URBAN PLANNING

Out of three parliamentary constituencies in Thane District, Kalyan is a major constituency which comprises six legislative assemblies - Ambernath, Dombivli, Kalyan East, Kalyan Rural, Kalwa-Mumbra and Ulhasnagar. The constituency was created in 2009 after the recommendation of the Delimitation Commission of India. The qualified medical practitioner turned politician Dr Shrikanth Eknath Shinde is the current incumbent MP from the original Shiv Sena. The constituency is an urban area where parts of Ambernath, Dombivli, Kalyan East, Ulhasnagar, Kalwa Mumbra and Kalyan rural are urbanised. Dombivli is the new hub for industrial development as Sketchers developed Asia’s second largest national distribution…

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When I moved to Mumbai in June 2023 for work, I found myself going for sight seeing to the city's tourist destinations. Though the city appeared to have consistent and wide footpaths almost everywhere, vehicular right of way seemed to be prioritised over the pedestrian right of way. This struck me as very strange, even as I continued to enjoy walking through lanes of Mumbai very much. On one hand, there is excellent footpath coverage, utilised by large crowds everywhere. On the other hand, speeding vehicles create obstacles for something as simple as crossing the road.  "Though Mumbai appeared to…

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Recently, a plethora of articles have flooded in both digital and print media regarding a downward spiral in the BEST bus fleet size. The numbers have fallen from 3749 in 2016 to 2959 at the end of last year. While the attention this issue receives is certainly warranted, let’s not overlook the broader transportation landscape of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR). The MMR spans an area of 6328 km², which is 14 times larger than Mumbai which falls under BMC limits (also known as Greater Mumbai). It comprises 18 urban local bodies and over a thousand villages forming a contiguous labour market around the Greater…

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Fransisca Dantas, a visually challenged teacher, has a unique accessibility challenge while boarding the Mumbai local trains. She travels five days of the week from Andheri to Dadar by the local train for work. At Andheri, announcements about the arrival of trains, whether they are 12 or 15 coach, are erratic. This means passengers don't know where the women's compartment will be. Like other women commuters, she cannot run to get into the women’s compartment once the train arrives. “If it is a 15 coach, people start running helter skelter. With a first class season ticket I can get into…

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Bandra, Mumbai’s most sought-after suburb, has attracted both Indians and foreigners alike for its historic forts and seaside walks, blend of cultures and food, and its celebrity appeal. Yet the charm of the so-called “Queen of Suburbs” is being threatened by the frenzied pace and volume of construction and infrastructure projects going on simultaneously.  As the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) approves luxury high-rises and initiates yearly infrastructure projects, residents of the locality have voiced a concern that these projects are more superficial than substantive.  Once-peaceful streets have been reduced to one-ways or blocked by one project after another, sometimes overnight.…

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Renie Baptista, lives in a 100-old-legacy house in Matharpacady. The house, inherited by her father-in-law from his mother, invokes a mixture of legacy, emotional attachment to the neighbourhood, where people share similar cultural and social ethos. She also enjoys a sense of space in her 2000 sq ft bungalow, which, even now, is a sturdy house.  Shifting into a flat that could come with water and other infrastructural issues bothers her along with the worry of losing her link with her community spaces forever. Many others in Matharpacady share her anxiety. The quaint old charming bungalows and bylanes of Mazgaon village…

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The 148-year-old Sassoon docks, located at Mumbai's southernmost tip is set for a complete revamp to get rid of the foul smell emanating from the docks.  The docks were developed as a sea port over a century ago by Albert Abdul Sassoon, then a prominent textile trader. Today, it is Mumbai's oldest and biggest wholesale fishing harbour with an estimated daily fish catch of 150 tonnes brought in by around 600 registered boats.  The Mumbai Port Authority (MbPA), is the governing body of the 60,000 sq meters-huge dock (3.7 hectares of old dock and 3.8 hectares of new dock). It…

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With more than 7000 kilometers of coastline, India ranks 20 in the world among the countries with the longest coastline. Preserving this coastline from excessive construction is crucial for maintaining the ecological balance and safeguarding the fragile coastal environment.  Uncontrolled development along the coastline can lead to habitat destruction, erosion, and disruption of natural processes that are vital for the well-being of marine ecosystems. In order to protect coastal ecology and conserve the coastal environment, the Government of India issued the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) in 1991. This plays a pivotal role in mitigating the adverse impacts of construction on…

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As the city continues to grow and evolve, so does the need for robust fire safety preparedness. Chennai has had its fair share of fire accidents, claiming lives and gutting properties. This Diwali weekend, the fire department received more than 100 calls, most of them for minor incidents. According to the data from the Tamil Nadu Fire and Rescue Services, there has been a noticeable uptick in fire mishaps over the past few years. In 2022, Tamil Nadu recorded over 19,206 fire-related emergencies, and 67 lives lost to fire hazards. Property worth 29.76 crores was lost, underlining the financial impact…

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Every season brings its own positives and challenges for Aapli Mumbai. Monsoon is over and we are now grappling with the onset of winter and air pollution. Whatever the season and its challenges, it is important to look at the systemic issues and keep the focus on solutions. Only the collective will and efforts of the people and the administration can make the city more liveable. With that thought, Citizen Matters had organised an Essay Competition – Mumbai Monsoon Masterminds, calling for opinions from residents of Mumbai to share their experiences about monsoons and offer unique solutions. In the following…

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