Dharavi "The heart of Mumbai"
Dharavi is a locality in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India, considered to be one of Asia's largest slums. Dharavi has an area of just over 2.1 square kilometres and a population of about 1,000,000. With a population density of over 277,136 square kilometres, Dharavi is one of the most densely populated areas in the world.
Poor rural Indians into urban Mumbai
The Dharavi slum was founded in 1884 during the British colonial era and grew because the expulsion of factories and residents from the peninsular city centre by the colonial government and from the migration of poor rural Indians into urban Mumbai. For this reason, Dharavi is currently a highly diverse settlement religiously and ethnically. Dharavi has an active informal economy in which numerous household enterprises employ many of the slum residents-leather, textiles and pottery products are among the goods made inside Dharavi. The total annual turnover has been estimated at over US$1 billion. Dharavi has suffered from many epidemics and other disasters, including a widespread plague in 1896 which killed over half of the population of Mumbai.
Sanitation in the slum
Sanitation in the slums remains poor. Mumbai's increasing population over the years has caused a shortage of land and a restricted supply of clean drinking water and healthy sanitation. There is a lack of public sanitation in the slum. Poor drainage systems make it impossible to have sustainable health. The low access of the toilet facilities forces people to use the local river, this leads to another problem, contagious diseases. Sanitation refers to public health conditions related to clean drinking water and adequate treatment and disposal of human excreta and sewage. Preventing human contact with feces is part of sanitation, as is hand washing with soap. Sanitation systems aim to protect human health by providing a clean environment that will stop the transmission of disease, especially through the fecal-oral route. For instance, Diarrhea, a main cause of malnutrition and stunted growth in children, can be reduced through adequate sanitation. There are many other diseases which are easily transmitted in communities that have low levels of sanitation, such as ascariasis a type of intestinal worm infection or Helminthiasis, Cholera, Hepatitis, Polio, Schistosomiasis and Trachoma, to name just a few.
"A sanitation system includes the capture, storage, transport, treatment and disposal or reuse of human excreta and wastewater. Reuse activities within the sanitation system may focus on the nutrients, water, energy or organic matter contained in excreta and wastewater"
A range of sanitation technologies and approaches exists. Some examples are community-led total sanitation, container-based sanitation, ecological sanitation, emergency sanitation, environmental sanitation, onsite sanitation and sustainable sanitation. This is referred to as the sanitation value chain or sanitation economy and the people responsible for cleaning, maintaining, operating or emptying a sanitation technology at any step of the sanitation chain are called 'Sanitation workers'. Urban planning answers questions about how people will live, work and play in a given area and thus, guides orderly development in urban, suburban and rural areas. Although predominantly concerned with the planning of settlements and communities, urban planners are also responsible for planning the efficient transportation of goods, resources, people and waste and the distribution of basic necessities such as water and electricity, a sense of inclusion and opportunity for people of all kinds, culture and needs, enablement of economic growth through concepts like the Innovation district and ensuring blue zones and conserving areas of natural environmental significance that actively contributes to reduction in CO2 emission as well as protecting heritage structures and built environments. Urban planning is a dynamic field since the questions around how people live, work and play changes with time. These changes are constantly reflected in planning methodologies, zonal codes and policies making it a highly technical, political, social, economical and environmental field.
Urban planning in the heart of Mumbai
Urban planning is an interdisciplinary field that includes social science, architecture, human geography, politics, engineering and design sciences. Practitioners of urban planning are concerned with research and analysis, strategic thinking, architecture, urban design, public consultation, policy recommendations, implementation and management and it is closely related to the field of urban design and some urban planners provide designs for streets, parks, buildings and other urban areas. Urban planners work with the cognate fields of architecture, landscape architecture, civil engineering and public administration to achieve strategic, policy and sustainability goals and early urban planners were often members of these cognate fields though today, urban planning is a separate, independent professional discipline. But even today, it is not uncommon for architects and engineers to get additional qualifications to work as urban planners. This is because the discipline of urban planning is the broader category that includes different sub-fields such as land-use planning, zoning, economic development, environmental planning, and transportation planning in addition to field like market research, citizen engagement, sustainability and environment studies. Creating the plans requires a thorough understanding penal codes and zonal codes og planning. Once the plans are created, the ideas must be approved by the City Council or the governing body and this approval process is fundamentally political in nature in India.
Read also: Slum children in Dharavi