In cities like Mumbai, finding synergies between mobility, infrastructure, and open spaces is required to create liveable urban environments. One Green Mile is a “Complete Street” project, located in the heart of Mumbai’s financial district, that addresses the global challenge of transforming vehicular dominant corridors of the city into streets for its people.
The project demonstrates how encroached and underutilised spaces can be converted into safe and vibrant public places using principles of good street design and place making to create a positive and enjoyable environment for the neighbourhood.
This 1.8km stretch of Senapati Bapat Marg (SBM) passes through the Lower Parel district and is amongst the busiest sections within Mumbai, as it connects the workforce from the business district to the existing suburban railway stations, that take them home. To facilitate movement of commuters, bus stops and taxi stands are located along it. The road experiences extremely heavy traffic volumes especially during the peak hours; to address this a flyover was built in early 2000s, which bypasses a few of the junctions.
Nucleus Office Parks (NOP) who is one of the landowners of two large corporate buildings along this street formed an alliance with Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to transform the vehicle dominated SBM to a Complete Street that addresses the needs for all users.
StudioPOD led a multi-disciplinary team to develop and execute the masterplan for One Green Mile over a span of two years by following the due process that a complex city project like this demanded. Detailed existing conditions analysis, stakeholder engagement and approval process between different authorities was initiated to kick start the project.
Traffic surveys were conducted and analysed to tabulate the requirements for pedestrians, cyclists, and vehicles. Considering the high volumes, an innovative solution involving reclaiming road space, otherwise used for parking, for the creation of a wider public realm was developed. This along with adjustment of the road geometries resulted in streamlining of traffic movement as well as creating a public realm that reduces conflicts. The public realm was richly planted with local species of trees and shrubs and street furniture was introduced. This transformed the footpath from being narrow and hidden behind parked vehicles, to an exciting and well programmed public realm including a cycle track.
Multiple micro-destinations along the street have been created as pause points nestled within the reclaimed pedestrian zones and within the neglected under flyover spaces. These micro-destinations in the form of parks, plazas and safe refuge areas have seating, wayfinding and adequate lighting surrounded with landscape elements like swales, green islands, and trees, designed for shade and resiliency.
This further helps to reduce the urban heat island effect and improve air quality. The increase in permeable surface area also helps in creating a cost-effective green infrastructure for storm water management. Stonecrete, made of a mixture of locally available natural stone and concrete has been used as the pavement material, allowing for a seamless walking surface and increased durability.
The once neglected under flyover space is now a well-programmed community park for people of all ages. Called the new ‘Parel Baug’, this space has transformed into a true public place filled with games, laughter, and shelter for the community.
Culturally rooted programs like the study centre, also known as a “Vachnalaya” were introduced, for students to read and study in a distraction-free community space and meet with peers around the clock. The play area was designed to be a flexible space for all games and community gatherings. Curated public art illustrates the history of the area while creating a sense of place.
The structural elements of the under-flyover space have been painted with people, plants, and objects that trace the history of the Lower Parel neighbourhood and tell its story , establishing a link with the context and giving the space local identity. Planting extends throughout this space, providing much needed greenery on both sides that helps in reducing the air pollution, create legibility and provides an audio-visual buffer, while cooling the surrounding spaces.
The streetscape upgradation has reclaimed 2.3 acres of public realm, introduced five new modular and open bus-stops, added 130 new trees and one acre of new public spaces under the flyover.
One Green Mile shows how a collaborative approach in urban design, landscape urbanism and placemaking can create a thriving public place while making daily commute easier and comfortable for more than 1,50,000 people per day.
Urban Design and Landscape Urbanism Lead: StudioPOD
International co-architect for under flyover space (Parel Baug): MVRDV
Public Art collaboration: St+art India
Landscape Architects: AMS consultants and Enviroscape India
MEP: ARKK Consulting
Lighting: Lighting Concepts
Traffic Analysis: Rahul Dalal & Sustainancy Consultants Pvt Ltd
Signage & wayfinding: StudioPOD
Structural Design: JW Consultants LLP
Project Management: Turner International India
Clients: Nucleus Office Parks – A Blackstone Company
Governing Authority: Brihanmumbai Mumbai Corporation (BMC) – G Ward (N&S)
Location: Elphinstone Flyover, Saidham Nagar, Lower Parel, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400012
Design year: 2020
Year Completed: 2022
Streetview may show the condition before the intervention.