The city’s No-Development Zones (NDZs) are making a comeback, as a recent state notification scraps affordable housing in these areas, now known as Special Development Zones (SDZs), specifically designated for high-density slums.
This notification reintroduces a lower floor space index of 0.025 for NDZs and allows developments like tourism, educational institutions, limited residential structures, and IT parks.
The urban development department’s announcement is calling for objections and suggestions regarding the few remaining Excluded Parts (EPs) in the Development Plan (DP) 2034, focusing on SDZs. The DP contains Sanctioned and Excluded Parts, where Sanctioned parts are ready for implementation, while EPs introduce new provisions, inviting public feedback.
Former CM Uddhav Thackeray had previously refused to authorize these EPs, citing ecological concerns and potential harm to Mumbai. Following a Bombay High Court directive, the Eknath Shinde government has now chosen to revoke SDZs, except in areas with high-density slums.
Architect Vilas Nagalkar remarked that the new notification will restrict construction in NDZs, unlike the earlier plan that allowed unrestricted development except for slum pocket redevelopment.
Urban researcher Hussain Indorewala highlighted the elimination of affordable housing in SDZs, leaving only densely populated slums for redevelopment under a slum rehabilitation scheme. This move has raised concerns about the government’s assessment of affordable housing demand and supply.
The lack of civic infrastructure on these lands posed a significant challenge. There’s speculation that a lack of builder interest in the affordable housing scheme might have led to its elimination by the state.
Regarding the government’s plans for tourism and IT park zones, Indorewala suggested that these might prioritize commercial infrastructure over essential citizen-centric development. Exploring land options beyond Mumbai for tourism development and IT parks is recommended.
(Source: ET Realty)