Shadow City, Mumbai
Project info

Dharavi, Mumbai, is one of the largest slum areas in the world. With an estimated one million inhabitants living on two square kilometers it's an area densely populated. Situated in the heart of Mumbai's mega city and surrounded by India’s growing wealth it's a city of it's own. It's a city for the poor. It's called Shadow City.

Mumbai is the second most populous city in the world with 22 million people. 55 % of the population live in shantytowns and slums. Dharavi is the largest slum in Mumbai. Dharavi got established in 1933 and it incorporates 1.7 sq km in the heart of Mumbai.

Some call the Dharavi slum an embarrassing eyesore in the middle of India's financial capital. The people live there call it home.

Dharavi is located between Mumbai’s two main suburban railway lines. To the north flows the Mithi river, which empties into the Arabian sea. Both its location and poor drainage systems make Dharavi particularly vulnerable to floods during the wet season. Which creates bad water. Open drains run thick with untreated human and industrial waste, water taps run dry constantly and cholera, typhoid and malaria are common.

The Dharavi slum is densely populated. As many as 18,000 people are forced to crowd into a single acre, where there is just one lavatory for every 1,500 residents. There are no public hospitals, and only a dozen municipal schools. The air is polluted with burnt plastic and human waste. There are no places to get rid of the trash, instead it gets drop and lit by fire on the slopes surrounding the area.

Due to India’s´ crowing economy and Mumbai being the centre of this. Dharavi is threatened by it’s existence by the need for space. The real estate prices in Mumbai are among the highest in the world and the location in the heart of the city is becoming more and more attractive to real estate buyers. But For Indian rural migrants seeking a better and more prosperous life, Dharavi is still the first place they settle in. Trying to create a new life. In the Shadow City.