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The Dadar-Matunga-Wadala-Sion scheme of 1899-1900 was the first planned suburban scheme in Bombay. The City Improvement Trust formulated this plan in order to relieve congestion in the centre of the town, following the the plague epidemics of the 1890's. According to the survey plan, 60,000 people were to be housed at Dadar-Matunga and an equal number in Sion-Matunga. 85,000 people were to be accommodated in the developments in Sewri-Wadala.
The plans regulated constructions with emphasis on proper sanitation. No building was to be more than three storeys high, and the buildings were to have open spaces between them. The land-use was planned to be a mix of residential, commercial and institutional constructions. Parks and gardens were planned, and the streets were well laid out.
440 acres of land was procured and leased to the Government for selling. For the first time housing cooperatives were formed to take advantage of newly developed land. The Parsi and Hindu colonies in Dadar and the Tamil colony in Matunga were developed in this way.
Dadar was 6 miles away from Crawford Market by the newly constructed Mohammedali Road. The tramways were extended to this new suburb. The GIP constructed a bridge, now the Tilak Bridge, connecting the two suburban railways. Soon, in February 1925, the GIP Railways opened their suburban line, and started the work of electrifying the railways.
Among the institutions which moved here according to the CIT plan were the VJTI, the Sydenham College of Commerce and King George's School.
Hand in hand with the development of the northern suburbs in the 1930's there was a lot of activity in the Dadar-Matunga area. The Hindu Colony, north of Tilak Bridge, expanded upto Ambedkar Marg (then Kingsway) and around the Khodadad Circle. These developments were completed by 1935. In 1937 Ramnarain Ruia College was founded and in 1939 the Podar College, thus completing a transition of Dadar from a residential suburb into a variegated enclave.
By 1937 the Shivaji Park and the surrounding areas were developed. This public space was to become an important stage in the political drama which led up to India's independence. The later political history of Bombay also unfolded quite often in the same park.
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