Students and experts join hands to map Mumbai's open, green spaces

From next week, the group will map the city’s open and green pockets and put the data online to help citizens understand how they will be affected by the BMC’s development plan

As the BMC works on preparing a revised development plan, proactive students and experts will be out mapping open and eco-sensitive land parcels such as Aarey Colony, which were under the imminent threat of development in view of the errors made in the draft DP 2034.

The project will map areas such as the city’s green lung Aarey Colony, which was under the threat of destruction due to plans of extensive development in DP 2034. File pic
The project will map areas such as the city’s green lung Aarey Colony, which was under the threat of destruction due to plans of extensive development in DP 2034. File pic

From next week, students of architectural studies, urban planners, social scientists and environmentalists will record data and then upload it online, so Mumbaikars can know how many open and eco-sensitive spaces there are in their vicinity and what kind of protection they need from government and civic planners.

KRVIA’s Abhijit Ekbote said the mapping will suggest how to go about development with least damage in eco-sensitive areas, making it an important resource to analyse the DP 2034
KRVIA’s Abhijit Ekbote said the mapping will suggest how to go about development with least damage in eco-sensitive areas, making it an important resource to analyse the DP 2034

This will ensure that citizens can send informed suggestions and objections to the authorities when the revised DP is released four months later. The plan is to use GIS (geographical information system) technology to map the city’s western suburbs the area near the Link Road (P/North municipal ward) and Aarey Colony, where the new DP has shown reservations for development.

The initiative has been started by the Kamla Raheja Vidyanidhi Institute of Architecture and Environmental Studies (KRVIA). According to course director Abhijit Ekbote, the DP had not properly calculated the environmental cost of development in areas such as Aarey Colony. “Places like Aarey were surveyed without mapping environmental layers.

We are not against any development, but we want to create awareness about proper methodology. We will let people know where development is impossible in view of environmental reasons, and insist on the need for open spaces,” he told mid-day. This is paramount in Mumbai, where the current ratio of open space is currently less than 1 sq metre per individual.

DP 2034 had proposed to raise this to 2 sq metres, but Ekbote said the group of experts and students would attempt to show civic authorities how it can be increased to 3 sq metres per person. The mapping will suggest how to go about development with least damage in the eco-sensitive patches, said Ekbote, adding that this work will act as an important resource to analyse the proposed DP 2034 for the city of Mumbai.

KRVIA has also invited students from other architecture and engineering colleges, as well as professional urban planners, social scientists from institutes like TISS (Tata Institute of Social Sciences) and NGO volunteers for the initiative.

“We would like to have diverse views so that we can document this important resource in the best possible manner,” he said, adding that the information, recorded over three weeks’ time, will be put in the public domain in the form of GIS maps, photographs and videos of the areas surveyed and analysed.

About the project
>> The mapping is expected to commence from May 15
>> The project will use basic principles of geographical systems and the methods of mapping, representation, analysis, visualisation, and publishing using GIS
>> Groups of 10-15 persons each will map areas near Link Road and Aarey Milk Colony 
>> Teams will find the open spaces, owned either by the BMC or private parties, and suggest how they can be accessed as green lungs

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    1 Comments

    • Anna18-May-2015

      Hello I would like to get in touch with Abhijit Ekbote. Would it be possible to have his email address ?Thank you,Best

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