Megacities: The Growing Conflicts In Mumbai, India

Mumbai is a city of contrasts. Here, the super-rich and slum dwellers live side by side. As more and more luxury skyscrapers go up, slums are forced to make way for them. Conflicts ensue. So what is life like, in a megacity with 20 million inhabitants?

In Dharavi, Asia’s largest slum, more than a million people live in extremely crowded conditions. But the neighbourhood is dynamic. We meet Mahesh, 27, who was born in the slum and has never left. Today, he runs a recycling plant that employs about 20 people. Dharavi’s shadow economy is said to bring in 800 million euros a year.

However, the future of the neighbourhood is uncertain, as it sits on valuable property — located right in the city centre. With the support of local authorities, real estate magnate Babulal Varma is tearing down slums to build luxury housing for the upper classes. Will Dharavi survive? Mumbai is already one of the most populous cities in the world.

By 2035, the population is projected to rise drastically — to 30 million. The city’s inevitable expansion affects not only the people who live there, but also the forests that surround it. These include the “Sanjay Gandhi National Park”. Now, the leopards living in the park have started to make regular forays into new housing developments, looking for food. They attack stray dogs, as well as humans. As urbanization continues, the conflict between humans and wild animals is sure to become more dire.

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