12 September 2008

WELCOME TO ARCADIA: public space belongs to whom? PART II

This is Part II of Synchronicity's mini-feature showing different attitudes towards public space iin cities all over the globe. For this part we'll have a look on Mumbai.
Mumbai's Dharavi area is a good example how public space in the area mis-developed, because not the interest of inhabitants came first, but the interest of a few companies. For hundred years Dharavi was a swampy no man's land, in the late 19th century inhabited by fishermen, occupied afterwards from immigrating people of the countryside. It became an almost real city district. The land was public; it needed not to be 'captured', because for a long time nobody was interested in that piece of ground at all. But Mumbai is growing fast and Dharavi is now one of the biggest slums in Asia and located almost in the centre of the city. So now private investors are interested in that 1,7 km2 piece of land, consequently the rents increase and the living space of 400.000 people was recently sold – by the city council. And soon this area will be characterised by cricket stadiums, office towers and shopping malls and lifestyle restaurants. The inhabitants were displaced – banished in fact.
There was an article in LA Times recently on Dhavari. Architect Mukesh Mehta is quoted in the LA Times as saying:
"You're talking of a location that's fantastic. This is the only location in Mumbai where I can bulldoze 500 acres of land and redesign."
A fabulous man...

Watch out for Arcadia part III, providing an insight into Bogotá's public space policy
in the archives: Arcadia I

image sources: 1,


Truefaith1963 said...

Amazing picture - scary, but amazing