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Comparison of Mumbai and New York Compare and Contrast Essay

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Updated: Jul 5th, 2019


The City of New York and Mumbai City are some of the largest cities in the world. An analysis of the socio-political structure of these cities will reveal a number of factors that make them different. According to Bhagat and Mohua (2006, p. 340), the socio-political structure of a city is always defined closely by the cultural and social practices of its people.

This means that although New York City could be sharing a number of similarities with Mumbai City, the two have different socio-political settings. In order to understand these cities, it is important to analyze their leadership structure, efficiency in service delivery, transport system, and housing.

New York City


New York City is a metropolitan municipality with the government formed by the mayor council. The City Council of New York is unicameral body with 51 members of the council. The people of this city directly elect the mayor and the 51 councilors. They have the mandate to oversee the management of the city. However, this council must work closely with the governor of this state and the central government.

The governor of this city also has a central role to play in the management of this city. The governor works closely with the council to identify issues that will be addressed at the council level, state level or national level. The national government- through its three arms, executive, judiciary, and legislature- also has a role to play in the management of this city.


The management of New York City in terms of efficacy is based on various factors. When analyzing the capacity of this city based on how well its leaders offer quality services to the residents, a number of factors come out clearly. For instance, this city has a clear system of managing wastes at all times of the day. It is rare to come across litters in this city.

The management of this city has been able to take care of such issues as availability of water and the drainage system to sustain the rising number of its residents. This means that, in terms of efficacy, the City of New York can be highly graded compared to other cities in the world.

In this city, the government knows that the public depends on the trust given to the office holders to get what they need from this government. This has encouraged ethics among the stakeholders and transparency in every activity they undertake.


Transport system in this city is advanced, making movement from one place to the other very easy. One fact that has helped ease congestion in this city despite its massive population is the fact that it is a 24-hour economy, reducing the hustle experienced in other cities during peak hours. Most of the New Yoke residents have also embraced mass transit as a way of easing traffic.

Culhane and Metraux 1999, p. 220) say, “Mass transit in New York City, most of which runs 24 hours a day, is the most complex and extensive in North America.” This has helped in freeing the traffic at all times of the day. With some state-of-the-art electric train, improved air, and road transport, this city has one of the best traffic flows in the world.


The City of New York has adequate housing facilities for its residents. The central government, the state government, and the council have worked over the years to eliminate informal dwellings in this city. Based on the definition of a slum given by UN-Habitat, this city does not have slums.

The city has some of the most affluent housing units in the world. Although there is income disparity among the dwellers of this city, the government has been keen to ensure that all city dwellers have formal settlements.

Mumbai City


The City of Mumbai is governed by 227 councilors representing 24 municipal wards who are directly elected by people of this country. The council has a mayor who chairs meetings of the council. However, the mayor’s position and the position of deputy mayor are ceremonial. The executive powers in the management of this city lie with the Municipal commissioner who has a two-and-a-half year tenure at this office.


The council of Mumbai City has limited capacity to manage its wastes, especially at night. One can easily sport dirt within the city center at night. In some of the residential areas of this city, the increasing population overwhelms the sewer lines. Some of them have blocked, while others are openly flowing. This is hazardous to the public, and the failure can directly be attributed to the planners of this city.

Transparency and ethical behavior in the two cities also differ a great deal. Transparency International has rated Mumbai City government as one of the most corrupt cities in the world. The management of this council has vested personal interest and do not give much focus on the needs of the public. This has made the council to enact numerous by-laws meant to increase avenues for corruption.


Transport system in Mumbai has faced a number of serious challenges. Alford (2012, p. 5) says, “Mumbai’s transport system has been considered as one of the most congested system in the world.” This scholar says that this city has constantly been struggling with the issue of traffic congestion, especially during peak hours.

Although the government has struggled to expand road and rail transport- that are the commonly used- within the city, a lot of traffic congestion is still being experienced in the morning and evening hours. For instance, Smith and Kurtz (2003, p. 210) observes that at peak hours, a train that should be carrying 1700 passengers would be forced to carry up to 4500 passengers. This is almost three times the standard capacity.


The housing system in Mumbai is relatively poor when compared to that of other major cities in the world. The rising population of migrants overwhelms the capacity of this city housing units. According to Stalter and Munir (2002, p. 75), the City of Mumbai has experienced a massive rise in slums due to the incapacity of the city’s management to develop proper housing units.

Over 70% of the city dwellers in this city stay in slums. A big percentage occupies less than 6% of the total land area of the city. This clearly brings out the massive congestion that is experienced at these slums. A few affluent residents of this city can afford to stay in luxurious estates of this country. It is estimated that the growth of informal settlements within this city is higher than the overall rate at which this city grows.

List of References

Alford, M 2012, Mumbai, India: The Metamorphosis of a City, World Literature Today, vol. 86, no. 3, p. 5.

Bhagat, B & Mohua, G 2006, Mumbai after Deluge: Issues and Concerns in Urban Planning, Population and Environment, vol. 27, no. 4, pp. 337-349.

Culhane, D & Metraux, S 1999, One-Year Rates of Public Shelter Utilization by Race, Ethnicity, Age, Sex and Poverty Status for New York City, Population Research and Policy Review, vol. 18, no. 3, pp. 219-236.

Smith, C & Kurtz, H 2003, Community Gardens and Politics of Scale in New York City, Geographical Review, vol. 93, no. 2, pp. 193-212.

Stalter, R & Munir, A 2002, The Vascular Flora of Hoffman and Swinburne Islands, New York Harbor, New York. Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society, vol. 129, no. 1, pp. 77-82.

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