Maharashtra Nature Park is located on a delta of the Mithi River, and links the larger river system to Mahim Bay and the Arabian Sea. Planning for future growth and development in Mumbai must embrace the Mithi River as an integral part of the urban and ecological landscape of the city. The river plays a critical role in the dispersal of storm water and the preservation of natural mangroves. The poor water quality and edge conditions of the river must be significantly improved to ensure the long-term health of the ecosystem and the surrounding communities.
The plan enhances Maharashtra Nature Park and sets a powerful precedent for future environmental restoration and urban improvement projects along the river by creating resilient landscapes. The approach is based on five key principles.
- Connecting Communities: The vision establishes a bold idea to connect the communities along the Mithi River and their delicate ecologies to one another, and to restore the Maharashtra Nature Park.
- Functional and Learning Landscape: The plan celebrates and builds on the park’s existing assets and diversity, creating a unique functional and learning opportunity by restoring the natural landscape and engaging local communities and uniting neighborhoods.
- Ecological Literacy: The idea is to inspire interaction between people and place, creating a landscape where sustainability principles are experienced, understood, and appreciated. It imagines a collaborative and educational environment, which integrates knowledge programs, outdoor laboratories, and observatory pavilions within the wetlands, bio habitats, marshes, and forest. The intent is to facilitate sustainable development, and help develop ecological literacy among users, stakeholders, students, and visitors.
- Connecting Neighborhoods: An iconic bridge serves as a critical element that connects neighborhoods, various program elements, wetlands, and habitats, and ties them into a continuous experience of learning, engaging, and appreciating.
- Park as Catalyst: This approach could provide a catalyst to elevate the regional appreciation for ecological systems and their human interactions, and resiliency planning for Mumbai’s waterfronts. It establishes a series of systems that restore ecologies, improve water quality, reduce flooding, and create a true waterfront.
While only a small part of large ecological and urban systems, the Maharashtra Nature Park offers a vision for the future of the Mithi River and Mumbai.