ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Mumbai and Shanghai

Kala Seetharam Sridhar (KSS) (Letters, 13 September) has surely not missed the point of Yasheng Huang’s article “Should Mumbai Learn from Shanghai?” (19 July). She quotes, “To understand why skyscrapers went up so quickly in Shanghai…” and goes on to suggest that the explanation is in Shanghai’s liberal land laws, in particular a higher FAR (Floor Area Ratio, called Floor Space Index or FSI in Mumbai). Let me finish the quote: “To understand why skyscrapers went up so quickly in Shanghai (and in other major cities such as Beijing) one has to know what did not go up elsewhere in the country”. And then Yasheng Huang goes on to say that it was education that suffered, especially rural education.

Nevertheless, and deviating entirely from the point of the original article, which is that it is the poor who are paying for Shanghai’s seeming prosperity, KSS feels one thing Mumbai has to learn from Shanghai is in regard to land use regulations. She thinks Mumbai’s (and Indian cities generally) FAR of 1.33 is too low. The World Bank team which completed a recent mission to Mumbai agrees. So what should the FAR be?

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