Squatters as Developers ? Slum Development in Mumbai

by Vinit Mukhija, Assistant Professor, Department of Urban Planning, School of Public Policy and Social Research, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

Ashgate (Gower House, Croft Road, Aldershot GU11 3HR. England), Aldershot 2003. 189 pp., ill., index.


In the mid-1990s, the state government of Maharashtra introduced an innovative strategy of slum redevelopment in its capital city, Mumbai (Bombay). Based on demolishing existing slums and rebuilding on the same sites at a higher density, it is very distinct from the two prevalent conventional strategies with respect to slums in developing countries - slum clearance and slum upgrading. So why did the slum redevelopment strategy originate in Mumbai, and how did it do so ? What were the key issues in the implementation of such a project ?

This critical volume responds to these questions by closely examining one particular redevelopment project over a period of twelve years : the Markandeya Cooperative Housing Society (MCHS). It analyzes the problems faced and the solutions innovated ; identifies non-traditional issues often overlooked in housing improvement strategies ; reveals the complexities involved in housing production for low-income groups ; and combines in-depth empirical research with historical, institutional, spatial and financial perspectives to improve our understanding of complex urban development processes.

Introduction - A New Strategy in Mumbai : The puzzles of slum redevelopment ; Placing the research in the context of the literature ; A preview of the arguments ; Study methodology ; The structure of the book. The Evolution of the Slum Redevelopment Strategy : Introduction ; The Mumbai context ; The evolution of Mumbai’s redevelopment strategy ; Regulating the development potential of land. Decentralized Conflict : Introduction ; Literature review ; Dharavi redevelopment plan : contested intentions ; PMGP and SPARC : the battle over Markandeya ; Conflicts between SPARC and the private contractor ; Uncivil society : distrust between SPARC and the community ; SPARC’s new role as a developer ; Reexamining NGOs in housing delivery ; Decentralization and centralization in housing delivery. Demolition and Redevelopment : Introduction ; Literature review : tenure legalization ; The physical structure of properties in Dharavi ; Slum upgrading and slum redevelopment ; Change in property rights and property attributes ; High land values and medium-rise living ; Slum redevelopment and tenure legalization ; Demand-driven or supply-driven development. Financing Slum Redevelopment : Introduction ; Literature review : markets and partnerships ; State finance for redevelopment ; Private capital from the non-profit and the for-profit sectors ; Institutional responses to the scarcity of finance ; Private and public roles. Enabling Slum Redevelopment in Mumbai : The Mumbai experience ; An analytical framework for upgrading ; The paradox of enabling ; Future research ; Squatters as developers ; Appendices : Appendix 1 - list of interviewees ; Appendix 2 - property values in Mumbai ; Appendix 3 - Scion Shivaji Nagar CHS ; Appendix 4 - Markandeya CHS : annexure II, SRD application ; Appendix 5 - Cost estimate of the Rajiv Indira CHS ; Notes ; Bibliography ; Index