Urban planning and the heterogeneous city: A study of the technical, social and political controversies around the 2014-2034 Mumbai Development Plan

The proposed research will analyze the Mumbai Development Plan 2014-2034 (MDP 2034) revision and its’ temporary withdrawal due to an unprecedented public outcry and strong criticism by both, experts and civil society. This event is highly representative of the tensions and conflicts pervading the development and regulation of contemporary cities in South and North. The study of the public arenas and controversies induced by the making of the MDP 2034 is a unique opportunity to develop a refined understanding of the increasing heterogeneity of contemporary urban development and the challenges it raises to urban planning. Thus we propose a study of the technical, social and political controversies, which evolve around the MDP 2034.

Taking advantage of the massive production of data on conflicting visions of urban development in the course of this event, we will build up a rich and diverse dataset. The collected textual data and visual sources such as plans, images or videos, will be complemented by stakeholder interviews and focus group discussions. In order to create a dynamic and relational description of the MDP 2034 in the making, we will develop mapping tools allowing representing the richness and complexity of the controversies on the future of the city of Mumbai. Together with a historical, content and structural analysis this will serve us to identify the main “regimes of urbanization” at stake and their competitive relations and develop a reflection about the way urban heterogeneity can ban included in urban planning.

The thick description resulting from this research will deepen our understanding of the social, political, and technical complexity contemporary urban planning has to deal with. Furthermore we will produce representational and analytical tools, allowing tackling the intricate reality of contemporary cities. Such tools are urgently needed to better understand the conflictive processes that drive urban development and to improve planning methods and policies. Finally, this research will contribute to a renewed understanding of urban dynamics and to the various international debates on the transformation of urban conflicts and more broadly on the renewal of critical urban studies.


Prof. Luca Pattaroni

Prof. Bide Amitha