Mumbai – Start of Street Grid (1900-1910)

Article: Kidambi, P. (2001). Housing the Poor in a Colonial City: The Bombay Improvement Trust, 1898-1918. Studies in History, 17(1), pp.57-79.

It is an article writing focusing on the housing problem after the plague in 1896. ‘Public Health’ had become a great concern and one of the source of insanitary was from the housing of the poor, the slums. Thus the City Improvement Trust had a primary goal to carry out the clearance of slums and improving the living conditions of the poor. It recorded in detail about the approach of housing of the poor of the Improvement Trust while one of the solution was imposing street grid. It pointed out that the Trust at the end did not help solving the housing problem while in the meantime creating new one. Raising property price and housing for the poor originally was occupied by the middle classes. Thus the living condition of the poor did not improve unfortunately.

It is a critique about the work of the Trust in the 1900s with detail arguments and supporting evidence. From the writing, the failure of the Trust to carry out tasks, in which it had been originally established for, is revealed.


Book: Kidambi, P. (2007). The making of an Indian metropolis. Aldershot, England: Ashgate.

The Making of an Indian Metropolis: Colonial Governance and Public Culture in Bombay, 1890-1920 is a book exactly focusing on the time period selected for this research. The sub-urbanization carried started from this period is the real turning point in the history of Bombay when the city was transforming from a small colonial city to a huge modern city. One of the chapters, ‘Reordering the city: The Bombay Improvement Trust’, mentioned the works of the Trust in detail with analysis by dividing the works of the Trust with various schemes and approaches. And the main objective of the Trust, as mentioned in the title, was to reorder the city and one of the way was by imposing street grid.

The book is a collection and an organized version of analysis and critiques of Kidambi such as the previous article written in 2001. Kidambi has a broad knowledge and well-established analysis about the period and he had provided exceptional insights on the work of the Trust.


Book: Rao, N. (n.d.). House, but no garden.

House, but no garden: Apartment Living in Bombay’s Suburb, 1898-1960 is describing the period where the emergence of the apartment living took place. With the work of the Trust of imposing special street pattern which was not existing before in the site, new kind of living and building emerged. In the book, how the street and boulevard being developed in the Trust is mentioned in relation to the living of the built environment of Bombay.

The section about the street and boulevard schemes offers a new understanding on developing street grid in terms of the built environment. The argument are well-organized with clear analysis thus successfully cut into the heart of the Trust and explaining its works in various schemes.

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