Sustainable Land Use & Mobility

Congestion is the biggest transportation concern in most cities, which is a result of demand for road space exceeding the available road infrastructure. City Governments are unable to provide more and more space for road infrastructure to keep pace with the growing vehicles. This is leading to congestion and is adversely impacting the development of cities and costing billions to its economies.

In Indian cities such as Mumbai, private vehicles are growing at 8-9% pa and demanding more and more additional road capacity to accommodate growth. The density of Mumbai city is very high compared to many high density cities around the world. It is impossible to provide transport capacity to match the increasing growth of vehicles.

In Mumbai the available road space is 11% of the total land area. In that, 20% of road space gets used for on street parking and almost in most cases free of cost. (Datar, 2013).

 

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Slum Upgradation

The slum areas differ with respect to their locations, terrain, density, height of built form, socio-cultural setup, vulnerability to hazard, access to infrastructure, etc. Due to these characteristics, each slum area is different and need different solution. For example, the location of certain slum areas is prone to natural hazards. In such cases they need to be relocated in safe areas, whereas in cases where the location is not vulnerable to any hazard and is requires to continue the employment preferences of the community, the slum improvement insitu is to be preferred. In some cases a SRA approach would be necessary while in still others only up gradation of infrastructure could work.

Slum mapping and inventorisation is a process to help develop a livability index based on density, BUA/capita, public ground/capita, access to water, sewer line, common toilets and solid waste management. This would help the policy makers to take appropriate decision for slum improvement within the city. At present, it is very difficult for the policy makers to derive a strategy for slum improvement since such a baseline analysis is not available for all the slum areas where improvement schemes are required.

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Place Making

Public spaces such as open spaces, streets, stations, transit hubs, markets, religious places, institutional areas are places where people congregate. These areas serve as nodes for social interaction, economic exchange and spaces for cultural expressions. They are therefore needed to be multi functional, inclusive and democratic in their character. The design and development of these spaces therefore, should take into account the interests of all sections of the society.

Globally, it is seen that in most cases, large scale planning efforts have failed because when the actual implementation happens, the local needs are not sufficiently included. In this context, place making has a very important role to play. It offers a solution to integrate the micro level needs and details with the macro level planning objectives with a focus on community participation. This helps in making the public spaces more meaningful. It further, helps to build a sense of ownership and belonging amongst the local residents which is critical for the maintenance of such public spaces.

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Waste management

It is important to encourage people to segregate waste at source for proper waste management. It is also important to create awareness amongst the Corporation and residents on how proper waste management can not only protect the environment but can also allow all stakeholders to share value created from the same.

MESN is involved in documentation of good Waste Management Practices in cities and learning methods and techniques which could be used for this purpose. It is also networking with various stakeholders who are working in the area and mobilising them to come together to work on different aspects of waste management such as processes, technologies and methods for efficient waste management.

MESN is also working very closely with local communities and Municipal Corporation on pilot projects to understand the issues in the system and work on end to end solutions. We have worked with residential societies and also with Municipal Corporation to set up waste management practices.

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Mobility Studies

Mobility studies are extremely essential prior to planning of any transport infrastructure.

MESN believes that the current practice of road transport planning based on the data of existing vehicles per day is only leading to provide for more cars, lanes and flyovers.

These are solutions without proper diagnosis of the exiting vehicular flow which is uneven during peak and off peak hours, the type of vehicles are different with different passenger carrying capacity and road space requirements is static while parked and dynamic while they are moving.

Our observation of the western express highway in Mumbai is that; in last 6 years the vehicle throughput is decreasing due to congestion during peak hours to 25%. The passenger carrying capacity has also come down from 20k passenger to 15k passengers. The number of buses has declined from 35% to 25%. The vehicles parked on the roads have increased many folds in last six years occupying over 20% road space.

 

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Way Finding

Every commuter is a pedestrian, even if one is using his or her private vehicle or traveling by trains or buses, one needs to commute on foot either to reach the final destination or to the next mode of transport.

In absence of quality pedestrian infrastructure, people have lost pride in walking. Also the growing sedentary lifestyle with increased dependency on motorized transport; is making people unhealthy.

In absence of information about the important near by locations, which are actually within walking distances, people resist walking not knowing how long it will take them to reach and prefer to get into auto or taxi where the driver can help them to their destination without much hassle.

Providing way finding information is an essential part of pedestrian infrastructure to encourage people to walk.

The only road public transport available in Mumbai city is BEST buses which are severely affected by growing private transport as they are stuck in traffic and are not able to complete required number of trips impacting their efficiency. Also in the absence of information about the bus routes, people avoid taking buses.

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