Redefining Mumbai’s Relationship to Water

Location: Mumbai, India

Duration: 3 Months

Rahul Mehrotra
Spring 2018 / Harvard Graduate School of Design

Project Team: Individual Work
The history of Mumbai is closely tied to its waterfront and its relationship with water has determined the destiny and the growth of the city. Founded as a port town for the British, the city has grown in importance through its identity as a trade center through the infrastructural investment between the port and the rail networks.

The city has predominantly grown in a north-south axis pulling itself away from the water and denying its connection to Navi Mumbai. In this sense, the eastern waterfront becomes a critical piece to connect the city in the east-west axis but also stitching it with a north-south directionality. The strategy for the eastern waterfront aims to brings confluence between these directionalities and create a weave which is materialized as a public promenade that spans north-south and is anchored by Sewri Fort in the north and the Gateway of India in the south. In addition to this, the commuter rail and the proposed metro system serve as complementary routes establishing the identity of the Eastern Waterfront as a comprehensive whole. However, due to the length of the Eastern waterfront, it passes through several different neighborhoods and necessitates an understanding of them as transects or districts that relate to its adjacencies in the west. Therefore, there is an opportunity to program a diversified waterfront which can respond to its context at a more local scale in the east-west axis while serving the larger whole of the city through accommodating several functions.