Spatial planning of coastal urban areas in India: Current practice versus quantitative approach
Appropriate spatial planning and environmental management of coastal areas in cities are essential to maintain a balance of environmental quality and urban development, whereas unscientific planning practices lead to the degradation of coastal ecosystems. Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) guidelines are currently being used in India for management of the coast. These guidelines are difficult to implement and do not take into account the variation of physical characteristics of the coast. The alternative to this approach is a quantitative land classification in coastal areas based on geospatial and multiple criteria decision making techniques. In this work, we applied these two approaches to the three case locations of the coastal lands in Mumbai region representing areas which are i) predominantly urban, ii) rural and iii) no development areas. The classification results of the two approaches are systematically compared and contrasted to show the lacunae in the present method of CRZ classification and to highlight the advantages of using the quantitative approach in coastal land classification. The comparative analysis shows that the quantitative approach takes into account the variation of physical features along the coast and will help in conserving the coastal ecosystem more efficiently.