Navi Mumbai is also called the twin city of Mumbai. Situated in the western suburbs of Mumbai, this city is the brainchild of eminent architect and urban designer Charles Correa, structural engineer Pravina Mehta and engineer Shirish Patel. The newly developed township of Navi Mumbai is an efficiently planned city with a robust infrastructure of its time.

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Navi Mumbai: Largest planned city in the world - Sheet1
Navi Mumbai_©Getty Image

Mumbai, famously known as the city of dreams has been a major commercial and financial backbone of the nation, the largest metropolis, and offers the largest harbor port. The largest megacity in the republic of India, Greater Mumbai, is built on a single landmass of a cluster of seven islands: Bombay Island, Parel, Mazagaon, Mahim, Colaba, Worli, and Old Women’s Island. The geography topography of Mumbai rigidly expands in mono direction i.e. only northwards. 

Creation of Navi Mumbai

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Well aware of the prolonged Mumbai traffic and overgrowing population, in early 1964, Navi Mumbai was planned to divert the endless traffic congestion and to migrate the population. CIDCO drafted a development plan for Navi Mumbai, which included a 343.70 square kilometer territory stretching from Thane to Raigad. Further, the plan was officially approved by the Government of Maharashtra in August 1979. 

Navi Mumbai: Largest planned city in the world - Sheet4
Location of Navi Mumbai_©Harvard edu

The selected site was across the harbor from Bombay Island, considering that would ease in relocating the people. The key was to create livable spaces and a mass transport system. 

The main reasons for the move were: 

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  1. The dilapidation of older structures in Bombay
  2. Navi Mumbai’s cheaper and better housing amenities.
  3. Navi Mumbai offers more job chances
  4. Shorter commuting distances 

Le Corbusier explains the planning is based on the 7V rule, determining the essential function of creating sectors. The aim was to inculcate the principles of Modernism. The planning of Navi Mumbai is based on a polycentric nodal pattern of development, unlike that of activity-oriented planning of Mumbai. Keeping into account the problems faced by Mumbai, planners adopted the strategy of decentralization. 

Navi Mumbai: Largest planned city in the world - Sheet2
Navi Mumbai Development Plan_©CIDCO

The polycentric design hinders the concentration of population and activities in a particular area. The planning model functions as a ‘bunch of grapes’ and focuses on the decentralization and balanced residential areas, commercial hubs, wholesale markets, non-polluting areas, and other activities. 

The concept was to bifurcate the entire landmass into several self-sufficient townships (nodes). Each node accommodates 1,00,000 – 3,00,000 people. The Navi Mumbai township is anticipated to include around 20 nodes, with a total population of around 2 million people and 10,000 jobs.

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These nodes were further decentralized into residential neighborhoods (sectors). The sector planning is similar to the traditional grid planning system. Many of the sectors were planned for residential use. The application of single-use zoning was proposed as opposed to the traditional multiple-use zoning. The nodes offered residential, institutional, commercial, and recreational uses. At a broader scale, they shared common facilities like water reservoirs and transit systems. 

Linear City: New Bombay

Navi Mumbai’s design concept was idealistic. The city offers opportunities and is the world’s largest planned metro city, The township planning of Navi Mumbai was overviewed by CIDCO to achieve a self-contained modern metropolis. 

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Navi Mumbai: Largest planned city in the world - Sheet3
Navi Mumbai Rush Hour_©Koushik Wiki

The linear city of Navi Mumbai is an urban plan for an elongated urban formation. It is built up of a series of function oriented parallel sectors. The built form revolves around a center of Business Development accommodating all the innovative and recreational spaces for commercial, political, and social activities. The CBD opens a corridor for the transition zone for factories and warehouses. The nodal planning is segregated based on the income groups starting from lower-income to progressing towards higher groups. 

Navi Mumbai Nodal Plan_©Architexture

Complementing the nodal plan, holding ponds were installed which can be used for pisciculture and recreation. Water from industrial and sewage waste would be reused in developing green areas. 

The fundamentals of the planning were:

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  • Compact High-Density Development 
  • Incremental Growth in City Plan 
  • Disaggregated plan of autonomous townships with ample amount of open spaces in between

The architectural concepts outlined in the Draft Development Plan were based on Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophical reasoning and Modernism’s functionalist approach. Many of the characteristics of these two design philosophies aren’t always complimentary.

While Modernism advocated for single-use zoning and patterns based on economical factors, Gandhian ideas advocated for cultural diversity and mixed-use zoning. The social aspects of city planning were given significant emphasis, with considerations of employment opportunities, housing requirements, utilities, recreation, and commercial needs all receiving special attention. 

The process was executed in stages of designing, developing, and implementing the ideas. The status of the built environment was determined using periodic socioeconomic and household surveys. Design and development issues were found, and adjustments were implemented in the following design phase. 

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Taking the entire control of the residential allotment was used as a heavy-handed execution approach for this goal. The urban social pattern of the town was defined in advance. Navi Mumbai is a contemporary, planned metropolis placed in a unique historical and cultural background.

References

www.nmmc.gov.in. (n.d.). Development Plan – NMMC. [online] Available at: https://www.nmmc.gov.in/development-plan

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Ananthakrishnan, M., Browder, J., Jacobson, W. and Knox, P. (1998). The Urban Social Pattern of Navi Mumbai, India. [online] . Available at: https://vtechworks.lib.vt.edu/bitstream/handle/10919/36603/THESIS.PDF?sequence=1&isAllowed=y.

Kumar, R. (n.d.). City and Industrial Development Corporation of Maharashtra Ltd. [online] . Available at: https://www.esri.in/~/media/esri-india/files/pdfs/events/uc2014/gis-and-smart-cities/cidco-ravi-kumar.pdf?la=en

References (figures)

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  1. Getty Images. (n.d.). Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India. [online] Available at: https://www.gettyimages.in/detail/photo/evening-at-kharghar-royalty-free-image/137526912 
  2. ‌hum54-15.omeka.fas.harvard.edu. (n.d.). Development Plan for Navi Mumbai (New Bombay) · The Urban Imagination. [online] Available at: https://hum54-15.omeka.fas.harvard.edu/items/show/1984?tags=mumbai
  3. ‌‌hum54-15.omeka.fas.harvard.edu. (n.d.). Development Plan for Navi Mumbai (New Bombay) · The Urban Imagination. [online] Available at: https://hum54-15.omeka.fas.harvard.edu/items/show/1984?tags=mumbai
  4. Wikipedia. (2021). Navi Mumbai. [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Navi_Mumbai#/media/File:Navi_Mumbai_Municipal_Corporation-005.jpg 
  5. Ganju, M.A., Kanvinde, S., Rajagopalan, S., Maniktala, A., Chauhan, M., Seth, P.C., Rajeev, S., Kanvinde, S. and Singh, J. (2004). India-Tech Foundation Award, October 2004. Profession and Planning Practice, Discourse, [online] 2012. Available at: https://architexturez.net/pst/az-cf-179405-1466913911 

 

Author

Vanshika was born and raised in Delhi. She is an aesthete, loves to explore the field of art, design, architecture, and everything in between. When it comes to writing, she has always been that kid confiding into diaries and penning down her thoughts. She strongly believes in learning and re-learning

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