Maximum City: Dizzying Images of Mumbai's Sky High Building Boom

By Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan on at

Mumbai's housing market is a series of extremes: There are hundreds of skyscrapers being built, yet more than 60 per cent of its citizens live in slums. Single families occupy immense towers, but the average living space is less than four metres squared per person. Alicja Dobrucka, a Polish artist, set out to document the disparity last year.

Dobrucka shot her project, entitled Life Is On a New High, over the course of Monsoon season last year. The images show towering luxury high rises, surrounded by low-lying slums; each image is accompanied by an excerpt from property advertising. A few excerpts include "Ask yourself, how much envy can you endure?," and "You don't just invite friends over, you invite awe."

Maximum City: Dizzying Images of Mumbai's Sky High Building Boom

Maximum City: Dizzying Images of Mumbai's Sky High Building Boom

I got in touch with Dobrucka to find out more about the project, and she told me it was shot over the course of June and July last year. In a statement, she explains:

There is no centralised urban planning and the towers keep popping up in all areas of central Mumbai, in particular on the huge pieces of land that accommodated textile factories that are now closed, as well as in the suburbs. The building companies are supported by the government and are given tax exemption.

This building boom creates a great deal of problems and makes the city difficult to negotiate on foot, and it is damaging to the environment as the large glass windows require air conditioning, which in turn increases the consumption of electricity.

Maximum City: Dizzying Images of Mumbai's Sky High Building Boom

Maximum City: Dizzying Images of Mumbai's Sky High Building Boom

Of course, this is a long-standing reality for cities like Mumbai—but Dobrucka's photos to a hell of a job teasing out how socioeconomic disparity articulates itself in the urban fabric. Check out more of her work on her website. [Life Is On a New High]

Maximum City: Dizzying Images of Mumbai's Sky High Building Boom

Maximum City: Dizzying Images of Mumbai's Sky High Building Boom

Maximum City: Dizzying Images of Mumbai's Sky High Building Boom

Maximum City: Dizzying Images of Mumbai's Sky High Building Boom

Maximum City: Dizzying Images of Mumbai's Sky High Building Boom