Two ways of thinking about city fringes have emerged amongst planning communities in Mumbai in recent years: first as a dormitory / backyard of Mumbai to relive the various urban stresses by accommodating housing and infrastructure needs; and second as opportunities for new economic generators. While the first one is predominantly seen along the northern fringes, the later is evident in eastern hinterlands where SEZs are being planned. In these thinking however, the cultural conditions of the fringes including patterns of living, working and consuming are considered peripheral to the central city’s (Mumbai’s) cultural conditions.
Over the past years, CRIT has been engaged in studying some parts of these fringes of Mumbai towards forming newer imaginations of the urban peripheries. Though, these engagements have been instigated through several kinds of dealings (including appraising of the draft development plan for the local community or documenting and formulating guidelines for protection of built heritage or making proposals for tourism development for a government agency), they have been fruitful towards opening important discussions on conceptualising the peripheries in the areas of land politics, community dynamics, livelihood etc.
CRIT intends to continue such engagements with the communities of the peripheries more forcefully towards two directions: first forming alternative conceptualisations of the peripheries; and second towards helping local communities to claim and access their resources.
The projects of CRIT under this initiative include:
Study of the Draft Development Plan for the Vasai-Virar Sub region to formulate the Suggestions and Objections for the local community (2003)
CRIT was invited to study the Draft Development Plan, 2001-11 for the Vasai-Virar Sub-Region by the Vasai Virar Arakhada Nagari Kruti Samiti, a conglomeration of various community organisations and political parties. The study identified several shortcomings in the proposed development plan. The findings of the study were presented to the Committee for Draft Development Plan of Vasai Virar.
Documentation and Formulation of Guidelines for Heritage Assets in the Vasai-Virar Sub-Region (2009)
CRIT has been involved in documenting heritage assets in the Vasai Virar Sub-Region with an aim to safeguard local assets and cultures. The project is supported by the Mumbai Metropolitan Region – Heritage Conservation Society. The scope of the project further includes developing guidelines for safeguarding of such heritage assets.
Consultation to the Thane Collector on Tourism Development of Akloli, Ganeshpuri and Vajreshwari (2004)
CRIT was invited by the Thane District Collectorate to make recommendations for developing tourism in the three villages of Akloli, Ganeshpuri and Vajreshwari with hot water springs. CRIT identified several infrastructure problems and issues of land appropriation during the process of the study. The study further recommended the implementation of certain infrastructure projects to relieve some of the immediate problems faced by the village communities and religious institutions.