At the India Geospatial Forum in Hyderabad, Alan Abraham, an architect with Abraham John Architects in Bombay outlined a farsighted plan for dramatically changing the availability of and accessability to green space in Bombay. Alan used a combination of architectural design and geospatial tools to identify and qualify the challenge and design his proposal for an accessible unique green space in Bombay.
By way of background Bombay is a linear North-South city bounded on the East and West by water and divided down the middle by a 114 km North-South rail line, which carries 7.7 million passengers every day. Crossing this line is hazardous - there are about 4,000 fatalities every year related to the rail line, mostly people attempting to cross the tracks. In additon there are frequent floods during the monsoon season which affect the rail line, freqently shutting down rail traffic. But people still need to get to work, so this introduces considerable hardship for commuters during the monsoon season.
With respect to green space, there is very little in Bombay and what there is is inaccessible to the general public. Alan estimated that there is 1.5 square meters of green space per capita in Bombay. For comparison, Chicago which has the least amount of parkland per capita among major U.S. cities, has 182 square feet (about 20 square meters) per person. In Bombay there is so little green space, that "park" is used to refer to a car park.
Alan has made an innovative proposal for developing an elevated linear park over the rail line. The Bombay Greenway Project would have some analogies to the Promenade Plantee park in Paris, the High Line Park in New York, and the Cheonggyecheon linear park in Seoul. The park would address many of the challenges Bombay is facing. It would provide substantial green space that would be accessible to all Bombay residents. It would offer a safe and healthy alternative transportation mode for people to get to work, either by walking or cycling, it would provide a safe way to cross the rail lines that would help reduce the annual 4,000 fatalities. During floods it could provide a safe alternative route for people who need to get to work. Alan forsees that it could even be used to harvest water during the monsoon season.