Suburbs (Sub- under and urbs-city) is generally understood to be residential areas around a large city with a lower population density than the inner city neighbourhoods. Someone forgot to tell Mumbai that! The linear, sea-pocketed Mumbai has been growing awkwardly, haphazardly and incrementally in the north west and north east direction, creating dense, congested, poorly planned so-called suburbs. The pressure of the migrant population and the increased economic growth coupled with the already packed inner city areas has seen mushrooming of legal and illegal dense housing with little focus on appropriate infrastructure or amenities in the Mumbai suburbs. The suburbs of a decade soon transforms into higher densities than the old city and newer suburbs emerge, to be filled up in turn. The delineation of what really constitutes a suburb changes every decade or so. The MMRDA's logic for a overground Metro in Bandra and Juhu as opposed to underground Metro in the city area, is that this is the way its done all over the world. And this is wrong perception. Suburbs in Chicago or London would mean acres of open land through which the tracks pass. Seen any rolling fields in bandra or Juhu or Santacruz or anywhere else up to Borivli on the one hand, and Mulund on the other? The urban governance of Mumbai suburbs is a matter of great concern. While Mumbai has been divided into 24 ward offices, the ward wise population is completely skewed against the suburbanites. For example, B ward in the island city has a population of around 1.16 lakh people, while Malad has over 6 lakhs. It is well nigh impossible for one small MCGM ward office to cater satisfactorily to all the municipal needs of so many people. Hence decentralization of administrative wards is critical for good urban development of the so-called suburbs. It is pertinent to note that the suburbs of Mumbai are equally responsible for the economy of this city as the relatively new business districts/ economic hubs BKC, Andheri, Malad BPOs and Film City are in the suburbs.


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