Dharavi Dollars: Establishing Public-Private Partnerships for Shanghaiing Mumbai
Sonam Velani

Urban slums are home to over 900 million people around the globe and are growing at an astounding rate of 86,000 individuals per day according to the World Bank. This forces governments to develop innovation solutions that ensure the long-term political, economic, and social sustainability of today's mega-cities. This study assesses the economic impact of one such poverty alleviation tactic adopted by the Indian government in its endeavor to dramatically transform Mumbai to become the world's next Shanghai. The objective of the Dharavi Redevelopment Project is to convert Asia's largest slum into a world-class township complete with cross-subsidized housing, unique amenities, and commercial districts. This strategy diverges from standard approaches and links the efforts of the community's most important stakeholders. The state government adjusts land-use restrictions to increase land values and provide financial incentives for the private sector. Concurrently, slum dwellers collaborate with local NGOs to obtain free housing and improve their living conditions. However, the exact timing and scope of redevelopment projects may lead to highly contradictory policies at all levels -- decentralization and centralization of administrative power; supply-driven and demand-driven expansion; deregulation and new regulation of guiding principles; and most importantly, private and public investment. The complexities involved in enabling low-income individuals to secure better housing are deeply connected to the concept of institutional pluralism, and if successful, the strategies employed in the Dharavi Case will shape future urban redevelopment policies around the world.