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The Urban Design Research Institute is a public charitable trust setup in 1983 dedicated to the protection of built environments and the improvement of urban communities. Understanding that an interdisciplinary and holistic view of our urban environment will lead to practical solutions for its improvement, the UDRI provides a forum promoting interaction between architects, urban designers and professionals from related fields such as economics, sociology, planning, conservation and history.
To this end, the UDRI organizes public lectures, exhibitions as well as publications, the Bombay Studio and a Research and Resource Centre focused on the study of Mumbai. They view themselves as a watchdog on urban planning issues, promoting democratic values of civic participation to create a more just, liveable and equitable metropolis. We have also undertaken extensive research projects on Mumbai’s Mill lands, Eastern Waterfront, Fort area, Heritage conservation and are currently engaged in formulation a public participation process for the revision of the Development Plan for Mumbai 2014-2034. As a part of the UDRI I was involved in the organisation of 78 stakeholder workshops surrounding the issues of housing, transport, livelihood, water and sanitation, urban environment and communications.
Hamara Shehar Vikas Niyojan Abhiyan Mumbai (Our City Development Plan Campaign, Mumbai) is a city-wide campaign comprised of communities, people’s movements, academic institutions, NGOs, community-based organizations, and activists. They aim to advance a collective vision and renew a collective ethos for our shared city. They seek to sustain the process of broad and meaningful participation in how urban planning and governance in Mumbai impacts our lives and our city.
As a part of the Centre for Urban Policy and Governance (CUPG), Tata Institute of Social Sciences I played an important role in organizing the two consultation regarding Gender and Formal Housing in collaboration with Akshara and Maharashtra Chamber of Housing Industry (MCHI) respectively.
PANI HAQ SAMITI
In the post liberalisation era, ‘privatisation’ was presented as the panacea of all problems, including water supply. In this context the MCGM, a pioneer in Asia in water supply, initiated a study in Mumbai’s K(East) ward with the support of Public Private Infrastructure Advisory Facility (PPIAF), a subsidiary of the World Bank. Our journey began with the engagement of citizens to study this process in 2006. We emerged as a citizen’s campaign seeking the universal right to water. The fight for water as a universal right In Mumbai also had its roots a discriminatory policy that was initiated in 1996. The right to water in slums (hereafter referred to as people’s settlements) was completely negated by a March 1996 circular. The circular issued by the Maharashtra Urban Development Department (UDD) to all Municipal Corporations in the State prevented slums that have developed after the government cut-off date (01.01.1995) i.e. ‘unauthorized slums’ from accessing municipal water supply. The circular specifically states that “water supply to any illegal constructions shall not be approved”. In keeping with this circular, the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) prohibited regularised water connections to people living in ‘unauthorized slums’. During my fieldwork in 2017, a circular was issued to all MCGM officials to implement the policy of water for all when I became closely associated with the movement. PHS has been actively engaged in ensuring sanctioning and implementation of this policy with the administration, simultaneously capacitating communities to follow necessary procedures to access water in their settlements.