Mumbai’s skyline is set to be re-defined with the city’s civic body preparing the ground for a spurt of high-rises. The city’s Development Plan 2034 has substantially increased the floor space index or FSI for the entire city up to a maximum of 8. FSI is the ratio of the permissible built-up area to the plot area.
The revised Development Plan (DP), the detailed land use blueprint for Mumbai which will be the basis for its development over the next two decades, was released by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Monday. Municipal Commissioner Sitaram Kunte confirmed that the proposed DP has suggested a significant increase in FSI.
For the first time, it introduces the concept of variable FSI. As against the 1991 Development Plan, which viewed FSI as a means to control the density levels and hence kept it uniformly low, the DP 2034 has de-linked FSI from density and instead linked it to transit-oriented development.
Accordingly, Mumbai has been divided into five zones where the permissible bulk FSI is based on the area’s future potential, its proximity to transit stations and the existing levels of FSI consumed. A major chunk of the land —58.12 per cent — is proposed to fall under a FSI of 3.5. The mean FSI of 3 has been arrived at by dividing the projected built-up area demand for residential and commercial space in Mumbai (44,043 hectares by 2034) by the net plot area (13,991 hectares).
About 36.92 per cent of the city’s areas that are closer to transit modes such as railway stations and metro stations will be given a high FSI of over 5. Out of these zones, areas that are also closer to commercial business districts will get the benefit of the highest FSI slab of 6.5 to 8 FSI. Merely 5 per cent of Mumbai, found to be inaccessible by public transit, will have a FSI of under 2.
This is a major increase from the existing regime where the base FSI for the island city is 1.33 and for the suburbs is 1 which means that on a plot area of 1,000 sq m, one can construct up to 1,000 sq m built-up area in south Mumbai and 1,300 sq m in the suburbs. In addition to this incentive FSI, developers get to use a TDR, transfer of development rights which is a kind of a floating FSI, of 1 in the suburbs. Moreover, an FSI of up to 4 has been offered as an incentive, by successive governments, for a slew of projects by way of various exceptions to the rule.
While allowing a relatively high FSI across the board, DP 2034 allows the use of FSI as an incentive only in case of redevelopment of slums and old cessed buildings. However the transit-oriented development model of allotting FSI fails to take into account a whole lot of other factors that determine the carrying capacity of a region such as water supply, sewerage, storm water drains.
“There is a need to calibrate the FSI to infrastructure provision and delivery of services and not merely to the transport corridors. Moreover, increasing FSI doesn’t translate into affordable housing,” said architect Pankaj Joshi from the Urban Design Research Institute.
In terms of zoning, DP 2034 introduces the concept of mixed land use zones such as residential-commercial, where residential use is dominant; commercial-residential , where commercial land use is dominant; and industrial zones that can be converted to either zones.