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									DEPARTMENT OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE                                              Fall 2008

Course:                GSD 1401
Course Type:           Option Design Studio
Instructors:           Niall Kirkwood, Professor of Landscape Architecture and Technology
                       Nazneen Cooper, Assistant Dean, FAS, Harvard University
Teaching Assnt. Aron Chang (MArch I) Corey Zehngebot (MArch I)
Meeting Times: Tuesday, Thursday, 2.00pm- 6.00pm.

Studio Title:
MUMBAI METROPOLITAN: Adapting the Airport Lands, Mumbai, India
(The converging landscapes of townships, transportation, tides and topography)

The sponsored studio MUMBAI METROPOLITAN will reconsider Greater Mumbai (formerly Bombay)
and India’s densest and most grossly inhospitable urban fabric as part of a more livable and
sustainable metropolitan landscape and a locale of shifting ecologies, local and global economies
and varied domestic and civic environments.
A series of design propositions for the adaptation and livability of settlement lands gathered around
the intersection and overlap of six districts in Greater Mumbai, that we have named for the
purposes of this study- the Airport Lands. Specifically a program for new residential townships will
be proposed in the available land alongside additional infrastructure, open space and other civic
The Airport Lands are currently surrounded by, or under the influence of, inadequate road
infrastructure, working factories, 200 acres of slum housing in the adjacent Azadnagar shantytown
and to the south-east declining mangrove preserves alongside the Mithi River. In particular the class
will explore the relationship of this fast emerging yet haphazard Metropolitan landscape in the
north and northeast of Greater Mumbai to the surrounding context and to core connections in the
Island City to the south. The regeneration of existing land, open space and infrastructure for housing
will be proposed in opposition to the current private sector-led approach to the expansion of the
Island City through wholesale demolition and reconstruction on public lands. The likely outcome of
this approach remains to be tested, especially in combination with, and from a local perspective and
it will be a central part of the studio analysis to research and critique current approaches to
redevelopment and planning that support private and community activities, including satisfaction of
private sector and local aims and ambitions, as it will be to advance an overall attitude to the growth
of the Metropolitan area.
The studio pedagogy will therefore be focused on three complementary activities; approaches to
the adaptive reuse of current public lands, buildings and infrastructure, the development of
personal design agendas on local cultural, work, family and recreational practices, and strategies to
address the broader environmental and ethical concerns of water, waste and energy infrastructure.
It is expected that a range of studio tools will be explored including video, digital model-making as

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well as low-technology approaches such as field handbooks. A funded class trip to Mumbai and the
surrounding metropolitan area will take place in early October. A publication will be prepared in
Spring 2009 documenting the results of the studio.


India is in a period of rapid economic growth and expansion of population in its mega-cities. These
metropolitan centers are also home to poor quality or totally inadequate infrastructure,
overcrowded living conditions, enormous slums, decaying buildings and threadbare open space and
are struggling to keep pace with the ever increasing demands for basic services at all levels of
society. An over-arching concern is also the damage to the broader natural and built environment
and the degradation to the very ecological basis of these agglomerations whether in terms of river
and wetland systems, municipal drainage, disease, public health, air quality and soil pollution.
Nowhere is this more evident than in the Island City of Mumbai, India’s largest and richest city
whose wealth is based on trade, finance, textiles and filmmaking. The dissolution of large
manufacturing industries in the 1980’s, and the growth of global service economies in the 1990’s
has transformed the city into a global center as well as home to multiple local street micro-
enterprises- a melting pot of bureaucracy-free achievement, hard work, entrepreneurial innovation
and new, relentless dreams. However it is a grossly inhospitable urban environment where access to
the fundamentals of shelter, water, power, sanitation, open space, clean air and public transport
cannot be taken for granted by a majority of the inhabitants, and where over 50% of the population
reside in slums. Even for those who have access to such services, the city is vastly overcrowded with
terrible traffic congestion, and a low quality of civic life. Mumbai ranked 163 out of 218 cities
worldwide in the Forbes’ quality of life survey and 124 out of 130 cities in the Economist Intelligence
Unit’s hardship ratings.
Mumbai requires creative yet pragmatic approaches grounded in local codes and regulations to
address the re-distribution and housing of population and the creation of new townships
northwards and eastwards within the growing metropolitan area, to re-plan basic infrastructure and
open space in many of its districts, and to provide a range of methods to attack severe
environmental problems and local conditions of sanitation, flooding and waste. The studio will
specifically focus on the organization of sites in the area fronting wadi’s, rivers, and the ocean, and
propose a series of residential townships organized through research on settlement strategies,
carrying capacity and environmental engineering techniques.

MUMBAI: The Island City

Mumbai has been identified as a ‘gateway’ world city in Ham de Blij ‘s recent publication The Power
of Place: Geography, Destiny and Globalization in terms of the influx of global companies and as an
entry point into India for overseas commercial enterprises in communications, finance and
pharmaceuticals. It is also home to the wealth, dreams, talent and creativity of local industrialists,
hawkers, entrepreneurs, gangsters, artists, traders, millionaires, trash collectors, film stars,
fishermen and paupers and the multiple residents and rural immigrants who work in the teeming
offices and street and home businesses. It is a modern city of ambition, progress, density, poverty,
passion and pollution, teeming with industry and the capacity for change all set within a lush,
verdant yet vulnerable peninsula landscape of mangroves, tidal estuaries and forests. This studio
will explore local forms of daily passage, establishment and expansion of population centers, shifting

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civic ecologies, local and global economies and transportation, and multiple forms of shelter and
residential environments.
For the purposes of the studio we will hypothesize that no single viewpoint can claim ascendancy
and that any designer whether at the scale of the building, landscape or urban fabric must be open
to the needs, desires, realities of the varying population(s) who co-exist within the same urban
spaces, the pressures on the city and the metropolitan area from outside as well as the constraints
brought about by local regulations and laws and the relative forms of planning and design practices
that can work productively in its environment. One area that is of continuing concern and is central
to this studio is the nature of housing and new townships to be provided to address the growing
population(s) as well as the continuing livability of the city. Even here this studio will be concerned
with a rethinking of Mumbai away from piecemeal individual site designs to comprehensively
address the regeneration/redevelopment by public/private partnerships of clusters of lands in the
Greater Mumbai area. The students will take the position that the criteria for determining whether a
region or mega-city is overpopulated is not the density or any available economic indexes but the
carrying capacity- a term derived from the fields of ecology and biology and one that we will
continue to employ in this studio. Carrying capacity as it can be applied to an urban condition like
Mumbai is the number of inhabitants who can be supported in a given area within its natural
resource limits without degrading the natural, social, cultural and economic environment for
present and future generations. Ultimately, this studio is about using a range of creative planning
and design approaches and tools to rethink the Greater Mumbai Metropolitan area. It is less about
beauty, less about gratuitous form making and the creation of individual paradigms, rather to focus
on everyday peoples lives. The purpose is to understand and include the adaptation of the existing
City’s physical and social structure, to address the question of urban subsistence for the majority of
the population, to employ broader boundaries as definitions for improvements and renewal, to
incorporate the marginalized populace, to plan beyond the economic limits as a gateway city, and to
question social definitions.

Named Bom Bahia for its protective harbor by early Portuguese traders, Bombay (Mumbai) (1) was
acquired by the British in the 17th century and developed as the principal port and administrative
center for the East India Company, the private company licensed by the British government to trade
in the Far East. Mumbai was originally defined by the extraordinary geographical condition of a
narrow archipelago of seven low lying marshy islands and underwent over the centuries a steady
filling of channels and reclamation of land and reshaping to form a narrow sea-bound solid
peninsula attached to the mainland approximately 18 kilometers long by 4.7 kilometers wide
(narrowing to a point at its most southerly tip).
It is worthy of note that one sixth of the world’s population is currently located in India and of those
about 60% are under the age of 25. The population of the Municipality of Greater Mumbai has
doubled every twenty years or so, rising from 3 million in 1951 to approximately 12 million in 2001.
Roughly 40 percent of the increase was due to the migration of landless rural laborers and their
families searching for better jobs and the rest from natural population increase. The percentage of
its population living in slums had also risen steadily from 12 percent in 1961 to 54 percent in 2001,
the highest proportion of any major city in India. In the 1980’s Mumbai was the world’s fifteenth
largest urban agglomeration in terms of population. By the 2001 census the Mumbai metropolitan
area was home to 17.7 million people. Of these, 11.9 million lived in the peninsula of Greater
Mumbai itself. The other 5.8 million metropolitan residents lived in neighboring cities north and east
of Greater Mumbai, including Thane (1.3 million persons), Kalyan (1.2 million persons) and Navi
(New) Mumbai, a new town on the mainland across from the peninsula with a population of

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704,000 that had been proposed as a means of relieving Mumbai´s congestion. Along with its
neighboring suburbs, Mumbai now forms the world's 5th most populous metropolitan area, with a
population exceeding 20 million within an overall area of 4,355 square kilometers. However living
conditions in the City of Mumbai itself with an overall area of only 85 square kilometers have
deteriorated to the point where more than half the city’s 14 million people live in slums or on the
pavements, and high housing costs have pushed middle-income families to distant suburbs or to
remain in below standard apartments. Slum dwellings typically lack water, power, sanitary services
or both and the average population density in Mumbai’s slums exceeds 200,000 persons per square
kilometer. Even non-slum housing is crowded and many families live in one-room apartments.
Households in Mumbai have an average of only 2.9 square meters (31 ft2) of residential floor space
per person.
Slums are located on lands that tended to be unprotected. For example, on vacant government
land, by filling in coastal wetlands and mangrove swamps where development was legally
prohibited, or on the railroad right-of-ways. The slums houses not just the very poor, but also many
of the lower middle class, including clerks, teachers and office workers.
Transportation is complicated by Mumbai’s geographic constraints but made worse by limited
investment and maintenance. The city depends on its commuter railroad system that carries 10
million passenger trips per day. Services are very overcrowded, in some segments carrying over 500
passengers per car in rail cars designed to carry 220 persons. Only two major roads ran north south
down the peninsula and neither was built to full expressway standards. Comparable problems exist
with the city’s water, sewage and drainage systems. The city has only about two-thirds of the water
needed to meet the demands of households connected to the pipe network, so that most
neighborhoods do not enjoy 24-hour service and the slum dwellers rely on carrying water from
public standpipes,. The drainage system’s limitations were illustrated in the monsoon season of
2005, when a catastrophic flooding event (37 inches falling in 24 hours on 27 th July) left the
downtown flooded for days and killed over 100 people.
In addition it is worthy of note that Mumbai has only 0.03 acres of open land per 1,000 people,
arguably the lowest ratio in the world, (London is 4.84 acres/1000 people, New York is 5.33
acres/1000 people, Cairo is 0.21 acres/1000 people).
After national independence (1947) Bombay as it was still known remained a regional capital. After
the formation of states in the mid 1960s it became the capital of the Maharashtra State. The
landscape of the city was characterised by new industrial districts, town planning schemes, large
mass housing colonies, bungalows and apartments in suburban areas and some commercial
districts. It was at this time that slums started to appear in the city- zones of dense settlements
governed by porous legalities, popular politics, and tactical negotiations over space and survival.
Currently townships are being planned and constructed in a haphazard way in Mumbai. Townships
are districts of the city that provide all the amenities of a civic life with the exception of places of
work. These are generally located at some distance from the townships and require connections to
public transportation such as rail or roadways.

Note 1:
The names ‘Bombay’ and ‘Mumbai’ are constantly interchanged today in the literature and reporting
of the Island City. In 1995 the nationalist Shiva Sena Party came to power in the State of
Maharashtra and changed the city’s British colonial name of Bombay to Mumbai. The return of city
names to their Indian/native origins has been carried out with several cities, so that Benares is once
again Varnasi, Madras is Chennai, etc. It is correct to use Mumbai although city inhabitants still use
the ‘old term’ Bombay and this name pervades many institutions, landmarks and documents.

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Airport Lands
As a result of the parallel issues of densification and uncontrolled expansion of the city over the last
ten years, Greater Mumbai is making serious efforts to continue to advance its commercial
advantage on a world stage through the municipal sale of public land for private and joint ventures
and with new construction and engineering initiatives without ensuring that adequate steps are
taken to address its grossly inhospitable urban environment. Among the four areas in Mumbai
under close scrutiny by recent planning and design efforts have been the mill lands in the midtown,
the eastern waterfront/port lands on the south-eastern seaboard of the city, the north/south rail
lands that carry daily commuters to and from the commercial districts in the south, and the
Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) public housing lands scattered
throughout the city.
These areas are central to the revised 2011 Greater Mumbai Master Plan along with a further area,
the 1,450 acre (585 hectares) Airport Lands to the north of the City that has recently announced
plans for its consolidation and re-planning to coincide with the construction of a new airport located
35 kilometers away in Kopra Panvel, Nava Mumbai (New Mumbai). This initiative has opened up
surrounding lands in multiple ownerships for adaptation as housing districts along with much
needed improvements to the infrastructure and connections to the Island City. The class will
comprehensively examine the adaptive reuse of the Airport Lands for residential townships in
opposition to the current expansion of the Island City through wholesale demolition and
reconstruction to orient the city towards a more strategically coherent expansion and urban growth.

Previously isolation hospitals, local villages and military encampments were thinly scattered among
the marshy filled ground alongside wadis and swamps. Now with the population of the central core
of the city beyond 14 million the city is attempting to control the informal expansion northwards
and eastwards in the marshy ground. The larger study area for the studio approximately 3000
hectares, is highly contested through the airports, adjoining slum settlements in the Azadnagar
shantytown river corridors, wetlands and flood zones and competing state and municipal
commercial interests. The study area located in the districts of Kurla, Bandra, Marol, Juha,
Ghnatkopar and Santa Cruz is currently informed by, the major Santa Cruz Railway Station, remnant
mangrove patterns, to the north, film city (or Bollywood as it is known) a commercial government
district at Bandra Kurla, existing residential townships, and the University of Bombay and Military
lands as well as multiple and haphazard land ownership and patterns of converging roadways and

A Brief History

Mumbai’s location makes it a natural international gateway for India, especially for goods and
people bound to or from Europe, the Middle East and North America. A number of distinct periods
can be distinguished in terms of its occupation, population character, development and industry as

Fishing Villages and Ancient Ports: Mumbai was originally a set of seven islands dotted with fishing
villages, paddy fields and agricultural villages. It also housed ancient ports around which mercantile
villages developed. The economy was primarily based on fishing and agriculture. Successive rulers to
protect its significant location of the western coast of India for trade built forts and other military

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Trade Routes and Market Places: The British and the East India Company strengthened Bombay (as
it then became known) as a trading centre by using the natural harbour at the south of the city.
Subsequently, adjoining lands were developed into markets. Farmlands were used for development
of the city northwards. Large-scale landscape reclamation overcame the geographical limitation of
the seven islands by land-filling between the islands. Formal planning was done to encourage trade
and revenue tax collection and cartographic maps were prepared during this time to aid the
collection. The British Military Fort was developed at the south. Outside this fort a large densely
packed town grew known as the ‘Black Town’.

Industrial City: Textile mills were set up in Bombay during the second half of the 19th Century. At
the same time train tracks were laid north-south to move goods and military personnel. By the
beginning of the 20th century, Bombay had become one of the most important textile producing
centres in the world. The landscape of the city was characterised by mills, bridges, railway stations
and chawls multi-tenanted buildings with shared utilities built by mill owners and other landowners
for workers.

British Colonial Capital: With the national freedom movement gaining strength during the end of the
19th century, the British government started planning Bombay as a colonial outpost capital.
Organisations and Institutions like Municipal Corporations, Improvement Trusts, Public Transport
Companies, Courts and Universities were set up. These institutions became responsible for planning
and managing the city. The landscape of the city during the time was characterised by planned
developments with wide roads, public transport facilities, social clubs, recreation facilities and
distinct residential districts.

Independent State Capital: After national independence (1947) Bombay as it was still known
remained a regional capital. After the formation of states in the mid 1960s it became the capital of
the Maharashtra State. Planning focused on regulations of Urban Land Ceiling and Rent Control and
instruments of Floor Space Index (FSI), Development Plan and Land use Zoning. Also large service
institutions like the Bombay Housing Repair Board, the Housing Authority and the Industrial
Corporation were created. The landscape of the city was characterised by new industrial districts,
town planning schemes, large mass housing colonies, bungalows and apartments in suburban areas
and some commercial districts. It was at this time that slums started to appear in the city- zones of
dense settlements governed by porous legalities, popular politics, and tactical negotiations over
space and survival.

Overcrowded Metropolis: The high rate of migration into the city became the central urban issue in
the 1980’s. Institutions like the Metropolitan Authority were set up to discuss and organise growth
outside the city boundaries. The Regional Plan was born in this context that created a proposal for a
new Central Business Districts and a satellite city (New Bombay). Slums, suburban developments,
urban fringe sprawl started proliferating on account of immense demand.

Global Capital: Mumbai’s present growth now rests on a world service industry that ranges from
large business outsourcing, finance and information technology ventures down to the more local
street entrepreneurs. The new geography of Mumbai is characterised by large infrastructure
projects and urban renewal with joint participation from various private development, community
agencies and municipal authorities.

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Policy, Laws and Codes

Mumbai had adopted a variety of policies to cope with the problems of urban growth and
congestion. One of the earliest and most controversial was residential rent control. The rent control
law froze rents at September 1, 1940 levels and the law was gradually modified to establish the right
of tenants to transfer or sell their lease to family members or others.

Another innovation was Floor Space Index (FSI) limits, which Mumbai adopted in 1964 to try to keep
the city from becoming too congested. Mumbai initially set FSI (USA uses FAR- floor area ratio) limits
of 4.5 in the central business district on the island, 1.3 elsewhere in the peninsula and 0.5 in the

Rent control left landlords with little incentive or resources to maintain their buildings and by the
1960s many were unsafe and hundreds of units actually collapsed. The FSI controls made matters
worse because the existing buildings often had more floor space than was now allowed, so that the
property owner would have to build a smaller building if he rebuilt, which made it impossible to
meet his legal obligation to re-house his existing tenants. In 1969 responded to the growing
problem by the city establishing the Mumbai Building Repairs Board to carry out repairs on rent-
controlled buildings. Under this program the municipality essentially took control of derelict
buildings, and either improved or demolished them. Repairs were financed from a combination of a
repair tax on the building and government resources. Limits were set as to how much the
government could spend on repairs, and repairs in excess of that limit were undertaken only if the
tenants in the building agreed to pay the excess expenditures. If the tenants would not pay and the
building was unsafe, it would be condemned and demolished. In 1984 the repair program was
amended to use exemptions from the FSI limits to motivate landlords to reconstruct their
deteriorated buildings. Landlords agreeing to rebuild would be allowed to rebuild either at an FSI of
2.5 or at the FSI required to re-house the tenants plus a 50 percent “incentive” FSI, whichever was
higher.1 From 1970 to 1990 the Building Repairs Board oversaw the repair of 222,180 apartments
and the reconstruction of 15,286 apartments out of an inventory of approximately 400,000 rent
controlled units. Except for safety, there were no marked improvements in the living standards of
tenants. Even with the program 200 to 400 units collapsed every year during the 1980s and 1990s.
In 1976, the Urban Land Ceiling and Regulation Act, 1976, the Development Plan, 1991 incorporated
changes to FSI and Transfer Development Rights (TDRs)

Vision Mumba
To develop a comprehensive analysis of what was needed to make Mumbai a more prosperous and
livable world-class city the civic group ‘Bombay First’ commissioned and then released a
revitalization plan called ‘Vision Mumbai’ in 2003. The study argued that Mumbai suffered from the
poor quality of its urban environment and the high costs of living and doing business. Instead of
leading the way Mumbai seemed to be falling behind and not just to the overseas cities but to other
Indian cities such as Bangalore. The plan proposed an eight-part program, the central thrust of
which was to reduce the high costs of housing and commercial property by changing land-planning
regulations to allow denser development and by building more transport infrastructure to support
that development.
Another key initiative was to increase the effective land supply by 50-70%. The mill and port sites,

1This is a simplification of the FSI incentives, which varied increasing somewhat with the age of the building and the number
of individual buildings to be reconstructed.

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though very well located, would increase developable lands by less than one percent, and thus
probably not make a dent in affordability. A 30 to 40 percent increase in the effective land supply by
increasing the allowable FSI to 4 throughout the city was proposed. An additional 15 to 20 percent
would come if Mumbai built a long-discussed trans-harbor rail and road bridge connecting Sewri on
the peninsula with Nhava on the west coast; the bridge would make the Nhava area an attractive
residential location for downtown workers. And another 15 to 20 percent could come from
selectively relaxing the ban on development in Mumbai’s coastal zones and mangrove swamps,
which the consultants thought could be done without increasing flood risks. To insure that these
new lands were developed, Vision Mumbai recommended the repeal of both the rent control law
and the land ceiling act.

Vision Mumbai also proposed reforms to Mumbai’s slum upgrading program. At its current rate, the
upgrading program would generate only 150,000 new dwellings in the coming 10 years, a far cry
from the over 1 million needed. The problem, the consultants argued, was that the program was too
generous to apply widely. It provided slum dwellers apartments for free, which meant that the FSI
bonuses were sufficient only in the most valuable locations. Slum dwellers should be given their
land for free, and allowed to use its value as the down payment on their apartment. But they
should contribute to the construction costs through a modest monthly payment. Such payments,
combined with using market-based auctions to select developers and other administrative reforms,
would allow the construction of 1.1 million units for slum dwellers in the coming decade.

The release of the report stimulated a great deal of reaction in the local press, much of it critical.
Some planners and activists were skeptical about the depth of McKinsey’s analysis. The report was
only 32 pages long, mostly detailing the recommendations without providing much evidence that
they would work. And some of the proposals seemed impractical, such as the inner ring expressway
that would require the demolition of many buildings and cut the city off from its waterfront.
Environmental groups were opposed to relaxing controls on development in coastal zones and
wetlands. They argued that building on the wetlands, often illegal or sanctioned by the city under
dubious circumstances, had been a major cause of the 2005 flooding. One legislator argued that
Maharashtra should enforce the land ceiling act rather than repeal it, contending in a lawsuit that
some 15,000 acres were being held by individuals and corporations in excess of the limits. But the
common theme was that the plan seemed to be designed to serve the interests of builders rather
than ordinary citizens. “It comes across as a report by the builders’ lobby,” said another planner.
“The city would never have declined to the present level had it not been for Maharashtra’s builder-
politician nexus.”

The State of Mahrashstra embraced the plan, however, with the Chief Minister creating a cabinet-
level task force to implement it and proposing that the State budget 3.1 billion rupees (US$ 689
million) to fund some of the infrastructure components. A critical boost came in the 2004 national
elections, when the Congress Party, which had initiated national economic reforms of the late 1980s
and early 1990s, regained control of the central government. The Congress Party had been in power
in the State of Maharashtra since 1999, and the fact that the same party controlled both the state
and central governments promised to make Mumbai’s search for aid easier. Moreover, the new
Prime Minster, Manmohan Singh, had urban reforms on his agenda. China, led by its cities, was
growing at twice the rate of India, which suggested that India had to improve its cities to catch up.
In 2005, the Prime Minister announced a new US$ 11.2 billion urban renewal fund to finance
infrastructure in India’s largest cities. But while the state and central governments were both
embracing reform, they had different priorities. The State of Maharashtra seemed more intent on

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building new infrastructure than on changing land use regulations. It was not that the Chief Minister
feared controversy: not long after the 2004 elections he began a program to create land for
development and infrastructure by demolishing slums built after 1995, which were not legally
protected. National Congress Party leaders intervened to stop the clearance and promised to
legalize all slums built before 2000, but not before the State had, by some reports, demolished
90,000 huts that had housed 350,000 people. The Prime Minster, by contrast, was convinced that
improved infrastructure alone was not enough and had required that cities and states receiving the
new urban renewal grants adopt 13 reforms, including the repeal of the land ceiling act and the
promulgation of a rent control law that was fair to both landlords and tenants. The State of
Maharashtra seemed to balk at some of the requirements, proposing, for example, that its land
ceiling act be repealed only after 5 years. And while FSI regulations were not on the Prime
Minister’s list, the Municipal Corporation, which set the FSI limits, was talking only of some
“experimentation.” Rumor had it that the builders developing the old mill lands wanted any reforms
delayed until after their buildings came on the market. Meanwhile the Prime Minister’s new urban
renewal program, like Vision Mumbai, was being attacked for being pro-business and anti-poor. In a
remark he probably later regretted, the Prime Minster had commented at the inauguration of his
new program that he hoped that Mumbai would eclipse Shanghai in five years. The mention of
Shanghai help fuel the view that, as one critic put it, the urban renewal fund “is not directed at
ameliorating the terrible conditions facing ordinary working people, but at satisfying the long-
standing demands of business. The World Bank and the Asian Development Bank in particular insist
that the government make India’s cities more conducive to private capital.” In response, supporters
of Vision Mumbai argued that the emphasis on class interests and conflict was misguided, and that
Mumbai was in danger of missing an opportunity to make the city better for everyone.


The Chatrapati Shivaji International Airport is India’s largest aviation hub and currently serves as the
main entry point into Mumbai and the State of Maharashtra for local and international visitors. The
Airport Lands are surrounded by factories, 200 acres of informal housing in the Azadnagar
shantytown (slums and street dwellers) and to the southeast declining mangrove preserves
alongside the Mithi River. Therefore, the aim of this interdisciplinary studio will be to generate, test
and document urban strategies that adapt and reuse the Airport Lands and will also seek to
generate new relationships between landscape, infrastructure and urbanization. The working
between multiple scales will allow the discovery of potential sites for intervention and where the
social needs of residents can be negotiated within the emerging forms of urban development.
The studio will have three foci that will organize the work. First, the exploration of ‘movements of
arriving and leaving the city’ through the study of historic, cultural, infrastructural, temporal and
ecological ‘gateways’
Secondly, the history and evolution of village settlements and townships as a stable social and
environmental landscape within the Indian context and in particular an understanding of satellite
townships such as Nava Mumbai to the east of the city and the ability for proposed townships to be
a sustainable community that grows with and is connected to the historic city.
This remains to be tested, especially in combination with, and from a local perspective. Third and
finally, strategies to address the broader environmental and ethical concerns of the infrastructure of
water, waste and energy to support the settlement and organization of the airport lands will be
carried out.

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The class will carry out exploratory exercises and analyses into the history, environment, culture and
urbanization patterns of the city prior to the field visit. During the site visit in addition to the formal
class schedule, students will carry out field research on personal design agendas within the city and
at the completion of the semester specific design proposals will be prepared involving four
prominent components: adaptive reuse of land for residential townships, buildings, open space and
infrastructure as they relate to diurnal and annual cycles of flooding, scarcity of water and impacts
on the Mithi River and the Mangrove swamps and the gorgeous, unashamed escapism of the Indian
film industry - Bollywood located to the north of the study area. Approaches for implementing the
plans will also be investigated, as they would influence the development of the 2011 Greater
Mumbai Master Plan.

Structure of Studio

The organization of the studio is broken down into four parts as follows.

Part One:        Introducing the City by the Ocean
Part Two:        Field Testing
Part Three:      Mumbai Metropolitan
Part Four:       Design Proposal(s)

Handouts will be given for assignments in each part.
A mid-review will follow Part Three
A final review will follow Part Four

The aim of the studio will be to generate, test and demonstrate a design model or models that
conform to the needs of new townships and the urban landscape within the Airport Lands and to do
so from the perspective of private/public partnerships. It should be noted that the studio will not be
focused on the design of the re-planning of the Airport itself rather we will focus on developing
models for townships taking into account the economic, environmental and cultural constraints. For
the planning or urban design student there will be ample opportunity to examine within a non-
western environment, the issues, form and expressions of urban development and regeneration, for
the landscape architecture student, the concerns of macro and micro-scale landscape systems,
ecological strategies and the design of social space and for the architecture student the opportunity
to work with the built fabric and open space of past/present housing in Mumbai. All students will
have to address issues of infrastructure, complex social and cultural programs and activities and
working within the restrictions and regulations of the Mumbai environment. However it is the
intention of the studio to allow class members from all departments to work across discipline
boundaries and to explore both the limits and the possibilities of design/planning at varying scales.



The studio will undertake a trip to Mumbai funded by the Bombay Dyeing & Manufacturing
Company Limited. Students are required to obtain the necessary visa and vaccinations for travel to
India. The class will visit the Greater Mumbai Region from 10 October to 18 October 2008 (see
schedule that follows). Flights, transportation within Mumbai and accommodation will be provided

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by the sponsor along with an air-conditioned working space for the entire class at the Spring Mill site
offices during their stay in the City. Accommodation will be provided at a hotel in the Colaba District
in Downtown Mumbai. The Instructors will host two dinners for the class and invited guests to thank
our hosts, local experts and guides for their hospitality and Bombay Dyeing will host a dinner with
our sponsor Ness Wadia. Students will be responsible for daily meals, and other evening meals and
incidental personal expenses incurred during the trip, however you will find these are generally
Activities planned for the trip include an orientation tour of the city including historical, cultural and
civic institutions, a tour of public and sacred spaces, landscapes and buildings and walking visits to
both historic districts and contemporary projects. We will examine public parks, riverways, water
tanks, slums, and textile factories. Visits will take place outside Mumbai to new urban developments
in Nava Mumbai (New Mumbai) in the surrounding context of the study area. The studio will have
cars and drivers at our disposal to move efficiently (as far as that is possible in Mumbai) around the
city. During our visit in addition to carrying out extensive site reconnaissance and analysis we will
meet with community committees, municipal leaders, scientists, political leaders and have dinner
and discussion with Mumbai’s industrialists, and design and planning professionals. In the past a
sightseeing trip outside Mumbai to Pune, or New Delhi has been added on at the completion of the
studio visit. The Instructors do not participate in this trip and it is for the studio class to decide how
to use their free time.
Under published GSD regulations the Mumbai site visit is a requirement for participating in, and
successfully completing, the studio course, but a waiver to not participate in the trip can be given
under certain circumstances. A handout covering the field trip to Mumbai will be issued nearer the
visit covering the final schedule, background information on daily activities as well as items to pack,
clothing, foot-ware and importantly personal health and cultural issues to be aware of.

Travel Documents
Students should ensure that they have all the relevant documents to allow them to travel outside of
the United States and then return. In particular the Indian Government requires entry visas to be
obtained from their consulates for all those non-Indian passport holders undertaking travel to India.
GSD Student Services and the International Office at Harvard can assist in these matters but it is the
responsibility of each student to have obtained the necessary paperwork.

Health and Travel
Staying for even a short time in India requires students to take precautions to safeguard against
illness. The University Health Services provide vaccines that will be necessary for all students to
obtain. Review the website for advice for travelers from the USA to India. In particular
advice on using bottled water, eating habits and general health matters will be given in a separate
handout nearer the time of the site visit.

Preliminary schedule

Friday 10 October
                         Leave Logan Airport (Boston)- flight to Mumbai.

Saturday 11 October

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                        Late Evening:
                        Arrive Chatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai
                        Class checks into Hotel, Colaba.

Sunday 12 October
                        Morning and Afternoon
                       Overview Tour of Mumbai by bus- key districts, high points-
                       Malabar Hill to view overall city), sea edge- East/West
               coast, Fort District, Race-course,
                       Evening: dinner sponsored by GSD Landscape Department

Monday 13 October
                        Spring Mill, Meeting with Ness Wadia
                        Overview of city fabric from Naperol Towers 28th Floor
                        Site Visits: Mumbai and Airport Lands
                        Evening: open

Tuesday 14 October
                        Scheduled meetings with local experts and authorities
                        Student Personal Agendas
                        Evening: open

Wednesday 15 October
                        Scheduled meetings with local experts and authorities
                        Site Visits: Bandra and Airport Lands
                        Evening: dinner sponsored by Bombay Dyeing

Thursday 16 October
                        Student Personal Agendas
                        Evening: dinner sponsored by Harvard FAS

Friday 17th October
                        Visit to Talab Township,
                        Review with Ness Wadia, Spring Mill
                        Evening: open

Saturday 18th October
                        Free day

                                                                                  Page 12 of 15
                      Evening: open
                      Check out hotel

Sunday 19th October   Leave Mumbai early morning flight to Boston
                      Arrive Boston early evening



Meeting       Date                      Activity

Week 1
Tuesday       September 16              Introduction & Part One Assignment issued
Thursday      September 18              Studio desk crits

Week 2
Tuesday       September 23              Studio desk crit
Thursday      September 25              Studio desk crits

Week 3
Tuesday       September 30              Class pinup: Interim review
Thursday      October 2                 Class pinup: Final workbooks due

Week 4
Tuesday       October 7                 Seminar/Part Two Assignment issued
Thursday      October 9                 Preparation for Field Trip

Week 5
Tuesday       October 14                Mumbai Trip
Thursday      October 16                Mumbai Trip

Week 6
Tuesday       October 21                Part Three Assignment issued
Thursday      October 23                Studio desk crits

Week 7
Tuesday       October 28                Studio desk crits
Thursday      October 30                Class pinup

Week 8
Tuesday       November 4                Seminar
Thursday      November 6                Studio desk crits

Week 9
Tuesday       November 11               Veterans Day/Class Pinup

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Thursday          November 13           Studio desk crits

Week 10
Tuesday           November 18           Midreview: Parts One, Two and Three
Thursday          November 20           Individual Post-review meetings
                                        Part Four Assignment issued
Week 11
Tuesday           November 25           Studio desk crits
Thursday          November 27           Thanksgiving Break

Week 12
Tuesday           December 2            Class Pinup
Thursday          December 4            Studio desk crits

Week 13
Tuesday           December 9            Studio desk crits
Thursday          December 11           Studio desk crits

Week 14
Wednesday         December 17           Final Review
                                        9.30- 5.30pm
Week 15
Monday            December 22           Student Individual Exit Interviews

Studio Reviews and Pinups
Critics for the mid-review and final reviews will consist of invited guests from India and the Greater
Boston area and GSD faculty. Invited guests will include Ness Wadia of the Bombay Dyeing and
Manufacturing Company Limited, Mumbai. Faculty from the three Departments will also be invited.

The assignment of grades for GSD 1401 follow the procedures laid out in the GSD Catalog. The
Instructors will give written evaluations to each student after the mid-review and final review.

Documentation of Studio Results
The results of the studio will be assembled and published as an illustrated report in the spring of
2009. The TA’s will collect digital copies of studio work after the final review. Class members should
prepare a CD. The Instructor will present the student’s work in the studio to a seminar of interested
stakeholders and officials in Mumbai in 2009.

End of syllabus

This course is the joint copyright of The President and Overseers of Harvard College and the
Instructors of Record. No reproduction of any part of this course in any form is allowed without the
express permission of the Instructors of Record.

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