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Bhendi Bazaar’s Transformation: Redefining Quality of Life

India, a nation of over 1.3 billion people, is undergoing a remarkable transformation in its urban landscape. Cities are the economic engines of the country, yet they often face daunting challenges such as inadequate infrastructure, environmental concerns, and overpopulation. Redevelopment projects have emerged as a crucial solution, offering a vision for sustainable urban development. There are many ongoing redevelopment projects underway across India like the Dharavi Slum Redevelopment, Kamathipura Redevelopment, Malvani slums, Chandni Chowk, and many more. One such project that is adding to India’s redevelopment horizon is the Bhendi Bazaar Redevelopment Project.

Bhendi Bazaar, a well-known locality in Mumbai with a history spanning over 150 years, has faced various challenges such as narrow streets, ageing infrastructure, deteriorating buildings, lack of open spaces, and inadequate sanitation facilities. These factors significantly affected the quality of life for its inhabitants, particularly those living in chawls with shared toilets. The Dawoodi Bohra community’s Saifee Burhani Upliftment Trust (SBUT) has undertaken the upgrade of the locality to improve the lives of the people living and working in the area.

With over 250 deteriorating structures, 3,200 families, and 1,250 shops spread over 16.5 acres of land, the redevelopment project is transforming the area into a contemporary and sustainable neighbourhood. This transformation involves new buildings, wider roads, updated infrastructure, increased open spaces, and vibrant commercial areas, benefiting people of all religions and backgrounds. The primary objective is to enhance the neighbourhood’s appearance and the lives of those who previously lived in unhealthy conditions.

To make Bhendi Bazaar self-sustaining, SBUT has collaborated with experts in design and architecture to create sustainable living conditions. The project incorporates technology and eco-friendly practices to foster a holistic and sustainable way of life. Environmental Sustainability is a central focus, with features such as sewage treatment facilities for water recycling and rainwater harvesting which collectively contribute to reduced local water consumption by about 35%.

As a part of the completed first phase of the project, Al-Saadah features solar panels and renewable energy sources that provide lighting in common areas, promoting energy efficiency. The towers are designed to withstand extreme weather conditions. The waste management system at the local level is efficient, reducing organic waste and promoting recycling. Additionally, the width of the roads is widened up to 18 metres, providing better space for both vehicles and pedestrians. This expansion allows for parking spaces for around 3,500 cars in the locality, and planting of several species of trees and shrubs to enhance the greenery and air circulation in Bhendi Bazaar.

In addition to the residential and cultural aspects of the Bhendi Bazaar Redevelopment Project, the commercial landscape is also undergoing a significant transformation. SBUT is actively involved in the redevelopment of commercial shops and spaces, ensuring they are equipped with modern facilities and infrastructure. By fostering the growth of commercial establishments, the project not only enhances the livelihoods of local entrepreneurs but also contributes to the economic vitality of the entire area.

This is not just a transformation but a creation of quality living spaces in the form of a smart city and is aimed to be completed by 2025-2026. The Bhendi Bazaar Upliftment Project is positively impacting the lives and livelihoods of people and upgrading the dilapidated infrastructures of Bhendi Bazaar. This project is setting an example for the other urban renewal projects in India.