Event Date: 10th March 2009
Speaker: Jamsheed Kanga, Cyrus Guzder, Devvrat Mehta, Vikas Dilawari
Venue: Horniman Circle Garden

The lecture focused on the four proposed elevated pedestrian walkways proposed by the Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority in the historic fort precinct. Three points were raised:

Firstly, the mere presence of Grade I Heritage structures and open spaces and also a UNESCO World Heritage Site demand controlled development within a regulatory radius to ensure that vistas and visual perceptions are retained; which this proposal is completely in breach of. Secondly, they unethically obstruct streetscapes and skylines in precincts with distinct styles of period specific international and vernacular architecture. Thirdly, with gross decentralisation of businesses and complimentary corporate districts, pedestrian traffic figures have dwindled. This in addition to the prevalent pedestrian corridors further establishes this project as a solution to a non-existent concern.

The lecture focused on the proposed redevelopment of Crawford market, a Grade I structure that sits at the springing point of the much celebrated Heritage Mile which terminates at Flora Fountain. The structure which has been listed as a Grade I heritage structure, has come to represent one of the finest architectural and construction innovations for markets within the country. Over the years, a multitude of incongruous developments have gravely affected the structural and architectural integrity of the building.

The projected scheme seeks to recognise only segments of the development as Grade I, rendering the remainder of structures on site exposed to interventions of increased Floor Space Index. This adds an entirely new lens through which development authorities comprehend strategies and interpret regulations with regard to heritage within the city, almost obtuse to the code of ethics and understanding established by conservationists and historians. Prospects of both Crawford Market as well as heritage regulation within the Mumbai Metropolitan Region are pivotal in the urban discourse of the city.