Architect and urban planner Charles Correa has a word of advice for those involved in planning the ambitious Mumbai waterfront development project.
“It should begin with planning for public transport,” said the octogenarian, who won the Lifetime Achievement award at the HT for Mumbai awards on Friday.
Correa is also known for his hold over issues pertaining to urban planning and affordable housing. He has been honoured with the Padma Shri in 1972, and the second highest civilian honour, Padma Vibhushan, in 2006.
Elaborating on his view, Correa said, “When you have public transport and an intersection of railway lines, we will have a hub. The waterfront should be spread across the entire railway line, so it will be accessible to people from all points.”
Talking of Mumbai of the 1960s, he said the idea of transport back then was to connect the city to the mainland. “Initially, Mumbai saw a well-planned transport system, where engineers built the central and western lines. The two railway lines were built by the British and people started living along the tracks.
Public transport made Mumbai what it is because the city never had a plan,” Correa said. Critical of the haphazard development, he said beautiful areas such as Parel, which have new buildings coming up, need to be supported by good roads and infrastructure. “Market forces do not make cities, they destroy them,” said Correa, in his message for the government and new urban planners.
Correa’s work includes the Mahatma Gandhi memorial and Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad, the state Assembly in Madhya Pradesh and being the chief architect for Navi Mumbai. He was also the first chairman of the National Commission for Urbanisation. In 1984, he founded the Urban Design Research Institute in Mumbai, dedicated to the protection of environment and improvement of urban communities.