Case | HBS Case Collection | July 2009 (Revised June 2011)

Dharavi: Developing Asia's Largest Slum (A)

by Lakshmi Iyer, John D. Macomber and Namrata Arora


Maharashtra state is accepting bids to redevelop Dharavi, the largest slum in Asia. A real estate developer assesses the risks and tenders a bid. The bid conditions include providing new free housing to tens of thousands of slum dwellers, which is anticipated to be paid for from the revenues from developing and selling market-rate housing. While the primary concerns are cost of construction, cost of capital, and revenues from sale of units, the analysis must consider many aspects of risk including political risk, foreign exchange risk, market risk, and execution risk. Further, the discussion covers social aspects including whether the slum should be redeveloped at all, whether it should be redeveloped by government or by the private sector, and whether to accomplish it in large chunks or in smaller increments. Additional topics that can be covered include consideration of what happens to commercial activities formerly run from slum dwellings, whether the market-rate units will indeed sell for high prices if there are tens of thousands of former slum dwellers housed nearby, and whether the slum dwellers will be allowed to resell their units or whether they must remain in them. Other issues include timing of the project, guarantees to and from the government and the private parties to mitigate risk, and whether this model, if successful, can be extended to other slums in Asia.

Keywords: Risk Management; Development Economics; Housing; Urban Development; Emerging Markets; Social Issues; Business and Government Relations; Real Estate Industry; Mumbai;


Iyer, Lakshmi, John D. Macomber, and Namrata Arora. "Dharavi: Developing Asia's Largest Slum (A)." Harvard Business School Case 710-004, July 2009. (Revised June 2011.)