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Can a historic Mumbai neighborhood be preserved?

Mumbai’s Khotachiwadi neighborhood features historic bungalows in an area increasingly dominated by tall buildings. (URBZ OO/flickr)

In Mumbai’s Khotachiwadi neighborhood, original family bungalows built in the Indo-Portuguese style feature bright facades, spacious verandas and detailed trelliswork. Avantika Chilkoti reports for the Financial Times that some residents are concerned about the sale of the remaining historic properties to developers.

Over the years, as many younger residents moved away, dozens of the ancestral villas were sold off and knocked down to make room for multi-story residential buildings, the article says. Chilkoti writes that the area’s conservation is controversial because some owners choose to sell when their families grow — or to avoid high maintenance costs.

One idea is to transform Khotachiwadi into something akin to Hauz Khas, a preservation district in Delhi where old homes are converted into boutique shops. Community leaders also could look to cities overseas that have successfully balanced development with preservation. The Gulf News reports that during India Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent trip to Kyoto, Mayor Daisaku Kadokawa briefed him about “green, smart and modern yet historic Kyoto.”

Financial Times

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