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Navi Mumbai (New Bombay), India,
established in 1972, is a new planned city
across the harbor (of Bombay) from

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
Bombays high concentration of docks,
trading posts, textile mills and
government offices have made it the
preeminent port of Western India.

Navi Mumbai was designed to provide a
better quality of life, especially to the
middle and lower class of people.

The idea on which the proposal of the
'Twin City' was hinged, was that of the
State Government moving to New
The Government offices would form the
core functions and symbollically signal a
clear purpose of the new city for the
state of Maharashtra.
Also it would pull private business at its
wake.The intention was to get the 'twin
city' going as also to make people
commute on an east west axis.
The fact that the State Government
never did move to New Bombay,
deprived the 'twin city' of its core
function - the catalyst that would have
made self- sufficient growth happen
for the new city.

The background and the rationale
behind the decision to set up Navi
Mumbai was to achieve a common

which is given below.

To reduce the growth of population in
Mumbai city by creating an attractive
urban centre which will
Absorb the immigrants who will
otherwise go to Mumbai
Attract some of Mumbais present
population so that overall population
of Greater Mumbai can be contained
within a manageable limit
To support the state-wide industrial
location policy which will eventually
lead to an efficient and rational
distribution of industries over the
state and a balanced development of
urban centres in the hinterland
To provide physical and social
services, raising the living standards
and reducing the disparities in the
amenities available to the different
sections of the population
To provide an environment which
would permit the citizens of Navi
Mumbai 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

8.1 Introduction
by[Article Author]
Source: Google Images

The strategies used to accomplish the
vision were
a. Public ownership of land by
government compulsorily acquiring all
the private lands by paying monetary
b. Self financed city, using land as the
resource for financing the development
(Government did not provide money for
the Navi Mumbai project except a small
seed capital)
c. Creation of a single nodal agency
CIDCO to plan and develop the new

8.3 The Creation of Navi
The prominent authors of the twin city
concept were Charles Correa1, Pravina
Mehta2 and Shirish Patel who presented
to the government a proposal in 1964 for
constructing new growth centers across
Bombay harbor on the mainland (Figure

The implementation occurred through
correct political and bureaucratic
channels in 1969. This was in the form of
the Bombay Municipal Regional
Planning Boards 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 is a self-
contained city independent of Bombay
although there is still a visual connection
to Bombay.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. 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, 1997).

b. 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.

c. 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 ideas.

Fig 8.3.1 Expansion of Bombay
Source: Dwivedi and Mehrotra, 1995.

Fig 8.3.2 Planned connectivities to Eastern Mainland.
Source:Google Images

8.4 Development of Navi

Navi Mumbai spread over an area of 344 Sq.
km., which was interspersed with 95 villages,
and 2 municipal towns, which housed
100,000 people in 1970. It is a series of 14
self-contained townships called nodes; each
developed at a different point of time and
with independent physical and social
infrastructure system, but linked by mass
transport rail system and trunk roads.
This was a strategy adopted to bring
development progressively, as a
consequence, a part of Navi Mumbai is today
referred to as developed nodes and the
others developing nodes.
The characteristics of the developed nodes
are older housing areas, higher property
values, better amenities and administration
handed over to the Municipal Corporation
where property tax is levied. In these nodes,
change of land and building use is permitted
within allowable limits.

8.2 Strategies to accomplish the

The conceptual design of Navi Mumbai
was developed at the height of
Principles of Modernism were used in
the planning of Navi Mumbai were:
a. decentralization by the design of self-
sufficient townships(nodes),
b.residential neighborhoods (sector),
c. single-use zoning as opposed to the
traditional multiple-use zoning.
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.

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, 1973). The
size of the node dependson walking
distances to the mass transit stop. The
node should be large enough to provide
schools, shopping areas and other

The Development Plan of Navi Mumbai
is an example of the new consciousness
for sustainable settlements.

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.

The Development Plan for Navi Mumbai
called for the planting of one hundred
thousand trees every year. 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

The design concept of Navi Mumbai was
very idealistic. This was partly because
of the scale and complexity of the
project. There was also a high degree of
uncertainty attached to some of the
policies and physical developments. It
depended very heavily on external
factors, which were closely linked, for its


Need for decentralisation
No expansion Possible on South,
hence expansion on eastern side.
Thane Belapur Industrial base


The CBD lies in the centre with all
the major commercial , political
and social activiteis.
This zone was surrounded by the
transition zone which had
factories and ware houses.
Older residential areas being
taken over by expanding CBD.
the Next zone had lower income
levels and successive zones had
higher income levels.


Compact High Density
Incremental Growthi in City's
Master Plan.
Disaggregated plan of
Autonomous townships with
large amount of open space
between them.


1. Modernism
2. Decentralisation by the design of
self sufficient townships(nodes)
3. Each node was planned to
accomodate a range of income
4. Development of Woodland
5. Holding Ponds would be used for
pisiculture and recreation.
6. Water treated from industrial
and sewage waste would be used
to develop green areas.

8.5 Design Principles of Navi Mumbai

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):
a. polycentric pattern of development
b.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
governments proposal. The land
notified for acquisition for Navi Mumbai
was under private and government

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
The finality of the approved
Development Plan ensures that the
pressure and friction which would
develop to obtain land use changes for
particular land holdings would be
largely eliminated.This was not entirely
true, and major law and order problems
did occur.
Nevertheless, CIDCO acquired all the
land after settling disputes about
compensation (CIDCO, 1995).

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 Bombays present

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
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 enclaves among
the population.

The Draft Development Plan gave only
broad guidelines, leaving enough room
for flexibility.
Although five minor amendments were
made to this Draft Plan, no new
document was ever prepared. The Draft
Development Plan remains the guiding
document in use even today.

1973- development plan of Navi
8.6 The Draft Development Plan of
Fig 8.6.1 Draft development plan-1973
Source: Google Images

Development Potential of the Site
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
The existence of two municipal
corporations at Panvel and Uran;
The newly commissioned bridge across the
Thane creek, and transport corridors along Thane-
The Thane-Pune National Highway 4,
Panvel-Uran rail and road links.

The Reality of Implementing the
The planning of Navi Mumbai began in 1971. The
results of each of the planning objectives can be
studied now. The first objective of the Development
Plan of Navi Mumbai was to reduce congestion of
Bombay by absorbing immigrants and attracting
some of the present population of Bombay.

Over the 1981-91 period, there was a considerable
decline in the population of the CBD and Bombay
island. The increase in the population of the suburbs
and Navi Mumbai accounts for the decline in the
CBD and Bombay island. Outmigration to other
cities and countries is negligible (BMRDA, 1978).

The main reason for the shift was because of :
a. dilapidation of older buildings in Bombay
b. cheaper and better housing facilities in Navi
c. better employment opportunities in Navi Mumbai
d. lesser commuter distances involved

Fig 8.6.1 Existing Development Plan of Navi mumbai

Mumbai described many broad outlines for the development of a city for the common citizen. The design principles described in the
Draft Development Plan were based on the philosophical reasoning of Mahatma Gandhi and the functionalistic approach of
Modernism. Many attributes of these two design principles are not necessarily harmonious. While Modernism called for single-use
zoning and a pattern based on socioeconomic characteristics, the Gandhian principles supported cultural heterogeneity and mixed use

Social aspects of city planning were given importance with special attention given to considerations of employment opportunities,
housing requirements, utilities, recreation and commercial needs.

Designing, development and implementation of ideas were done in an incremental manner. Periodic socioeconomic and household
surveys were used to determine the status of constructed environment. Problems of design and development were identified, and
improvements made in the next phase of design.

This design also strongly supported the need to use the governments power and machinery to promote the uniform
distribution of people and prevent ethnic enclaves. A heavy-handed implementation strategy of this objective was done by taking
complete control of the residential allotment. The success of this strategy depended on maintaining this control. This also implies that
the urban social pattern was predetermined.

The research setting under consideration is the result of the hybridization of Indian and Western ideas. Navi Mumbai is a modern,
planned city within the context of a specific historic and cultural setting. Very little analysis has been done on the outcome of CIDCO's
social agenda to ensure diffusion of ethnic groups and the urban social pattern that emerged.

1. Malathi Ananthakrishnan, April
, 1998, The Urban Social
Pattern of Navi Mumbai, India

2. Peter Engel,Building New

8.7 Conclusion
8.8 References

Related Interests