform and is characterized by residential

In Western cities the reasons for non-uniformity

have been identified as socioeconomic status,
ethnic status and family status (Timms, 1971).

The non-uniform pattern is consistent over many

cities because similar households exert similar
housing choices. However, every city has some
constraints. For example, housing choices may not
be made on economic basis, but on cultural ones.
It is assumed that any planned city consists of
neighborhood units. The concept of neighborhood units
became popular since the1920s in planned settlements
(Perry, 1929).

It serves as the building block to construct the whole

town. A neighborhood is the basis for formally organized
residential space. Hence, the neighborhood unit is used
as the unit of a nalysis in the study of human
settlements (Herbert and Thomas, 1990).

It is not only a physical design concept, but also an

expression of socioeconomic and cultural values of the
people. The values are also related to family,
neighborliness, community and social and civic
responsibilities such as aesthetics, safety, security and
identity 24
Western Cities
Many studies of the social and physical urban pattern
have been done. The city was viewed as a part of society,
and social change was expected to be reflected in studies
which were repeated over a time period (Herbert and
Thomas, 1990).

The data source was census tracts. In the analysis of

urban social patterns, three indices were used. These
were social rank, family status and ethnic status.

Social rank used the variables, employment, education,

value of home, housing conditions and material

family status used the variables related to demographics

and type of house;

ethnic status used religion and social groups. The use of

these three indices for analysis is a social area analysis.
The broad generalization of the social rank
produced a sector model. The main assumption
here was that social rank is related to
transportation links which influence residential
location in a sectoral manner (Scargill, 1979).
This type of urbanization is also related to the
housing market described by Hoyt (1939).

Family status in American cities shows a

concentric distribution. As a family’s needs for
space increase, they move outwards.

The outward mobility is related to different stages of life
- marriage, parenthood, social status and retirement
(Scargill, 1979).

Ethnicity causes the social phenomena of segregation.

In the built environment this corresponds to ethnic
neighborhoods (Timms, 1971).

This is predominant in cities where migration is high.

Ethnicity, however, does not always emerge as an
independent component (Scargill, 1979).

A study of Baltimore (Knox, 1995) shows that the four
important factors in the social pattern are underclass,
socioeconomic status, youth/migrants and black poverty.

The changing pattern of family cycle reflects concentric zones

while that of social rank is in sectors. Studies of Brisbane,
Australia (Timms, 1971), Winnipeg, Canada (Herbert and
Thomas, 1990) showed similar results.

Cities in the Third World are frequently dual environments;

traditional and modern design elements juxtaposed in
seemingly dichotomous ways, but socially with more complex
relations to one another.

Traditional places are typically more dense with narrow

streets and housing spaces around central courtyards.

Public open spaces are generally found only around religious

buildings. The modern place is more spacious. A classic
example can be seen in the design of New Delhi, which is
adjacent to, and surrounds old Delhi (Herbert and Thomas,
Processes quite different from those in western cities
govern the pattern of Third World cities. Even single cities,
as opposed to conglomerations, are very complex and have
evolved over a very long time.

Thus, social and economic variables may not be the only

factors, which contribute significantly to the urban pattern
(Kopardekara, 1986). A large number of models of Third
World cities have been made (Lowder, 1986).

Social morphological models constructed for the Third

World cities show that there is a central concentration of
commercial activity and a number of residential

The model shows that the indigenous elite were closely

associated with the commercial area. The more educated
and professional classes followed the Western ideas of
suburbanization and formed their own neighborhoods
(Lowder, 1986). The migrants and poor did not live in the
core of the city, but formed shantytowns in the peri-urban
fringes and in unserviced areas (under bridges, along
But, the morphological pattern of each Third World city is
different mainly because of the presence of an indigenous city
enclosed by a colonial city, and subsequently surrounded by an
industrial city (Lowder, 1986).

The morphological model of Asian port cities shows a multiple

nucleus (Figure 3.7). The nuclei are original village, traditional
commercial areas and modern commercial areas. An analysis of
Calcutta showed a pattern based on land use, family ties,
ethnicity and literacy. The social pattern showed concentric
zones for land use.

Literacy and ethnic patterns emerged in a sectoral form. A

study of Colombo (Herbert and de Silva, 1974) found that social
status, land use,
substandard living conditions and ethnicity were the broad
variables that defined the social pattern of the city.

The colonial cities in Latin America show a centralized social

pattern (Portes, 1975).
The center of the city was the plaza. Around the plaza was the
important buildings including a church. The residences of the
richer class formed the first concentric zone around the plaza.
Here, the residences became smaller and public amenities
were reduced. The outer ring bordered on farmland.

A consistent relationship existed between socioeconomic

position of the household and their distance from the center
of the city; the farther away from the center, the poorer the
household (Cornelius, 1975). In the 18th and 19th centuries,
many large cities became crowded. Wealthier families began
to move out of the center and settle in more isolated

The pattern is similar to the one described by the sector

model of North America. In Lima, Santiago and Chile
residential colonies moved from the center of the city to the
urban periphery which were selected for their better
geographic, climatic and aesthetic factors. Soon
socioeconomic status related to nearness to the center
became related to distance away from the center. 31The
pattern was a creation of the lifestyle choices of the urban
Indian Cities
In cities of India, spatial segregation based on ethnicity, caste,
religion and language rather than demographics and economics
can be seen. The social ties are horizontal and vertical. The
horizontal relationships are between people of the same cultural
background while vertical relationships are between caste and
class. Many studies have been done to study Indian urban areas,
and especially to construct a structural model. It has been found
that Indian cities defy social modeling. But, in general, the Indian
urban social scene essentially reflects two facets of non-western
structure (Hall, 1980):
i Residences have not yet come to serve the symbolic
function they do in the Western world.

i Symbolic functionalism is performed by religion and

caste and buttressed by regional affiliations, languages
and customs. The nature of traditional social
status and the interdependence and spatial interpretation
of diverse, yet complementary, status groups help to
produce a very obscure patterning of social groups at the
micro-level of analysis. 32
Research findings point out that while caste is important in
rural societies for its very functioning, in urban
environments the meaning of caste becomes more
important in terms of identity rather than function.

For example, in rural areas, farming is done only by the

Sudra caste, and religious duties performed by the
Brahmins. In the cities where new professions were created,
new definitions had to be made. Soon, industrial and office
workers belonged to all castes.

The greater complexity of urban life and the difficulty of

maintaining caste identity through residential segregation
alone, has created social organizations for each caste
(Kopardekara, 1986).

A second indigenous factor suffusing urban society is that

of regional affiliation. "Particularly in cosmopolitan cities
cultural or linguistic diversity and regional associations
develop to extol their culture and language and to
participate in their own regional festivals if not usually
celebrated in the region within which they live now" (Hall,
Although the neighborhoods that result are not
corporate groups in the sense in which they are defined,
such neighborhoods are the source for the development
of the corporate groups.

Weinstein (1974) made an attempt to produce a

conceptual model for the social segregation of an Indian
city. He postulated three dimensions as being important
contributors to residential segregation. These three
dimensions were socioeconomic dimension symbolized
by the bazaar:

political dimension represented by an administrative

symbol prestige dimension derived from the religious
function of a temple.
Brush (1977) studied 24 cities in India and
discerned four types of gradients of population
directly related to their evolutionary pattern.

Pune and Varanasi, cities that were well

developed even before the colonial period, had
retained their residential core (Mehta, 1968).

Bombay, Calcutta and Madras, colonial cities,

had western style CBDs.

Hyderabad had two nuclei – the old city and the

colonial city.

Industrial towns like Jamshedpur were planned

around their industrial core.
Ahmad (1965) did a factor analysis of the socioeconomic
characteristics of Indian cities. He had the following conclusions.

North Indian cities had low female employment rates, low literacy,
low migration and inequal male to female ratio.

South Indian cities had higher female employment rate, higher

literacy, higher migration and equal male to female ratio.

Metropolitan cities (Bombay, Madras, Calcutta) has low-density

commercial centers surrounded by high-density residential

The modern planned cities (Jamshedpur, Chandigarh) have low

population densities with no concentration of industrial, commercial
or administrative areas.

Such broad conclusions are results of regional analyses.

Analysis at the level of a single city gave patterns that are

more complex.

A systematic analysis of census data for Bombay was done

(Kosambi, 1986). Census data from 1881, 1901, 1831 and 1961
was used to determine the evolution and change of the social
pattern. The patterns were attributed to Europeanism,
commercialism, religious polarity, transportation and
socioeconomic status (Kosambi, 1986).

These examples show that the urban social pattern of Indian

cities is very complex due to the influence of a variety of

The presence of many religions, languages, castes and classes

produces a more heterogeneous pattern. The social patterns
were also strongly influenced by the age of the city. The
existence of multiple physical urban patterns caused by the
presence of indigenous settlements, British cities and
industrial towns within the boundary of the urban area. 37

The urban social pattern is the complex manifestation

of the underlying cultural values of the population
within a particular built environment.

In the case of India, the sociocultural factors are

related to caste, class, religion and language.

These characteristics stratify the society into vertical

and horizontal systems. Stratification causes social
inequality in terms of wealth, power and status.

The historical evolution of cities has supported this


Traditional Indian cities have grown over a very long

period of time. The residential neighborhoods of such
cities are not as well defined as they are in the
American cities. 39
The components of the analysis of American cities are not
entirely apparent in the Third World cities.

Status in Third World cities is based on family membership or

socioeconomic class. The lifestyle depends on ethnicity and

The lifestyle factor in North American cities relates small

nuclear families with higher education achievements and
better employment opportunities.

In Third World cities, this is not evident due to the existence

of multi-generational families. The households are generally
large with a range of ages, skills and professions.

Migration may also be restricted to the men of the family.

The reasons for migration are also varied – they may be
migrating as a result of natural calamities, or in search of
opportunities in the city.

Male dominance, migration or ethnic group represent the

ethnic factor
Urban social pattern
of Navi Mumbai

Malathi Ananthakrishnan
Planning Thesis submitted to the Faculty of
the Virginia Polytechnic , 1998

A holistic approach to the study of settlements involves
understanding the interrelationships between their
constituent elements at a certain period of time.

The study of the physical form and structure of cities is

the study of urban morphology. Why is such a study

The urban form of the city influences behavioral,

economic and social processes within it . Thus, the
study of human settlements has an encompassing view
of all the activities it supports.

The basic research here involves the search for an urban social
pattern of Navi Mumbai. This research determines how the
present social pattern relates to various theoretical frameworks.
This research aspires to contribute to basic research in social

The literature review shows that a specific study of Navi Mumbai

has not been previously documented. Therefore, this study
augment existing knowledge about social configurations of
planned urban development in Asian regions.

A policy emphasizing a uniform distribution of the population is

the ideological orientation of the government. An interpretation
of the emerging social pattern reveals something of the social
character of the city. The pattern suggests not only the outcome
of the policy, but also variables that influence this pattern. The
urban social pattern also serves as a framework for further
research. Thus, the basic research has many applications in long
range planning in Navi Mumbai.
The urban social pattern is one of the many aspects of
the urban form.

The urban form of a city is primarily the result of the

characteristics of its physical and social design as well
as socioeconomic and political forces.

It is a synthesis of the spatial relationships of various

elements. Different characteristics are drawn from the
factors influencing the physical design and cultural
aspect of the city.

Physical and economic landscapes, land use and

ownership, street patterns, planning regulations, and
political events may influence the physical design and
pattern of a city.

Various processes influence the social pattern of the

city. These include the ethnic composition of the city, 44
Navi Mumbai (New Bombay) is one of the first planned
new town developments built for a diverse, middle
class population in India.

Traditional Indian cities have evolved over the

centuries, and their social pattern is characterized by
residential segregation based on ethnic, religious and
linguistic classes.

The purpose of this presentation is to delineate and

interpret the social pattern of Navi Mumbai.

Socioeconomic factors, housing
characteristics, land use pattern and ethnic
classifications is used as key variables to
study the urban social pattern of Navi

Urban patterns occur because of repetition

of these elements. The pattern of Navi
Mumbai is studied at different hierarchical
spatial levels: regional (node / township) and
sub-regional (sector / neighborhood).

Navi Mumbai (New Bombay), India, established in 1972, is a
new planned city across the harbor (of Bombay) from
Bombay. This planned decentralization was the outcome of
efforts by the government to make Bombay more
“sustainable” (Bombay Metropolitan Regional Planning
Board, 1973).

The geographical area of Bombay is an island. The first

settlement was established in the southern most tip of the
island. Urbanization and subsequent suburbanization of
Bombay have created a linear city such that the central
business district (CBD) and residential areas have become
further and further apart.
A wide range of activities led to crowding at an
unprecedented scale. In Bombay, for those who could not
afford to make the long commutes, squatter settlements all
over Bombay became the way of life.

Navi Mumbai was designed to provide a better quality of

life, especially to the middle and lower class of people

Bombay is not a city built on Indian traditional planning
ideas. The city of Bombay had its beginnings in a series of
fishing villages until it was taken over by the Portuguese in
the 16th century. In 1661, the King of Portugal gifted the
Bombay islands to King Charles II of England when King
Charles married Catherine Braganza, a Portuguese princess.

In 1668, the Crown rented Bombay to the East India

Company. Bombay was then established as a trading post.
The East India Company encouraged Indian and East India
Company merchants to settle in Bombay. By the 1780s, the
East India Company had taken on the new role of ruler.

The East India Company, now as rulers, was interested in

developing the town in a methodical manner, and providing
efficient infrastructure (Dwivedi and Mehrotra, 1995).

The harbor was strengthened, the shipyard modernized and

the city fortified. There was a strong development of mixed
land use settlements. Commercial and residential areas were
mixed because many merchants carried on business from
home (Tindall, 1992).
In 1865, the Bombay Municipal Corporation was established,
and, in 1896, the Bombay Improvement Trust was created.
These formal government bodies were the beginning of a
conscientious effort to regulate the growth of Bombay
(Banerjee-Guha, 1995).

By the early 1900s, some thought was given to ’Greater

Bombay’, which would encompass the Fort area as well as the
suburbs of Bombay. However, Greater Bombay came into
existence only after the Bombay High Court Act of 1945. This
enclosed the Town and Island of Bombay, the Port of Bombay,
the suburbs and 42 villages within the definition of the new
city limit (Dwivedi and Mehrotra, 1995).

The Post-War development Committee of 1945 and the ’Master

Plan in Outline’ prepared by Albert Mayer and N. V. Modak
influenced the development of Greater Bombay for the next
two decades

The development acts of 1954 and 1964 emphasized the need
to relocate industrial
activity from the island to the mainland (CIDCO, 1995).

In the 1960s, various planning committees were formed to

develop a regional plan for Bombay. Land use zoning and the
concept of floor space index were incorporated for the first

In 1966, the Gadgil Committee strongly recommended a multi-

nuclear growth using the creation of a new town across the
harbor. This committee appointed the Bombay Municipal
Regional Planning Board to develop the concept further (Gadgil
Committee, 1965).

In 1967, the Bombay Municipal Regional Planning Board set up

two committees to study the development of Bombay. They

the creation of a new town on the mainland across the harbor

develop the suburbs of Bombay further

Bombay had reached a level of unmanageable growth by the
1960s. Bombay’s infrastructure facilities were stretched to the
limit. Commuter distances had become larger because of
increased suburbanization with no change in location of the CBD.
The 1967 development plan estimated a housing shortage of
131,000 houses, and 24 percent of the one and two room
tenements were over crowded.
Population Density of Bombay
1881 1891 1901 1911 1921 1931 1961
Area in acres 14247 14281 14342 14575 15066 15480 16751
Persons / Acre 54 56 54 67 78 75
165 184
(Various Census Reports for Bombay in Kosambi, 1986)

The Bombay Metropolitan Regional Planning Board in its report

wrote Bombay the Beautiful is no more beautiful. Many parts of it
are not even tolerably clean and healthy. Housing deficits are
ever widening and slums like a cancerous growth can be seen
anywhere and everywhere. Adequate water is a serious problem.

Transportation is threatening to break down…. (BMRPB, 1973)

Population increase, concentration of industries and offices in
In a final attempt, the Bombay Metropolitan Regional Planning
Board recommended considering a twin city across the harbor.

The Creation of Navi Mumbai

The prominent authors of the ’twin city concept’ were Charles
Correa, Pravina Mehta and Shirish Patel who presented to the
government a proposal in 1964 for constructing new growth
centers across Bombay harbor on the mainland.

The implementation occurred through ’correct’ political and

bureaucratic channels in 1969. This was in the form of the
Bombay Municipal Regional Planning Board’s recommendation
that a new city be designed within the Bombay Metropolitan
region to facilitate the decongestion of Bombay (Correa, 1997).
If the new city was too far away, then this would not be
possible (BMRPB, 1973).

The site that was finally chosen was across the harbor from
Bombay island. It is a narrow piece of land bounded by the
Western Ghat mountain ranges on the north, south and east,
and the Arabian Sea on the west (CIDCO, 1973).

Navi Mumbai covers an area of 344 sq. km. It is a self-contained

city independent of Bombay although there is still a visual
It was hoped that the nearness to Bombay would facilitate the
relocation of people from Bombay (CIDCO, 1973). Correa, Patel
and Mehta designed this regional plan based on three basic
objectives: a planned new development, financing physical and
social infrastructure through land sales, and improving Bombay
by drawing off pressures for growth into the new area (Patel,

The new town, comprising of a number of nodes (townships),

was designed to accommodate new industrial and commercial
activity as well as for secure and affordable housing to workers.

The plan hoped to reduce homelessness in Bombay and provide

slum dwellers a better life as well as absorb migration from the
countryside (Correa, 1985).

The regional plan was approved in 1970. The Bombay Municipal

Regional Planning Board created the City and Industrial
Development Corporation (CIDCO) in 1970 to implement its

The Draft Development Plan of 1973

The task of planning and developing Navi Mumbai was

entrusted to the City and Industrial Development
Corporation (CIDCO), a government agency explicitly set
up for this purpose.

CIDCO is a limited company, wholly owned by the State

Government of Maharashtra (CIDCO, 1973).

The first task of CIDCO was to prepare a development

plan for the new town. CIDCO used certain development
principles in its design. They were (CIDCO, 1973):
•polycentric pattern of development
•acquisition of all land to have better control of the
environment and to use land as the main resource for

The first step was to identify all the land that needed to be acquired
for Navi Mumbai.
Owners were notified about the government’s proposal. The land
notified for acquisition for Navi Mumbai was under private and
government ownership
Table Land Fragmentation in 1970
Ownership Area ( >500 sq. m. >1000 sq. m. >4000 sq. m.
>10000 sq. m.
Government 10137 - - - All
Private 16677 18412 3338 1579 90
Marsh(wetlands) 84
(CIDCO, 1995)

CIDCO notified all private owners about the compulsory acquisition.

The government
would acquire land under its power of eminent domain under Section
22, Maharashtra
Regional and Town Planning Act (MR&TP Act), 1966. Section 31(6)
under the same act
gives the government the power to specify land use and proceed
with development.

The finality of the approved Development Plan ensures that the

pressure and friction which would develop to obtain land57use
Although the main objective of the design of Navi Mumbai was to
create a selfsufficient urban environment, it also hoped to
improve the quality of life of Bombay. The objectives were (CIDCO,
1973: 10):
1. Reduce the growth of population in Bombay city by creating a
center that would absorb immigrants, and also attract some of
Bombay’s present population.

2. To support a statewide Industrial Location Policy which will lead

eventually to an
efficient and rational distribution of industries over the State and
a balanced development of urban centers in the hinterland.

3. To provide physical and social services, raise the living

standards and reduce the
disparities in the amenities available to the different sections of
the population.

4. To provide an environment which would permit the residents of

New Bombay to live
fuller and richer lives in so far this is possible, free from the
physical and social tensions,
which are commonly associated with urban living.
5. To provide a physical infrastructure which prevents ethnic
The chosen site had various development potentials
These were (CIDCO, 1995):
· the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC)
Estates at Turbhe and Taloja;
· the plan for a modern, container port at Nhava-Sheva;
· the existence of two municipal corporations at Panvel and
· the newly commissioned bridge across the Thane creek, and
transport corridors along Thane-Belapur;
· the Thane-Pune National Highway 4, Panvel-Uran rail and road

The success of Navi Mumbai was thought to depend on the

adequate creation of jobs (CIDCO, 1995). The development plan
took into account the

provision of 750,000 jobs for a population of 2 million (CIDCO,

1995). This was necessary
to (CIDCO, 1995):
•make Navi Mumbai self-contained and not a dormitory;
•to decongest Bombay by shifting jobs that are concentrated in
the southern part of Bombay; 59
The employment base of Navi Mumbai was planned to
encompass manufacturing (industry), trade and commerce
(wholesale and warehousing), as well as service sector (office)
jobs. The Industrial Location Policy issued in December 1974
posed various restrictions on the start of new industrial units on
Bombay island. A series of controls were made for various
regions within Bombay. No new, large or medium industrial units
were permitted on Bombay island. Only small-scale industries
were allowed in place of old, large industries. Industrial growth
was encouraged only in the MIDC industrial estates of Navi
Mumbai (CIDCO, 1973).

Almost 87% of the office jobs of Greater Bombay are located on

Bombay island with 62% in South Bombay. The plan called for
the shifting of government offices from South Bombay to Navi
Mumbai. The authors of the regional plan cited the case of New
Delhi to
emphasize their idea (Patel, 1997). A CBD was planned in Navi
Mumbai with the aim of
creating 40,000 office jobs.

Although job opportunities were the driving force behind Navi

Mumbai’s success, the availability of cheaper, better quality
Design Principles of Navi Mumbai
The conceptual design of Navi Mumbai was developed at the
height of Modernism.
Le Corbusier had played an important role in the design of
Chandigarh in Punjab in the mid-1950s (Le Corbusier, 1961).
Some of the highlights of the design elements of this plan were
sector planning, hierarchy of roads and important buildings of a
gargantuan scale (Fry, 1977).

Le Corbusier explained "the plan is based on the main features of

the 7V rule determining an essential function: the creation of
sectors. The sector is the container of
family life" (Le Corbusier, 1961). The sector was based on the
Spanish cuadra of 110 to 100 meters. Each of these cuadras was
a self-contained unit with primary schools, community centers
and residential areas. The cuadra had a detailed zoning plan with
single-use zoning on all lots. No fast traffic was allowed in the
sectors. V4 roads were designed for shopping and commercial
activity. Children were able to walk to school on the V7 through
green belts (Sarin, 1977). Many of these principles of Modernism
were used in the planning of Navi Mumbai. These were:
•decentralization by the design of self-sufficient
•residential neighborhoods (sector), 62

The result was a single-use zoning pattern with distinct areas for
industrial, commercial,
residential and institutional activity. The total land of Navi
Mumbai was divided into thirteen townships. Each township had
several sectors. Many of the sectors were residential in
character. The neighborhoods were self-sufficient and had their
grocery store and primary school. A sector centrally located
within each node took on commercial activities.

The sector planning of Modernism is very similar to the grid

planning of traditional Indian cities. In India the square was used
as the basic unit in the layout of traditional cities.

The square had a significance in Hinduism as this perfect

geometric shape was thought to be the abode of the gods. Even
in the planning of Mohenjadaro (7th century B.C.), main streets
formed perfect rectangles dividing the city into separate
residential areas based on caste. All houses in a neighborhood
were occupied by a particular caste. In India, the four castes are
Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Sudra, which corresponds to the
professions priest, warrior/king, merchant and peasant.
Navi Mumbai consists of thirteen townships (or nodes). Each
node is self-contained for 100,000 to 200,000 people.

Each node is divided into neighborhoods (or sectors).

The nodes contain residential, commercial, infrastructure and

recreational uses.

At a larger scale, nodes share some common facilities such as

water reservoirs and transport facilities.

Some of the nodes have special features. Vashi is the center of

Navi Mumbai's wholesale market. Airoli and Kopar-Khairane
have industrial estates, while Nhava-Sheva houses the new
container port. Each node was planned to accommodate a range
of income groups. There would be no rich or poor nodes (CIDCO,

The size of the node depends on walking distances to the mass

transit stop. The node should be large enough to provide
schools, shopping areas and other facilities.

The Development Plan of Navi
Mumbai is an example of the new consciousness for sustainable
settlements (CIDCO, 1995). The plan envisioned an ecologically
friendly city where products of nature would be used, and then
unused portions would be recycled. One of the ideas of putting
the environmental city into practice was the creation of
woodland corridors (Parab, 1997).

The Development Plan for Navi Mumbai called for the planting
of one hundred thousand trees every year! (Engel, 1991). This
would also ensure reduction of soil erosion and the
development of woodlands for both recreation and timber.

The streams flowing from the Western Ghats mountain ranges

would irrigate these trees. The plan called for the construction
of holding ponds to retain excess monsoon run-off, which would
be used in the dry seasons. Holding ponds would be used for
pisciculture and recreation. Water treated from industrial and
sewage waste would be used to develop green areas (Parab,

Social Agenda in the Planning of Navi Mumbai

Considerations of social equity were very important in all aspects

of development in a
country, which had been independent for only 20 years. The
primary concerns were related to providing better quality of
housing, education and job opportunities, medical care and
social welfare. The design of a completely new city was a very
good opportunity to implement these national concerns. The
Constitution of India also spells out the need for the government
machinery to facilitate social, economic and political equity.

The State shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds of

religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them (Article
15, I).

The State shall strive to promote the welfare of the people by

securing and protecting as effectively as it may a social order in
which justice - social, economic and political - shall inform all the
institutions of the national life (Article 38).

The planners of Navi Mumbai thought this was a fortuitous

occasion to provide social justice to the millions of migrants 68
Navi Mumbai’s founders saw the construction of large amounts
of new housing as an
opportunity to break down demographic divisions and to
enhance social equity.

The Draft Development Plan spelled out

"there is a tendency in India that induces people to live in like
groups, enclaves or ghettos of age long tradition of ’birds of
the same feather flocking together’. In planned towns and
cities this should be avoided to a great extent by allocating
housing in neighborhoods to members of different

To justify this consideration, planners cited the segregation of

Bombay as an example. When the East India Company
encouraged merchants to establish residence in Bombay,
merchants from neighboring districts migrated into Bombay
and constructed homes inside and outside the Fort walls. This
led to the development of ethnic enclaves. The Governor of
Bombay also encouraged this development because it
reinforced the traditional panchayati (selfgovernment) system
of administration by which the council of elders settled
religious, and law and order problems of the community 69
(Dwivedi and Mehrotra, 1995).
Provision of schools and colleges was a priority in the planning of
Navi Mumbai. The nodes (townships) were designed to provide
one primary school per 5000 population, one high school for
12,500 population and one college for 50,000 population (CIDCO,

These were the education facilities to be provided by the

government. Other private institutions would be encouraged
also. Minimum standards for building construction were
developed by CIDCO.

Health planning was undertaken as public health projects,

medical care, water supply and sanitation, recreation and
afforestation projects (CIDCO, 1973). The planning was for a
comprehensive coverage by taking the services to households,
schools and colleges and making health education a part of
classroom education. The community health care center would
primary health care. It would have out-patient department,
diagnostic and investigation services. Mobile health care units
would operate from this community health center. The medical
center would provide secondary health service. It would be a
small hospital and polyclinic where specialized health care would
The planners of Navi Mumbai did not intend to create an identity
for the city related to physical objects. The Development Plan
says (CIDCO, 1973: 17):

"CIDCO is anxious that the new city develop its own identity as
quickly as possible. It should contain its own jobs, shopping,
recreational and other social facilities an should not become a
dormitory for Greater Bombay.“

Thus, there was no aim to create a monumental city. Its identity

is only that of a spreading inkblot (Engel, 1991). It appears that
the monumental style of Corbusier was not an influence on this
design. New, planned cities of India such as Chandigarh,
Gandhinagar can be described by their grid system or
monumental scales. However, the identity of Navi Mumbai is
subtler. It is more of a philosophical identity - an identity based
on the Gandhian value of social equality.

The city of Navi Mumbai was planned to address the issue of

social equality through its physical design. The physical design
would be the instrument to implement this objective.
In particular, the allotment of residential apartments would be
Plan Implementation through the Public Administrative
The government authorities of Bombay realized that the
effectiveness of regional planning depended, largely, on the
institutions responsible for the plan. In the very beginning, the
Gadgil Committee Report (1965) had recommended the setting up
of a New
Town Development Authority (NTDA). CIDCO was appointed as
the NTDA.

CIDCO undertook the task of (CIDCO, 1995):

•developing land and providing infrastructure such as roads,
drainage, water supply, electricity;
•developing residential plots for different income groups;
•promoting commercial and other employment activity;
•involving Government agencies for developing public transport
and telecommunications.

Other institutions have also been set up in the Greater Bombay

region to facilitate planning efforts in the region. These are
(CIDCO, 1992):
CIDCO has executed the implementation of the plan in
various stages (CIDCO,
1992). These stages include:
Draft Development Plan (programs and policies)
- Objectives
- Data base
- Other agencies
- Visualizing the future

Action Plans
- Land use plans
- Residential layout plans
- Infrastructure plans
- Industrial location plans
-Environmental assessment

- Acquisition of land
- Finance
- Construction
- Relocation strategies

BMRDA took over such functions as coordination of metropolitan
planning, funding, execution of programs, development control
and maintenance of the entire Greater Bombay region including
Navi Mumbai (UNCHS, 1993).

Financial responsibilities and investment decisions are made by a

large number of agencies including the Government of India,
State Government of Maharashtra, CIDCO and firms in the
private sector, but coordinated by BMRDA.

Macro-level Regional Planning Inputs--Bombay Metropolitan

Development Authority (BMRDA)

Micro-level Sub-regional Planning Inputs--Navi Mumbai Municipal

Corporation Plan

Implementation of Navi Mumbai ---City and Industrial

Development Corporation (CIDCO)

Though the Navi Mumbai project was begun in 1970, the
development process has been slow.

The poor transportation links between Bombay and Navi

Mumbai has been the main contributing factor. Growth in other
development sectors of Bombay has also had an adverse effect
on Navi Mumbai’s growth.

The absence of a port and railway links slowed growth.

However, since 1990 there has been accelerated growth due to
the commissioning of Nhava-Sheva port, the extension of the
railway lines, establishment of more industries and
construction of more houses. CIDCO provides serviced sites for
both government and private ownership.

Houses have been constructed for different sectors of society -

economically weaker section, lower income group, middle-
income group and high-income groups. Commuter services
have become operational since May 1992, and housing
occupancy rates are high. Hence, the city is no longer a plan on
paper, but a living and working reality.
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