Impact assessment of redevelopment in and around Gaothans in Navi Mumbai

Introduction

The phenomenon of urban villages in the Indian context can be viewed from two different perspectives. The first suggests that under the influence of rapid urbanisation and economic development, many urban areas in Indian cities and towns have doubled or tripled in terms of land cover and population. As a result, a large number of traditional rural villages, located in the peripheral areas of cities, have became part of the city’s built up areas. They have been turned into the so-called ‘urban villages’ and examples can be seen across the country – from small towns like Bhiwadi in the National Capital Region, to cities like Hyderabad and Bangalore.

The second is the case of existing urban villages within city limits and includes examples such as Delhi, Mumbai and Navi Mumbai. In the case of Delhi, these urban villages also identified as lal dora, are exempted from municipal and building codes. In Navi Mumbai, these urban villages, locally known as gaothans were initially not included in the land acquisition process during the formation of the Navi Mumbai New Town Development Authority Notified Area.

Study Brief

In 2014, the Maharashtra State Government proposed a resolution for Urban Renewal Schemes for gaothans and surrounding areas in the Navi Mumbai Notified Area to regulate unplanned and haphazard development. The scheme relies heavily on voluntary and participatory involvement of eligible inhabitants of gaothans and surrounding areas. It is envisaged that this redevelopment approach will also address unauthorised development of structures owned by the Project Affected Persons (PAPs) and other individuals on lands acquired by CIDCO. The proposed redevelopment and regularisation of the existing eligible structures by increasing the floor space index to four must be preceded by an impact assessment study as per the instructions of the High Court of the State of Maharashtra.

A joint research study was initiated by the CIDCO Smart City Lab at NIUA with the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, India as per the scope of work suggested by CIDCO. The research study assesses the impact of the redevelopment of gaothans and surrounding areas by increasing the FSI to up to 4 on physical, social infrastructure and other facilities such as parking, open spaces etc. Ten gaothans were studied in detail to map the status quo of the urban villages in Navi Mumbai and re-establish the need for redevelopment, and providing communities with better quality of life and safe neighbourhoods. The infrastructure gap analysis was followed by a financial analysis to assess the economic viability of the scheme with the demonstration of a financial model for the Shelgar* gaothan. The study concludes with guidelines to mitigate the impacts of future developments as part of the reform action plan.

Summary

The approach towards redevelopment of urban villages by city governments vary from city to city. It can trigger socio-economic, cultural and housing re-arrangements within these communities. The diversified consequences of physical and social changes can be different for each village. For instance, urban villages in most of the cities are the hub of cheap rental housing for migrant population. Redevelopment in most cases doesn’t include the existing rental households under the rehabilitation and can adversely impact the rental housing market.

Development of gaothans in Navi Mumbai started with change in the land-use of gaothans from agriculture which was the prime source of livelihood for native population to several other urban land uses. The agricultural land was either sold or acquired by government for urban area expansion. Extensive unauthorised developments mushroomed** in the peripheral areas of gaothans reportedly due to housing needs of existing and migrant population. Development of gaothans evolved spatially to provide more housing units, and vary functionally to make available room space for changing demand. The development of gaothans reflects the multiple needs and demands of people that live and work there, and these are related to their formal urban context. As a result, gaothans evolved differently, largely due to their diverse urban contexts, and this shapes a heterogeneous urban village housing market. Human behaviour in different gaothans tends to be diverse in nature as they shift from agricultural production to room-renting and other socio-economic activities.

Research Study report would be made available on this website after the approval of CIDCO.

* Inhabitants of the Shelgar gaothan have approached CIDCO for redevelopment under the Urban Renewal Scheme
** Navi Mumbai’s 20,000 illegal constructions to be regularised [Source: Mid-Day News article dated 13 March 2015]

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Rejuvenation of Skywalk at Kharghar

Context

CIDCO has developed a 1.7 kilometre long skywalk at Kharghar Node from the Kharghar Railway Station to various points in Kharghar including across the Sion-Panvel Expressway via a suspension bridge. The daily pedestrian footfall is currently only around 5000 as against the 15000 that it was designed for.

Objectives

  1. A rejuvenation scheme is envisioned to increase the use of the skywalk.
  2. Care should be taken that the proposal would not infringe on the required walking space and functionality of the skywalk.
  3. No structural changes are permitted to the skywalk.

Scope of Work

  1. Footfall survey and projection
  2. Assessment of space requirement according to current and projected use
  3. Interventions for improving footfall
    • a. Activation/programming of the skywalk
      • i. Art installations & interactive exhibits geared towards generating public awareness regarding social issues and current affairs
      • ii. Socio-cultural activities
      • iii. Free (but limited) Wi-Fi Connection
      • iv. Train Schedules displays and additional signage at the access points and throughout the skywalk
      • v. Advertisement hoardings
    • b. Improving safety on the skywalk
      • i. Women and child safety
        1. Improved and uniform illumination
        2. Visual access and monitoring
      • ii. Physiological safety on bridge
        1. Wind buffers
        2. View dampeners
    • c. Improving accessibility of the skywalk
      • i. Placemaking at vomitories through seating, landscape etc.
      • ii. Improvement of space under length of skywalk
    • d. Sustainability – (Phase II)
      • i. Green Roofing
  4. Revenue Generation Plan
  5. Self-Financing and Operating Plan
  6. Program Implementation Plan

Care should be taken that none of the proposals infringe on the required walking space and functionality of the skywalk. In addition, no structural changes are permitted to the skywalk.

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Bike Share Scheme for India Habitat Centre

Context

In June 2015, IHC conducted a survey among the employees of IHC institutions to establish feasibility of a Bike-share scheme between Jor Bagh Metro Station and IHC. This survey again left out service and administration staff that would be a significant public transit and non-motorised transit user base. Also, the sample size is quite small (73 respondents) compared to the number of employees in IHC. Lastly, the sample is not a representative sample as the respondents are not random and presumably enthusiasts for such a scheme. Inferences should be used keeping in mind this limitation.

Observations from the IHC Survey – (June 2015)

  • Almost two-thirds (63%) of the surveyed employees show willingness to shift to public transit modes given the option of last mile connectivity for the egress trip.
  • More than 50% of the surveyed employees are below the age of 45 and are potential users of the bike-share scheme.
  • Almost three-fourths (74%) of the surveyed employees show willingness to use a bicycle.
  • The share of metro users has increased from 32% to 37% in the last year.
  • Preferred time of use for the bike-share system is during the peak periods of 0830 – 1100 hours and 1700 – 1830 hours.
  • Both metro stations (Jor Bagh and JLN Stadium) are almost equal desire points for last mile connectivity. Other destinations like Khan Market, Khanna Market and Meherchand Market also show up as desire points (presumably during lunch hours).

Inferences from the IHC Survey – (June 2015)

  • As desired direction of egress trip would change between morning and evening, fleet organisation and management would be needed to transfer bikes between the bike share points.
  • JLN Stadium Metro should be designed as Phase 2 (if not included in 1) given the almost equal desire of both stations. The nearby markets should feature as the third phase of the system with provision of safe and secure bicycle parking.

Scope of Work

  • Drawings to be acquired from road owning agencies (NDMC and PWD)
  • Identification of land ownership between boundary wall and carriage-way on Jor Bagh Road
  • Re-design of right of way (ROW) with integrated cycle tracks. Design of alternate routes during off-peak periods to connect nearby markets and destinations
  • Design of traffic calming measures at intersections
  • Advocacy in the form of advertisements, circulars, notices, signage etc. to target audience

Context

In July 2015, NIUA informally conducted an indicative traffic count at three intersections on the route between Jor Bagh Metro Station and IHC. Counts were taken for a period of 15 minutes during morning peak and afternoon off-peak periods. In addition a visual survey of the route was carried out on foot and by bicycle to mark hazard and conflict points.

Observations from the NIUA Field Survey – (July 2015)

  • Opportunities:
    • Jor Bagh Road has sufficient side-walk for provision of a bicycle track
    • Fourth Avenue has service lanes that could potentially be used as cycle tracks
    • Shaded paths due to continuous tree line
    • Potential to also include JLN Stadium Metro Station as Phase 2 in bike-share scheme as service lane is present for the entire stretch and re-design on only one intersection is required
  • Threats:
    • Illegal auto-rickshaw parking both at the Metro vomitory and IHC Gate 2
    • Illegal on-street parking on Jor Bagh Road near Jor Bagh Colony
    • NDMC Taxi Stand on Jor Bagh Road
    • Conflict point at intersections of Jor Bagh Road and Second Avenue, Jor Bagh Road and Fourth Avenue and Fourth Avenue and Vardhman Marg

Scope of Work

  • Re-do all the surveys with a larger sample randomly selected across all user groups. Survey should be both in English and Hindi.
  • Discussion with Traffic Police regarding reduction of lane widths, potential for bicycle and pedestrian signal provisions at signalised junctions and regulation of illegal parking
  • Discussion with road owning agencies regarding permissible scope of design intervention
  • On launch of the project, regular user experience surveys (monthly) to be conducted to modify operations of the service to suit users

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