Reinventing Dharavi, Mumbai, India


Reinventing Dharavi, Mumbai, India

Dharavi is the largest informal settlement of Mumbai, and one of the biggest slums worldwide. Its central location in Mumbai’s metropolitan region puts a high pressure on the area, resulting in bold plans during the last years for the development of a glamorous urban district. The Reinventing Dharavi competition aims to develop alternative redevelopment strategies, and was organized by the Urban Design Research Institute (UDRI) of Mumbai.

Instead of developing frames for Dharavi, we have to develop connections to Mumbai.
The proposal builds on the paradigm shift in the common approach towards slum upgrading. Boundary defined redevelopment projects are replaced by citywide strategies. Slums are no longer considered isolated islands of poverty, but rather deprived neighborhoods within the city, states Claudio Acioly, Chief of Housing Policy Section at UN Habitat. They are an integral part of the overall city system, but spatially segregated due to the absence of streets and open spaces.

Reinventing Dharavi, India - Proposal by Felixx Landscape Architects & Planners, Studio OXL & IHS International Institute of Urban Management

Street-led slum upgrading
By investing in the common good and upgrading public spaces, the plan aims to reintegrate Dharavi into the city and facilitate gradual redevelopment, says Deborah Lambert, landscape architect at Felixx. This street-led approach consists of three strategies, dealing with infrastructure & mobility, water & sanitation and regeneration & development. All measurements are integrated in the redesigned street profiles. Existing streets are up- and downgraded into a hierarchic network, allowing for different traffic modalities to be used. Different water structures are connected to prevent stagnant water and drain it to the river. Infiltration zones slow down rainwater runoff, sewage networks collect waste water, and clean water supplies are provided to make Dharavi a healthy and climate proof place. The upgraded streets connect neighborhoods, businesses and social activities. They formulate the base for legislation, enabling every company and household to get an address. Central squares in each neighborhood establish social and economic focal points. These places formulate new identity carriers and allow for the celebration of the diverse characteristics within every single community of Dharavi.

Reinventing Dharavi, Mumbai, India

A Dynamic Public Space framework and the street game
The three strategies are integrated into a dynamic public space framework, controlling the different strategies within a participatory process. The framework deals with a variety of interests, from local entrepreneurs to international developers, and connects different scale levels, from Mumbai Metropolitan Region to Dharavi’s different nagars. As such it serves as a tool to outline these different aspects within an extensive participatory process, serving two main goals. It boosts gradual redevelopment by identifying public space qualities, and it sets conditions for these developments by determining the capacity of the infrastructural network. As a game board, the public space framework shows the meaning and influence of different measures, how they could strengthen or preclude each other. That’s the game we want to play. Connecting different scales and interests into a balanced and supported framework. All parties are invited. The game is on!

Reinventing Dharavi, Mumbai, India

The awarded proposals were presented during a conference, prior to the award ceremony held on the December 18th 2014. The objective is to initiate an on-going dialogue among the experts, concerned authorities, organizations and the city in the redevelopment process of Dharavi.

Project Details:
Location: Mumbai, India
Type: Competition Entry
Architects: Felixx landscape architect & planners – Studio OXL – IHS International Institute of Urban Management, Erasmus University Rotterdam – NASVI

  • Felixx landscape architect & planners: Deborah Lambert, Michiel Van Driessche, Marnix Vink, Carlijn Klomp, Willemijn van Manen, Laura Spenkelink, Steven Broekhof, Paul van Kerkoerle
  • Studio OXL: Wouter Oostendorp, Joop Steenkamp
  • IHS International Institute of Urban Management, Erasmus University Rotterdam: Maartje van Eerd, Somesh sharma
  • NASVI: Arbind Singh


Comments are closed.