Redevelopment of Industrial Land in Urban Areas: Opportunities and Constraints. A Case Study of Textile Mill Land Redevelopment in Mumbai

By Nallathiga, Ramakrishna | Theoretical and Empirical Researches in Urban Management, February 2010 | Go to article overview

Redevelopment of Industrial Land in Urban Areas: Opportunities and Constraints. A Case Study of Textile Mill Land Redevelopment in Mumbai


Nallathiga, Ramakrishna, Theoretical and Empirical Researches in Urban Management


1. INTRODUCTION

It is now well recognized that industries play a very important role in the economic development of nations, regions as well as cities. Ancient historical records clearly express the fact that human societies have conveniently moved from villages to towns with an expansion of economic base from agriculture based activity to industry and enterprise activity. Such organization is also founded on the principles of economic efficiency i.e., the industrial production could be maximized and trade can be undertaken with neighbouring cities, regions and countries when all the activities are conveniently located at a short distance from each other i.e., transport and other information related costs are less. From the cradles of river basin civilizations, industries have played an important role in the shaping up of the society and its progress, particularly towards urbanization and modernisation.

In the modern era, the organization of industry is not alone based on the organization of human labour/skills alone but also based on the several factors that affect their operations like technology, capital, access, knowledge, vicinity to logistics/market, competition etc. Therefore, industries are becoming very agile in their manufacturing operations as well as their supply/distributional chains. However, industrial operations are inevitably exposed to a variety of risks arising out of the market conditions, technological changes and disappearance of the advantages over a period of time. These render the industrial operations either becoming obsolete or scale down over a period of time. Moreover, economic and financial factors as well as government policy play an important role in the thriving of industries as well as their vanishing. The abandoning of industrial operation due to a reduction in the scale of operations or complete shifting of operations results in throwing up of huge amount of land with potential for development because of the human settlements and infrastructure that come up around them in the due course of time.

It may appear as though land use changes and development takes place automatically in a city and new economic activities find place immediately; but, this requires the changes to be approved by the city planning authority and the city development plan has to make provisions for the same in order that such change takes place. In several cities, this does not happen with mere application for land use change and/or development on it; the whole process is ridden with great complexities and huge uncertainty gets built in the course of time. Some of the industrial uses have in particular been considered by some groups as vital part of the city and its historical past to be preserved and any redevelopment of land for other uses is highly contested by them. In fact, many a times planners and development authorities also buy in these arguments and allow no change in land use and development of land, or even provide disincentives for their redevelopment, which stifles the economic growth potential of the city on one hand and makes it very expensive in spite of no value adding economic activity taking place on this part of the city space. Mumbai, one of the oldest and historic Indian city, presents an experience of the same, which is what examined in this paper. This paper first traces the industrial location policy changes in the metropolitan region of Mumbai, which is an important aspect of the industrial development in Mumbai. Subsequently, it analyses Mumbai's experience of its inability to develop the old textile mill lands, which forms the focus of this paper. It is in this context that the provisions of the Charles Correa report are also discussed.

2. BACKGROUND

Mumbai is a major metropolitan city of India with a gigantic population of over 18 million in the urban agglomeration. It is an important city wherein the private corporate sector is strongly present and is considered as the economic powerhouse of the country even in the modern era after liberalisation. …

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