Integrating Design and Planning in Informal Settlements

Manoj Parmar, Binti Singh

Informal settlements are often not included in the development plan of cities. Urban planning has increasingly been less concerned about provision of basic infrastructure and services to vulnerable communities living and working in informal conditions. Increasing official apathy pose major challenges to achieving the globally accepted goal of inclusive urbanization as envisaged in Sustainable Development Goals / SDGs.. Goal 11 that aims at creating Safe, resilient, inclusive and sustainable cities will remain distant until we factor in the informal living and working conditions into our current urban planning narrative.

GazdharBandh is a Notified Slum by Slum Redevelopment Authority (SRA) of MMRDA (Maharashtra Metropolitan Region Development Authority). The slum pocket is located in western suburb of Santacruz west,  Mumbai. Gazdhar Bandh shows high density informal housing within the “no development zone” as per the development plan 2034,  in estuary conditions that is vulnerable to recurrent floods.

Slum upgradation faces multiple challenges with the complex interplay of local diversities, relocation and livelihood concerns. Using the case study of Gazdar Bandh slum, we examine how community responses to housing and other design strategies like public spaces, streetscapes, and makeshift spaces as immediate responses can go a long way to build long term resilience and factored into the broader city level planning narrative. The findings broadly examine the question: How can urban planning and design embrace uncertainty and concludes with an operational framework drawing on participatory planning and good urban place engaging multiple stakeholders. 

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