Saturday, January 26, 2013

Mumbai's Sanjay Gandhi National Park

Mumbai, January 26, 2012

Many cities have urban parks, gardens let's say, like Hyde Park in London or the Jardin du Luxemburg in Paris.  These are landscape spaces typically surrounded by the local urban fabric.  But some cities have other, much larger green spaces that play a role at a metropolitan scale and are likely to be away from the center of the city.  Back to the cases of London and Paris, you can think of Richmond Park and the Bois de Boulogne respectively.  In Mumbai, the Sanjay Gandhi National Park plays such role.

Located on northern suburbs of Mumbai, the area of the park is about 2,500 acres (just for comparison, Richmond Park is 2,300 and the Bois de Boulogne 2,000.)  It includes hills, valleys and lakes, with a great variety of flora and fauna, as well as an area of major archaeological remains, the Kanheri caves dating from as early as the first century BC.

Sanjay Gandhi National Park plays a particularly interesting role in the map of the city.  Think of Mumbai as an elongated triangular peninsula running north-south, with the Arabian Sea to the west and the wide Thane Creek to the east.  Downtown occupies the southern tip of the triangle.  As the city extends north, the distance between the sides becomes wider and urbanization happens at the edges, leaving a progressively large area in the center.  That's exactly the place of the park.  You could say that city and park play a perfect game of "perimeter and core."  And to make it even more perfect, the international airport completes the core to the south of the park and the major transportation lines open up to the the east and west, serving the northern suburbs on the perimeter.

No comments :

Post a Comment