Pankaj Joshi, executive director of the Urban Design Research Institute, advising caution on the move to allow redevelopment in Coastal regulation Zones (CRZs), said projects should be approved on merit rather than en masse.
What is your opinion of the in-principle nod for redevelopment of chawls and slums in CRZ areas?
You can't generalise; you can't allow just any project to come up in such areas. The projects must be identified on merit, not on uniform or general applications. For instance, there are slums on Versova beach. Under the new scheme, will we have buildings constructed on sand? It will be commercially successful, but you must assess the environmental impact.
Apart from redevelopment, the public-private partnership will generate one lakh low-cost houses.
Private developers giving low-cost housing is a myth unless the state government defines a price bracket for housing. Seafront properties can't be low-cost at all. CRZ and low-cost housing are not compatible.
Fishing communities and gaothans will benefit. Will we see a disappearance of century-old settlements or a conflict between the new and old worlds?
There cannot be a blanket rule; you have to adopt a different approach here. For instance, 100-year-old gaothans in Trombay are densely populated and on the decline. And, while Versova has fishing communities, there are middle-class families living in Bandra's goathans. Therefore, you have to decide what the community needs in each area. It is essential to bifurcate between heritage areas and dense settlements that need help.
What kind of planning is essential in CRZ areas?
Ideally, these areas should be more public than private. The waterfront must remain untouched. Once private developers take over properties in CRZ areas, the public will not have access to it.