Imposing Street Pattern in Mumbai(II) – Control of Land and Property Price
As mentioned in the previous entry, street pattern was imposed widely in Mumbai by the City Improvement Trust. And one of the real objectives of the Trust was, by laying a regular and order street grid, control of land could be obtained. Thus the land could be free from older forms of tenure while changed to standardized leases. Therefore the Trust could create ‘a more uniform and smoothly functioning land market’, which had the ability to respond to the need of housing.(Rao, n.d.) Furthermore, the nature of the buildings that would be built in the suburban area could be under control and being regulated.
By imposing street pattern along the the major road, the Parel Road, also known as Eastern Avenue, the pattern of development of surrounding could be under control thus a continuity of property values between the suburbs and the city could be established.(Rao, n.d.)
Moreover, the intensity of the building could be controlled by the street system as index. Building heights and setbacks were determined by the street which now served as an index and regulator. Plots divided are under surveillance of street after imposing street pattern. Thus property values could be stabilized. By comparing the two figures, a grid of streets and buildings can be seen in the later development, replacing the originally overwhelming agrarian landscape.(Rao, n.d.)
Unfortunately, the Trust again created new problems.
Apart from overcrowding problem worsened as mentioned in the previous entry, the large-scale demolition to impose street pattern also reduce the amount of available land for building sites. It led to an increase of property price and the rents of houses in the neighborhood. ‘It is common knowledge that the Board cannot compete with the private owner for they acquire property, demolish houses, prepare sites and dedicate one-third to roads and passages. The price of the remaining land must therefore be high.’ mentioned by the Bombay Municipal Corporation.(Kidambi, 2001) Besides, there were numerous difficulties faced when valuing the property such as there was not any established precedent for such valuation. And it caused various quake in the property market.
Thus by imposing street pattern, the Trust had created numerous troubles and even worsen the sanitary condition which it originally established to improve. However, the policies of it had ‘profound, albeit unintended, consequences for the development of Bombay’s spatial organization and social geography’.(Kidambi, 2007)
Kidambi, P. (2001). Housing the Poor in a Colonial City: The Bombay Improvement Trust, 1898-1918. Studies in History, 17(1), pp.57-79.
Kidambi, P. (2007). The making of an Indian metropolis. Aldershot, England: Ashgate.
Rao, N. (n.d.). House, but no garden.