You could soon walk and cycle along a clean Mithi river, as the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority has selected a final design for the revamp of the Maharashtra Nature Park at Dharavi.
The park, transformed from a wasteland into a green woodland, is spread along the south bank of the river.
In 2015, MMRDA and Observer Research Foundation (ORF) set a global design challenge, the winner of which will take up the park’s revamp. The winner was announced last week — Mumbai-based firm Sameep Padora and Associates (sP+a) in association with Design Cell & Ratan J. Batliboi Consultants with Schlaich Bergman & Partner, and Ladybird Environment Consulting.
ORF and MMRDA believe the new pedestrian bridge will see more than 50,000 users daily. The bridge will connect the two banks of the river.
“Along with the makeover of the park, the bridge is crucial as it would improve connectivity. People working in BKC can park their cars and walk up to the park. It should become a destination, not just connect BKC and the part,” Padora told HT.
An amphitheatre, viewing platforms, a reservoir,, cafeteria, library and canopy walks are part of the design. A team of urban designers have also planned a floating boardwalk along the periphery to offer a close look at the mangroves and mudflats.
When it opened in 1994, the authorities expected the park to see three million visitors a year, but in the first year, there were only 5,000. In 2013, the footfall dropped to a mere 100. Authorities said the main reasons were the polluted river, little advertising and poor maintenance. Currently, residents of the slums use a large portion to defecate.
Padora said a clean river is the key to the success of the project. “For the river bank, we have planned a flood-plain, which is undeveloped land for the river to overflow into. To improve the quality of water, we have planned cultivation of greenery along its edges. We have also planned to check the soil quality of the park.”