A review of slum housing policies in Mumbai

Greg O'Hare, Dina Abbott, Mike Barke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Citations (Scopus)


Mumbai (Bombay) is India's main industrial and commercial centre. According to the United Nations it is the seventh largest city in the world with the fifth fastest rate of population growth. Over half the population, however, live in conditions of abject poverty, crammed into overcrowded slums and hutments located in unhealthy marginal environments. There are many complex reasons for Mumbai's housing crisis, including strong population in-migration and growth. Former urban development policies favoured capital-intensive industries and the rapid growth of a low-wage informal sector. Subsidised transport systems allowed poor people to live and work in the city. Mumbai's poor housing is also a reflection of a poor and inappropriate urban planning system, a lack of public investment and restrictions in the land and rental housing market. The failure of the city authorities to cope with the urban poor is highlighted by a review of the main housing policies implemented in the city. These range from slum clearance and the construction of high-rise apartment blocks to a range of self-help strategies and current privatised market-led schemes. Trapped between dwindling public investment and new powerful market-led forces, it is contended that the future of housing the poor in Mumbai looks bleak.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)269-283
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1998


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