MUMBAI/ The Suburbs


The area shown in the map is the OLD BOMBAY in 1895, also known as the ‘town. The Island City stretched from Colaba Point on the southern corner of Bombay to the northern coast where Mahim and Sion are located.

Map of Bombay @1895, The "Times of India"
Map of Bombay @1895, The Times of India


After the outbreak of the dreaded plague in the inner city in 1896, the Bombay Improvement Trust (BIT) was set up to cope with the emerging needs of the city. According to the BIT ACT in 1898, it stated, “To provide fresh space for building to relive overcrowding in congested parts.” Opening up new areas provided additional building plots to decongest the inner city, as an indirect attack to the problem of overcrowding and insanitary housing. There was a northward expansion of urbanisation towards the Mahim woods and the Salsette Island, which were populated by the rice cultivator and fishing community. It contained an important source of food supply, timber, salt and other commodities, providing development possibilities and healthier surroundings for cheaper housing. The Island City extended northward to incorporate the suburban districts, which was later The Greater Bombay, also known as the ‘Suburbs’.

Bombay Guide Map including Part of Salsette @1933, Survey of India
Bombay Guide Map including Part of Salsette @1933, Survey of India



Dossal, M. (2010). Theatre of conflict, city of hope: Mumbai, 1660 to present times. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.

Geographicus Rare Antique Maps. (n.d.). Retrieved December 7, 2015, from

1 Comment on “MUMBAI/ The Suburbs

  1. Knowing there was a plague in Mumbai that aroused the government to tackle the density problems in the old city, the suburb was setup to “decongest”. Other than the the practical and figurative layout of the streets implemented by the colonial government, what were the social and demographic effects of the plan? Were there political and economical reasons behind to trigger such large-scale project (by means of setting up an “Improvement Trust”)? Arguments could be made on the “software” side of the project, alongside the “hardware” of infrastructural connections between the new and old cities.

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