“There are two sides of this colonial city. Turn your attention to the mill districts and you are greeted with degradation. Land was abundant in the city but neither the capitalists nor colonial authorities were willing to spend enough money to build inexpensive and adequate transportation. This forced workers to live close to work where land was at a premium. And the slums were born when landlords recklessly erected the slums and tenements hoping to earn profits with little investments. The chawl, a Marathi word meaning ‘room or house fronted by a corridor’ was the defining emblem of the overcrowded space of the working class. The jam-packed chawl became a symbol of Mumbai’s working class space.”

– Adeline Chan, “Urban Spectacles & Urban Horror,” 2014


MUMBAI/ Reordering the old city 3 – From control of land to control of street

Yvonne Yuen

Reordering the old city 3 A way out of the dead-end – From control of land to control of street Physically acquiring the land, demolishing the old buildings, building to fulfill sanitary standard and leasing it out on standardized contracts is the sequence the trust envisioned. The Trust realized the inefficiency for this strategy to work regarding ...

MUMBAI/ Reordering the old city 2 – Between the ideal and the reality

Yvonne Yuen

Reordering the old city 2 Ambiguity and Flaws of the Trust – Between the ideal and the reality (1900-1920)  A primary objective of the trust in its first decade is the slum clearance and the provision of sanitary housing. The ambiguity of planning and the flawed method has resulted in a contradiction between intended aims and eventual outcome. ...

MUMBAI/ Reordering the old city 1 – the impossible mission of land acquisition

Yvonne Yuen

Reordering the old city 1 Everyone is against the trust – the impossible mission of land acquisition in Mumbai sanitary regeneration process (1900-1920) As declared in an official history paper of the plague “Filth, overcrowding, bad ventilation and bad drainage are the fostering causes of the plague. “( Nathan , 1897) Slums would be a more precise ...

MUMBAI/ Visionary Suburb Planning: The role of Eastern Avenue (1910-1920)

CheukYing Ho

The role of Eastern Avenue (1910-1920) To correspond to the suburb development in the north, the Trust believed that there was an urge to construct broad north-south avenues. It noted that, “…the full value of the projected Suburbs in the north of the Island cannot be realized with out increased facilities for direct and rapid communication with ...

MUMBAI/ Visionary Suburb Planning: Displacement of original settlements (1910-1920)

CheukYing Ho

Displacement of original settlements (1910-1920) Aiming to decongest the overcrowding and insanitary housings in the old city, the Bombay City Improvement Trust (BIT) ‘opened up new areas in the northern parts of the island’ (BIT Act, 1898) as an indirect attack to attract people from the city to the suburb areas by providing new housing sites. ...

Imposing Street Pattern in Mumbai(I) – Improved Sanitary and Controversial Way

LongYin Kwan

Envisioning the sanitary city ‘as a place of flows, movements and circulation’, quote by Joyce in his book ‘Rule of Freedom’, the City Improvement Trust was influenced by the ideas popular in the metropolitan context. The Trust would like to transform the city into ‘an orderly city characterized by the free movement of people and commodities’ since ...

Imposing Street Pattern in Mumbai(II) – Control of Land and Property Price

LongYin Kwan

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 ...


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