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` 150 NOV 2010 VOL 24 (3)

Focus: Design & Informal Cities


18 IA&B - NOV 2010

Oblique Investigations In a conversation with Sarita Vijayan, Editor and Brand Director, IA&B, Dr. Marla Stukenberg talks about ‘The Promised City’ project and the variety of works within the exhaustive project, ‘The Promised City’.

Dr. Marla Stukenberg studied Political Science and German Philology in Freiburg and Frankfurt, Germany. She did her Ph.D. in Political Science in 1992 on the theory of ethnic conflicts, researching the Sikh-conflict in Punjab as a case study. After completing her research, she worked as an editor on the history of non-European countries for German publisher C.H. Beck in Munich. She joined the Goethe-Institut, the German Cultural Institute, in 1999 and was posted in the head office in Munich, in Karachi and in Jakarta, where she was coordinating cultural programs for the region South-East Asia, Australia and New Zealand. Since 2008 she is the Director of the Goethe-Institut at the Max Mueller Bhavan, Mumbai. SV. Tell us more about ‘The Promised City’ project. How did the initiative originate? MS. At the beginning, two European cities were in the spotlight of ‘The Promised City’ project: Berlin and Warsaw, virtual neighbours in the heart of Europe, two major poles in that part of Europe. These two cities are different, but they also have a lot in common. Both are lively cities which need to come to terms with their difficult past. When drawing up the concept of the project, we soon realised we had to open a window to the world outside Europe. Because, in a globalised world we simply cannot afford to be self-absorbed, and we cannot understand Europe only from within. The external perspective, in this case the Indian one, was needed to understand the complex issue of the ’Promised Cities’ that exists today.

SV. What in your opinion does the city promise? Does the city fulfil its promise? MS. The city not only allows us to project different wishes and ideas but also provokes us into doing so: be it the pressing need to earn a livelihood and secure the survival of the family; or to chalk out a film career in Bollywood city; or be it an attempt to break free of tradition and experiment with alternative ways of life. A range of different forces unleash their energy from the distance, the metropolis seems like a shining star that one must reach out for in order to survive or to realise an individual dream. But the promise of the metropolis is, however, not only the “promise of good fortune” but the outrageous and the unimaginable are also an implicit part of the premise: the danger of being a spectacular failure, the risk of experiencing only the dark side of a metropolis, only


let’s partner

superficially covered by glitter. To me it is almost as though the promise is virtually dependant on the possibility of failure. Over decay and death, we see the metre-high, brightly illuminated billboard –the promise of luck and good fortune that the megacity hold out to all those who persevere, who conquer the hostile living space and make it their own. SV. Berlin, Warsaw and Mumbai. One can understand the interconnected histories of Berlin and Warsaw. How does Mumbai contribute to the project? MS. Berlin and Warsaw are linked by a chequered German-Polish history that provides frequent impulses at short intervals for a cultural exchange between the two European cities. The Indian city of Mumbai helps expand the radius of our study of the other city. Mumbai adds aspects to the project which, given their size and range, highlight many of the issues addressed in the project on a scale that would not be possible in Berlin or Warsaw. In the coming decades, Mumbai will continue to be an exemplary megacity in a globalised world and will certainly expand its role as the gateway to the South Asian continent. At the interface between economic growth and socio-cultural transformation, Mumbai will certainly remain one of Asia’s major cities. It is, therefore worthwhile to look beyond Berlin and Warsaw when engaging with ‘The Promised City’. The discussion about Berlin and Warsaw is also exciting for Mumbai, with the new focus on Warsaw, in particular, being new and inspiring. SV. It is a general observation that ‘The Promised City ‘project consciously refrains from addressing the physical aspect of the city and focuses more on the experiential aspect. Could you shed light on the reason behind it? MS. In the past, Max Mueller Bhavan Mumbai hosted many projects on urban planning, cityscaping, cultural spaces and architectural issues. Together with our partner institutions, we raised issues like the inadequate transport infrastructure, deficiencies in housing, employment, health care, drinking water, school education and the tremendous lack of public space. And we will continue to look at these issues in forthcoming projects. But under the large umbrella project ‘The Promised City’, as you rightly say, we wanted to focus more on the experiential aspect. Here we wanted to add other aspects, starting from the fact that Mumbai is India’s largest, most modern and most populous metropolitan area besides being the largest migration hub in the country: over 50 per cent of its population are migrants, making Mumbai a melting pot of the subcontinent’s different cultures. Why do so many people migrate into Mumbai everyday? How do they cope with the above mentioned deficiencies? How do people shape their city? We have to ask such questions, define the driving forces behind the recent developments in today’s global cities and take those experiences and observations into consideration when working on the physical aspect of the city as city planners or architects. The two have to go hand in hand to make a difference. The city is an idea and a place.

SV. ‘The Promised City’ project brings together diverse mediums and produced a variety of works and ideas. What according to you is a common thread connecting all these works? MS. Artists, curators and academicians from Germany, India and Poland have developed various new creative productions. All of which are interdisciplinary and evolve around subjects of dreams, illusions, and promises of modern metropolises. These completely diverse works of different art genres and from various cities reveal that the promise of a city goes beyond the personal, and structures the society. The correlations between migration, consumerism, architecture and city planning unfold in the various works. They, therefore, hold the key to comprehension of our cohabitation in the metropolises of this world. SV. When the initiative originated, what were your initial expectations regarding the outcome of the project? MS. Our initial expectation was that we wanted to highlight the issue of ‘cross-boundaries’ through a very wide range of perspectives and bring out new experiences, new ideas and new international networks. We wanted to contribute to a better understanding of what megacities consist of, if we look at them from an experiential perspective. SV. How did you see the people in these three cities engage with the project? MS. We saw a tremendous interest and engagement of people in all the three cities, as well as from the media. Many people attended almost all the events and we could reach out to a larger public. There were many discussions; people came up with their wishes and interests, for example, they asked us to repeat the film screenings, or to show the photo exhibition once again. It seems that the issues raised were of the people’s individual concerns, not foreign, not abstract to them. It made people more interested to look at their city more consciously. SV. ‘The Promised City’ project ends this month. What impact did the project have? How do you want to take the project further? MS. ‘The Promised City’ has given a big impetus for new approaches, points of view and issues that have emerged. The artistic exchange has created lasting networks and contacts that can be used by the individuals involved either in future projects or even outside the institutional framework. The interest thus aroused for the other city will certainly help create and advance other projects and ideas. The project therefore has the potential to be the foundation stone for further developments. In the forthcoming ‘Germany Year’ in India (2011-12), we will continue to look at urban issues and use the experiences made during ‘The Promised City’ project. The sustainability of the project is one of our key concerns.

To read more about project, refer to the article titled ‘The Promised City’.


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LET’S PARTNER In conversation with Sarita Vijayan, Editor and Brand Director, IA&B, Dr. Marla Stukenberg, Director of the Goethe-Institut at the Max Mueller Bhavan, Mumbai talks about ‘The Promised City’ project.

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CURRENT Update on design events, competitions and news.

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PRODUCTS

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Contemporary and innovative products from across the globe.

Urban Conspiracies In discussion with the editorial, Dr. Liza Weinstein elaborates on her research on aspects of building politics and building policies in Mumbai.

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FOCUS: 361°- THE CONFERENCE 2010: DESIGN AND INFORMAL CITIES. Post Event

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Dignifying lives Profiling the life and works of Jockin Arputham, the man whose efforts have changed the way we look at the humblest of our neighbourhoods.

Coverage on the two day conference in Mumbai which investigates the relevance of informality in the urban realm.

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Introduction: Design and Informal Cities

Curry Stone Design Prize

The transcript of the inaugural keynote address by Rahul Mehrotra, Curator, 361 °

The recipients of the Curry Stone Design Prize inspire the next generation of designers to harness their ingenuity and craft for social good.

Conference 2010: Design & Informal Cities.

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COMMENDATIONS

Ideas and Conversations Excerpts from the ideations chronicled at the 361° Conference with various

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PEOPLE CENTRIC PRACTICES

perspectives, multiple fields of work, debates and conversations.

Weaving urbanism... Reviving worlds

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Day 1: 22nd October, 2010 Day 2: 23rd October, 2010

With paradigm shifting interventions by Alejandro Echeverri and Sergio Fajardo , architectural growth of “Medellin” as a city, changes notions in urban scene of the world.

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Comment Design beyond the Planned Realm Spotlight on the informal sector in Architecture and Urban Design.

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Infrastructure as Design Himanshu Parikh brings change in poor neighbourhoods through management of water, induction of environmental sanitation and development of hidden resources.

Ideas on informality Modest Manifestations In discussion with the editorial, Gautam Bhan expresses his views on urban practice, urban preferences and informality.

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Design & Activism In discussion with the editorial, Sheela Patel challenges prevalent attitudes towards the urban poor.

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Chairman: Jasu Shah Printer & Publisher: Maulik Jasubhai Editor & Brand Director: Sarita Vijayan Deputy Editor: Sujatha Mani Senior Writers: Hina Nitesh, Ritu Sharma Writers: Rati Singh, Maanasi Hattangadi, Namrata Roa Visualisers: Mansi Chikani, Nikhita Gadkari Web Designer: Sandeep Sahoo Editorial Co-ordinator: Namita Bandekar Events Co-ordinator: Abhay Dalvi Subscription Co-ordinators: Sunita Lumba (Delhi), Sheetal Kamble Production Team: V Raj Misquitta (Head), Prakash Nerkar, Arun Madye Brand Manager: Sudhanshu Nagar Head Key Accounts: Meha Shrivastava

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Tailor Made Transformation Profiling collaborative efforts of NGOs, Government officers and architects to transform the existing scenario of Yerawada, Pune.

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ART The Promised City Berlin, Warsaw and Mumbai; addressing the cities that are and the cities that were meant to be.

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Interactive Interventions Architect Sanjeev Shankar explores the bridge between art, recycled waste and community participation with the “Jugaad Pavilion”.

ERRATUM In the October 2010 issue, following stories carried a wrong fact file. Indian Architect & Builder regrets the error and any inconvenience caused therein.

TECHNOLOGY A Radical Intervention The fact file for the article has been wrongly placed.

PRODUCT DESIGN The Vertebrate Designer The fact file for the article has been wrongly placed

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26 IA&B - NOV 2010

Name of competition

Nature of competition

Names of jury

Registration deadline

Submission deadline

For more information log on to:

Signature Competitions Truly Sustainable

Competition

Ricardo Legorreta

31st Dec’ 2010

31st Dec’ 2010

www.aecworldxp. com/competition-land

The Indian Habitat

Competition

B.V.Doshi

31st Dec’ 2010

31st Dec’ 2010

www.aecworldxp. com/competition-land

Housing Prototypes

Competition

Christopher Benninger

31 Dec’ 2010

31 Dec’ 2010

www.aecworldxp. com/competition-land

Kinetic Cities

Competition

Rahul Mehrotra

31 Dec’ 2010

31 Dec’ 2010

www.aecworldxp. com/competition-land

Ground Zero

Competition

Sen Kapadia

31 Dec’ 2010

31 Dec’ 2010

www.aecworldxp. com/competition-land

Silent Spaces

Competition

Brinda Somaya

31st Dec’ 2010

31st Dec’ 2010

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Art of Relevance

Competition

Gautam Bhatia

31st Dec’ 2010

31st Dec’ 2010

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Past Perfect…

Competition

Dulal Mukherjee

31 Dec’ 2010

31 Dec’ 2010

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“The Ethos Of India 2010”

Competition

Ranjit Sabikhi

31 Dec’ 2010

31 Dec’ 2010

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The Design Of A Sustainable Habitable Residence In Three Scenarios

Competition

Parul Zaveri and Nimesh Patel

31 Dec’ 2010

31 Dec’ 2010

www.aecworldxp. com/competition-land

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Match the following

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31st Dec’ 2010

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Material wars

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The remote

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SFI 11 SEED Competition Category Type Deadline

COMPETITIONS

Name of competition

: : :

National Open to all January 10, 2011

2011 Mock Firms International Skyscraper Challenge Category : Type : Deadline :

International Students of architecture Registration: January 15, 2011 Submission: April 22, 2011

The first annual ‘Structures For Inclusion’ Competition is launched to showcase and promote design projects that advocate those who have a limited voice in public life, to build structures for inclusion that engage stakeholders and allow communities to make decisions, promote social equality through discourse that reflects a range of values and social identities, generate ideas that grow from place and build local capacity, and design to help conserve resources and minimise waste.

The Mock Firms model aims to help facilitate the formation and func tion of simulated architec tural design firms by collegiate and secondar y school students. The purpose is to challenge them to conceive, coordinate, construc t and even commercialise a skyscraper projec t for Stockholm, Sweden ( c o l l e g i a t e ) a n d f o r Lo s A n g e l e s , C a l i f o r n i a ( h i g h s c h o o l ) which will be interac tively judged by industr y professionals.

For further information, contact: Web: http://www.designcorps.org/sfi

For further information, contact: Web: www.mockfirms.org


current Name of competition

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Name of competition

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Smart revolution

contest

lucky draw

31st Dec’ 2010

31st Dec’ 2010

www.aecworldxp. com/competition-land

Ideal AI

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31st Dec’ 2010

31st Dec’ 2010

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Ideas that clicked

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The white canvas

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Ideas for health living

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Colour Spots

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The hollow sky

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Adobe contest

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Holcim awards

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Skin of glass

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Jumble

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Water experts

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IA&B

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Silver lines of IA &B

contest

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31st Dec’ 2010

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Trimo Urban Crash Category Type Deadline

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International Students of architecture January 31, 2011

This year’s task is designing The Life Stand, a tribune for a specific residential neighbourhood in Ljubljana, Slovenia, using Trimo materials. The winning project will be realised in summer 2011. Participants can also approach the subject of urban renewal with conceptual and experimential projects. Trimo Urban Crash competition awards the best project with its permanent realisation on location while the author also receives a Summer School at the AA School in London, UK.

For further information, contact: Web: www.trimo-urbancrash.com

Challenge vs Competition

Taichung Gateway Park International Competition Category Type Deadline

: : :

International Students and professionals February 25, 2011

Taichung City Government has been actively pursing the planning work for Taichung Gateway City. The goal is to create a visionary, innovative and international urban environment while at the same time establishing close links between Central Taiwan and the rest of the world. Utilising renewable energies and an intelligent park management system, Taichung Gateway Park will play a pivotal role towards a successful overall development of Taichung Gateway City. To this end, an international competition is being held to solicit visionary and innovative planning and landscaping proposals from design firms, home and abroad. For further information, contact: Web: www.TGPark.com.tw


28 IA&B - NOV 2010

Name of competition

Nature of competition

Names of jury

Registration deadline

Submission deadline

For more information log on to:

Signature Competitions Truly Sustainable

Competition

Ricardo Legorreta

31st Dec’ 2010

31st Dec’ 2010

www.aecworldxp. com/competition-land

The Indian Habitat

Competition

B.V.Doshi

31st Dec’ 2010

31st Dec’ 2010

www.aecworldxp. com/competition-land

Housing Prototypes

Competition

Christopher Benninger

31 Dec’ 2010

31 Dec’ 2010

www.aecworldxp. com/competition-land

Kinetic Cities

Competition

Rahul Mehrotra

31 Dec’ 2010

31 Dec’ 2010

www.aecworldxp. com/competition-land

Ground Zero

Competition

Sen Kapadia

31 Dec’ 2010

31 Dec’ 2010

www.aecworldxp. com/competition-land

Silent Spaces

Competition

Brinda Somaya

31st Dec’ 2010

31st Dec’ 2010

www.aecworldxp. com/competition-land

Art of Relevance

Competition

Gautam Bhatia

31st Dec’ 2010

31st Dec’ 2010

www.aecworldxp. com/competition-land

Past Perfect…

Competition

Dulal Mukherjee

31 Dec’ 2010

31 Dec’ 2010

www.aecworldxp. com/competition-land

“The Ethos Of India 2010”

Competition

Ranjit Sabikhi

31 Dec’ 2010

31 Dec’ 2010

www.aecworldxp. com/competition-land

The Design Of A Sustainable Habitable Residence In Three Scenarios

Competition

Parul Zaveri and Nimesh Patel

31 Dec’ 2010

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SFI 11 SEED Competition Category Type Deadline

COMPETITIONS

Name of competition

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National Open to all January 10, 2011

2011 Mock Firms International Skyscraper Challenge Category : Type : Deadline :

International Students of architecture Registration: January 15, 2011 Submission: April 22, 2011

The first annual ‘Structures For Inclusion’ Competition is launched to showcase and promote design projects that advocate those who have a limited voice in public life, to build structures for inclusion that engage stakeholders and allow communities to make decisions, promote social equality through discourse that reflects a range of values and social identities, generate ideas that grow from place and build local capacity, and design to help conserve resources and minimise waste.

The Mock Firms model aims to help facilitate the formation and func tion of simulated architec tural design firms by collegiate and secondar y school students. The purpose is to challenge them to conceive, coordinate, construc t and even commercialise a skyscraper projec t for Stockholm, Sweden ( c o l l e g i a t e ) a n d f o r Lo s A n g e l e s , C a l i f o r n i a ( h i g h s c h o o l ) which will be interac tively judged by industr y professionals.

For further information, contact: Web: http://www.designcorps.org/sfi

For further information, contact: Web: www.mockfirms.org


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Trimo Urban Crash Category Type Deadline

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International Students of architecture January 31, 2011

This year’s task is designing The Life Stand, a tribune for a specific residential neighbourhood in Ljubljana, Slovenia, using Trimo materials. The winning project will be realised in summer 2011. Participants can also approach the subject of urban renewal with conceptual and experimential projects. Trimo Urban Crash competition awards the best project with its permanent realisation on location while the author also receives a Summer School at the AA School in London, UK.

For further information, contact: Web: www.trimo-urbancrash.com

Challenge vs Competition

Taichung Gateway Park International Competition Category Type Deadline

: : :

International Students and professionals February 25, 2011

Taichung City Government has been actively pursing the planning work for Taichung Gateway City. The goal is to create a visionary, innovative and international urban environment while at the same time establishing close links between Central Taiwan and the rest of the world. Utilising renewable energies and an intelligent park management system, Taichung Gateway Park will play a pivotal role towards a successful overall development of Taichung Gateway City. To this end, an international competition is being held to solicit visionary and innovative planning and landscaping proposals from design firms, home and abroad. For further information, contact: Web: www.TGPark.com.tw


30 IA&B - NOV 2010

current events

news

Bhopal2011: Requiem & Revitalisation International Workshop Date : Venue :

January 23 - February 04, 2011 Bhopal, India

School of Planning & Architecture, New Delhi, modern Asian Architecture Network (mAAN), India and The International Committee for Conservation of Industrial Heritage (TICCIH), India will host an international workshop and symposium in Bhopal. Bhopal is known the world over as the city that witnessed the Union Carbide Gas Tragedy in 1984. Through exploring the possible transformation of the site into a place of remembrance and a resource for empowering the local community the participants will also address the broader issue of how heritage sites with a troubled and troubling legacy can contribute to a better understanding of our times. For further information, contact: Web: http://www.bhopal2011.in/

Design Directions Date : Venue :

23 rd December 2010 Regus Business Center, Bandra Kurla Complex, Mumbai

Design Directions: A Journey Exploring 50 Changing Frames of Contemporary Indian Architecture; is a travelling exhibition presented by Legrand and Indian Architect & Builder magazine. The travelling exhibition aims to be a showcase of 50 contemporary architectural practices through a kaleidoscope of 50 project expressions, each representational of the attitude, approach and ideology of the architect who conceived, processed and executed the displayed work. The exhibition was presented at Hyderabad, Chennai, Delhi and Kolkata in the month of October. The exhibition will travel to Mumbai on the 23rd of December 2010 and will be open for viewing from 10 am to 6 pm. For further information, contact: Indian Architect & Builder magazine, Kapil Bhanushali: +91 22 42136411; kapil_b@jasubhai.com

EVENTS & NEWS

International Conference on Healthy Cities Date : Venue :

February 03 - February 05, 2011 Pune, India

The conference ‘Healthy Cities’ will focus p ri m a ri ly o n t h e components of urban living environment s, a n d t h e va ri o u s fac tors responsible for its making. The conf e re n ce w i l l at te m p t to understand the connotation of health a s a p p l i e d to u r b a n environments rather than its occupants. The co n f e re n ce w i l l to look more closely at these Asian cities and t h e i r co n ce rn s w h i l e it will seek and welcome world wide perspe c t i ve s o n t h e m . For further information, contact: Web: http://www.healthycities.in

World’s first $billion home in South Mumbai is complete Mukesh Ambani, India’s richest man has built the world’s first billion-dollar home, a 27-storey monolithic structure. The building, which stands taller than most buildings in the vicinity is visible from a distance in every direction, bears the name of a legendary island in the Atlantic Ocean, ‘the Antilia’. It is designed by Chicago architects, Perkins & Will and is inspired by the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. The 400,000sqft residence rests on a plot of only 4,532sqft. At around 60 storeys in height, the ‘Antilia’ (allegedly named after a mythical island in the Atlantic) only boasts 27 storeys of livable space, the rest retained for attractions and parking for over 160 vehicles. The building resembles a glass and steel Lego stack, interspersed with hanging gardens. The building soars more than 550 feet, and has stunning views that look over Mumbai and the Arabian Sea. Interior design of Antilia was overseen by an American firm and is described as “Asian contemporary”. It has apparently been influenced by vaastu, an Indian tradition close to feng shui. Ambani’s private skyscraper has also been reported to feature a health level with ‘cooling chamber dusted with man-made snow’, three helipads and air traffic control facilities.

Populous Architects win awards for Aviva Stadium Populous, the architects of the London 2012 Olympic Stadium, celebrated a double win at the recent World Architecture Festival Awards in Barcelona. Soccer City stadium, designed by Populous and Boogertman and Partners, won the “World’s Best Sport Building’ award, while the Aviva stadium, designed by Populous and Scott Tallon Walker, won the inaugural ‘ONCE prize for accessible design’ at the prestigious awards. The Aviva Stadium is the first truly site responsive stadium of its kind in the world. Its organic form, mass, materials and aspect are defined by the site and its surrounds. The Stadium has been designed to be accessible for people with mobility difficulties, particularly those in wheelchairs, and for people with impaired sight or impaired hearing.

MAXXI is World Building of the Year This project for a centre for contemporary arts is now officially the best new building in the world. It had previously won the Stirling Prize, the award for the best building by a UK practice. Speaking at the awards ceremony, Paul Finch, Content Director of the World Architecture Festival, said that the judges described the building as ‘a volume that takes its place in a very happy way in the volume of the city. It is a building that will still be talked about in the history of architecture in 50 years time.’ Finch praised the diversity of the buildings that were competiing for the award. ‘We saw a great set of contrasts in architecture, from an individual house that an architect had designed for his mother, to a park in Shanghai, to our winner. It strikes how quickly good ideas move around the world’. Zaha Hadid’s concept for MAXXI was based around a “field of buildings” bridged by a series of interconnecting routes. Organised into five main areas, the museum is lit naturally by a series of skylights, louvres and beams. The WAF judges described the building as being like an “unwound Guggenheim, with ribbons of connective space”.


32 IA&B - NOV 2010

current events

news

Bhopal2011: Requiem & Revitalisation International Workshop Date : Venue :

January 23 - February 04, 2011 Bhopal, India

School of Planning & Architecture, New Delhi, modern Asian Architecture Network (mAAN), India and The International Committee for Conservation of Industrial Heritage (TICCIH), India will host an international workshop and symposium in Bhopal. Bhopal is known the world over as the city that witnessed the Union Carbide Gas Tragedy in 1984. Through exploring the possible transformation of the site into a place of remembrance and a resource for empowering the local community the participants will also address the broader issue of how heritage sites with a troubled and troubling legacy can contribute to a better understanding of our times. The workshop will explore three main themes- Challenges in Recognising Contemporary Sites with Conflicting Past as Heritage, Challenges in Interpreting and Rehabilitating Sites with Contemporary and Conflicting Heritage, and Challenges in Harnessing Sites with Contemporary and Conflicting Heritage for Society Building. For further information, contact: Web: http://www.bhopal2011.in/

Interior Design Show Date : Venue :

January 27 - January 30, 2011 Toronto, Canada

In its 13th year, the INTERIOR DESIGN SHOW/IDS11 presented by RADO, is Canada’s largest contemporary design event. The newest and most innovative in international and Canadian products are annually presented by 300 exhibitors. Legendary design stars and fresh talent are set to share their ideas through never before seen exhibits and inspiring talks. IDS11 is the epicenter of the 2nd annual citywide festival of design, TORONTO INTERNATIONAL DESIGN FESTIVAL/TIDF. This week-long festival celebrates Toronto as a major design destination. For further information, contact: Web: www.interiordesignshow.com

EVENTS & NEWS

International Conference on Healthy Cities Date : Venue :

February 03 - February 05, 2011 Pune, India

The conference ‘Healthy Cities’ will focus p ri m a ri ly o n t h e components of urban living environment s, a n d t h e va ri o u s fac tors responsible for its making. The conf e re n ce w i l l at te m p t to understand the connotation of health a s a p p l i e d to u r b a n environments rather than its occupants. The co n f e re n ce w i l l to look more closely at these Asian cities and t h e i r co n ce rn s w h i l e it will seek and welcome world wide perspe c t i ve s o n t h e m . For further information, contact: Web: http://www.healthycities.in

World’s first $billion home in South Mumbai is complete Mukesh Ambani, India’s richest man has built the world’s first billion-dollar home, a 27-storey monolithic structure. The building, which stands taller than most buildings in the vicinity is visible from a distance in every direction, bears the name of a legendary island in the Atlantic Ocean, ‘the Antilia’. It is designed by Chicago architects, Perkins & Will and is inspired by the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. The 400,000sqft residence rests on a plot of only 4,532sqft. At around 60 storeys in height, the ‘Antilia’ (allegedly named after a mythical island in the Atlantic) only boasts 27 storeys of livable space, the rest retained for attractions and parking for over 160 vehicles. The building resembles a glass and steel Lego stack, interspersed with hanging gardens. The building soars more than 550 feet, and has stunning views that look over Mumbai and the Arabian Sea. Interior design of Antilia was overseen by an American firm and is described as “Asian contemporary”. It has apparently been influenced by vaastu, an Indian tradition close to feng shui. Ambani’s private skyscraper has also been reported to feature a health level with ‘cooling chamber dusted with man-made snow’, three helipads and air traffic control facilities.

Populous Architects win awards for Aviva Stadium Populous, the architects of the London 2012 Olympic Stadium, celebrated a double win at the recent World Architecture Festival Awards in Barcelona. Soccer City stadium, designed by Populous and Boogertman and Partners, won the “World’s Best Sport Building’ award, while the Aviva stadium, designed by Populous and Scott Tallon Walker, won the inaugural ‘ONCE prize for accessible design’ at the prestigious awards. The Aviva Stadium is the first truly site responsive stadium of its kind in the world. Its organic form, mass, materials and aspect are defined by the site and its surrounds. The Stadium has been designed to be accessible for people with mobility difficulties, particularly those in wheelchairs, and for people with impaired sight or impaired hearing.

MAXXI is World Building of the Year This project for a centre for contemporary arts is now officially the best new building in the world. It had previously won the Stirling Prize, the award for the best building by a UK practice. Speaking at the awards ceremony, Paul Finch, Content Director of the World Architecture Festival, said that the judges described the building as ‘a volume that takes its place in a very happy way in the volume of the city. It is a building that will still be talked about in the history of architecture in 50 years time.’ Finch praised the diversity of the buildings that were competiing for the award. ‘We saw a great set of contrasts in architecture, from an individual house that an architect had designed for his mother, to a park in Shanghai, to our winner. It strikes how quickly good ideas move around the world’. Zaha Hadid’s concept for MAXXI was based around a “field of buildings” bridged by a series of interconnecting routes. Organised into five main areas, the museum is lit naturally by a series of skylights, louvres and beams. The WAF judges described the building as being like an “unwound Guggenheim, with ribbons of connective space”.


32 IA&B - NOV 2010

products Chandelier from Eurolite Eurolite Studio, one of the leading luxury lighting studios has introduced its special range of Diadema Chandelier that dares to be different. The special fixture is made of blown glass tubes. The tubes are beautifully transparent. One of the most interesting aspects of Eurolite’s Diadema Chandelier is that each of the tubes used in the lamp are different from each other. The new offering comes in various patterns—from the neat and compact to the long and dramatic. The chandelier comes in all crystal, all topaz and in a combination of crystal and topaz colours to suit the home décor theme. It also allows in customising the look of the lighting to express the unique taste.

Contact: Eurolite Studios F-5, East of Kailash, Near Apollo Hospital Pillar no.: 85, New Delhi

NLC Lamp

LIGHTING

NLC is an LED pendant light designed for the German company, Next by Constantin Wortmann. At a first glance, NLC is striking and yet strangely puzzling. Its special appeal lies in the apparent conflict between the chaotic and the organic. It changes its shape with every new vantage point of the viewer. Both LED and ESL lamps can be used in its E14 fittings.

Contact: Constantin Wortmann Birkenallee 15b, D-82049 Pullach, Germany Tel: +49 (0)89 510856943


34 IA&B - NOV 2010

products White wood flooring Symphony offers white wood flooring in several different sizes, finishes, surface textures & hues of white like bleached, lime washed, light grey, blanched etc. Made from wood species like oak, ash & maple which are naturally lighter in colour, these flooring add grace and grandeur to any interior and provide the users utmost level of comfort. Price for real hardwood flooring starts from `400 per sqft. Symphony offers up to 25 years guarantee on its range of wood flooring. With careful selection of furnishings and artwork, one can see whitewood floorings replacing conventional flooring styles.

Contact: Symphony Krishna House, Gr. Floor Raghuvanshi Mill Compound Lower Parel, Mumbai Tel: 022 24934333 / 9820100600

Acoustic ceilings Everest Acoustic Ceilings offer a number of advantages over the conventional false ceilings or other similar products. For one, they are made using high quality mineral wool and composite fibres with superior acoustic performance and improved resistance to humidity. Also, the tiles are acrylic coated to offer outstanding light reflectance and are complemented with a variety of grids for a complete acoustic experience that brighten up the interiors.

S U R FA C E S

They are excellent for heat insulation and resistance against fire. One of the unique features it offers is resistance to sagging/deformation even under higher moisture exposure. Usually during monsoon or due to faulty installation, acoustic ceilings start sagging after sometime. This, apart from looking out of place , also leaks out insulation–thus defeating the basic purpose of putting up a false ceiling . Everest’s Acoustic Ceilings do not sag , are very lightweight and install quickly. Everest Acoustic Ceilings can be used in a number of spaces like sound recording studios, conference rooms, lobbies, work bays, departmental stores, auditoriums, etc. It also makes sense ecologically as these ceilings contain zero asbestos content.

Contact: Everest Industries Limited Genesis, A-32, Mohan Co-operative Industrial Estate Mathura Road, New Delhi - 110 044 Tel: + 91 11 41731951 / 52 Web: www.everestind.com • Email: info@everestind.com


36 IA&B - NOV 2010

products FOSSA Modular Couch FOSSA is for people who value flexibility and to whom good seating is paramount. FOSSA functions according to the principle of change: cushion elements find a place in recesses–they are inserted, moved or removed. In doing so, another new piece of furniture is created–for relaxing, reading, listening to music, alone, in a twosome, in a threesome.

Contact: Aurélien Barbry Design Studio Skabelonloftet, Refshalevej 171 A DK-1432 Copenhagen K, Denmark Tel: +49.(0)5242.4102-0

Tension Tables This project started by the concept of cutting a table in two in order to make it stretchable and to enable people to create ever-evolving typologies. By being able to slide two similar tables, one along side the other the table can be made longer in order to accommodate for extra guests sitting around a couch.

FURNITURE

The resulting tables can then be arranged in an unlimited number of ways according to people’s creativity. The combination of several tables of different colours generates a strong graphic presence and ever evolving shapes. The “faceted” sides create multiple shades of the same colour thanks to the contrasts brought about by the light, thus making the piece visually richer. They are made in metal and painted.

Contact: ALAIN GILLES / THE STUDIO www.alaingilles.com rue des ailes, 80, b - 1030 Brussels, Belgium Email: info@alaingilles.com Tel: +32 497 41 50 89


38 IA&B - NOV 2010

products Flip The origin of Flip comes from a simple situation : a board and two trestles. This type of improvised writing table has a very clear characterisation and a simple principle with no particular mechanism. In no case, this double functionality makes this a hybrid object. Flip is particulary suitable for small apartments, where it is important to save space, and also for places where an improvised working surface could be necessary.

Contact: Adrien Rovero Studio Chemin des Roses 11, CH-1020 Renens, Switzerland Tel:+ 41 (0) 21 634 34 35 Fax:+ 41 (0) 21 634 34 35

I N N O VAT I O N

Fingerprint Lock Zicom Electronic Security Systems’ Fingerprint Lock is one of the most reliable security devices to have hit the domestic shores in recent times. This novel security device is one amongst four other innovative security products launched as a part of the Zicom ‘Safe Homes’ product range. Suave in its appearance, the Fingerprint Lock from Zicom is a stylised, keyless door that makes for a high-utility lock eliminating all possibilities of key duplication. Besides its “uber-cool” appeal, the Fingerprint Lock is the perfect solution for saving one from the inconvenience of losing the door-keys or diving into one’s handbag in a quest for them. Creating a unique passage mode for meetings or gatherings, this system enables the security of a house to be literally at the owner’s finger tips. Armed with an Optical Fingerprint Sensor (500 dpi), the device is equipped with an accommodating memory of 120 fingerprints as well as 120 Mifare Cards. In addition to the three unlocking modes that include Fingerprint, Mifare cards and a Password, there is also a Mechanical Key override provision in case of emergency.

Contact: Zicom Electronics Security System Ltd. 501, 5 th Floor, Silver, Metropolis, Goregaon (E), Mumbai - 400063 Tel: +91 22 42904290


32 IA&B -DEC 2010

products Bend Desk The ‘Bend Desk’ is a prototype multi-touch desk environment with an interactive display that seamlessly combines the vertical and the horizontal work surface in one large interactive workspace. This workspace can be used to display any digital content like documents, photos, or videos. Multi-touch technology allows the user to interact with the entire surface using direct manipulation and multi-touch gestures. The ‘Bend Desk’ is the future of workspace conceived by the Media Computing Group at the RWTH Aachen University, Germany.

Design Team Malte Weiss, Simon Voelker, Christine Sutter and Jan Borchers; Germany. Contact: RWTH Aachen University, Media computing Group, 2056 Aachen, Germany fweiss / voelker / borchersg@cs.rwth-aachen.de christine.sutter@psych.rwth-aachen.de

Rubber Stool

INNOVATION

Japanese design studio ‘h220430’ have designed a lightweight collapsible stool by moulding recycled rubber. The designers Satoshi Itasaka and Takuto Usami exploit the inherent elasticity of the material to produce a design object that seems comfortable, looks elegant and is versatile in use. The framework of this stool is simple. Just by bending one piece of rubber plate and holding legs with bolts, the stool can be assembled from a cut plane.

Designers Satoshi Itasaka and Takuto Usami; Japan. Contact: NCA-GINZA E 601 3-1-3, Minato Chuo-Ku, Tokyo, 104-0043,Japan info@h220430.jp


34 IA&B - DEC 2010

products Manifold Clock Designed by Israeli design studio ‘Studio Ve’, the ‘Manifold Clock’ is a continually changing dynamic object wherein, at any moment, different position is adapted by the hands showing different parts of the ‘Tyvek’ – a brilliant weave by Du Pont. Creating three dimensional movements over the course of the hour or the day, the time is still read traditionally by locating the positions of the hands but can be interpreted from the colors, shapes and forms of the fabric.

Designers Shay Carmon and Ben Klinger; Israel. Contact: 102 Ehad Ha’am St. Tel Aviv-Yafo, 65207, Israel , info@studiove.com

Dustball

TECHNOLOGY

‘Dustball’ is a robot vacuum cleaner designed for public spaces. With this space-age creation, designer Dave Hakkens changes the way we look at those hosed things with rollers that we all call the conventional vaccum cleaners. Dustball on the other hand can just be rolled around, pushed or kicked in a direction to clean. Inspired by the hamster, the designer came up with this idea of kicking around the object that is strong and durable. This hamster comes with a charger.

Designer Dave Hakkens; The Netherlands Contact: Dave Hakkens, Tonge lresestraat 411a5641 AV Eindhoven, The Netherlands +31 (0)612833188 www.davehakkens.nl


36 IA&B -DEC 2010

products

Art Borders Zaha Hadid has designed a range of wallpapers for Swiss concept wall producer ‘Marburg’. These digital prints titled ‘Art Borders’ seemingly multiply, compress and energise the rooms rendering the walls illusory and fluid. The dynamic lines, expressive organic shapes, glossy and matt textures and shimmering metallic effects produce depth and interplay dematerialising the walls into endless canvases. The wall papers are iconic graphic designs by an architect par excellence.

GRAPHIC

Designer Zaha Hadid; UK

Manufacturer Marburg Wallcovering; Germany. Contact www.marburg.com


38 IA&B - DEC 2010

products Air Vase Tokyo based Torafu Architects have designed a versatile bowl from paper. The ‘Air Vase’ that emerges from a plane and envelops the air takes multiple forms depending on the requirement and inquisitiveness of the user. The freely changing form of the product enables one to bring it to multiple and inventive uses. The thin and lightweight paper from which it is made, gives strength and resistance to the bowl. Colors on each side of the paper create different impressions depending on the various angles from which you look at it. Designers Torafu Architects; Japan. Contact TORAFU ARCHITECTS Inc. 1-9-2-2F,Koyama, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo,142-0062, JAPAN torafu@torafu.com

Fluid Vase

FORM

Creating dynamic forms by simulating a splash, Fung Kwok Pan designs a series of vases as freeze frames when an action metamorphoses into an object. The pouring of water into a vase becomes the vase itself. Each vase can be customised by a cutting edge 3D printing device. Users can control this chaotic process of design by adjusting speed and volume of the virtual liquid creating a unique and oneoff edition for themselves. The design is then produced through 3D printing technology.

Designer Fung Kwok Pan; Singapore. Contact fungkwokpan@gmail.com


40 IA&B - DEC 2010

products Lily Lamp Lily develops from the study of the transparency of fabric and the way light filters across it. It plays with the different densities of the fabric according to its stretch. A pipe of elastic fabric wraps the structure, first in the interior zone and then in the exterior forming a double covering that creates the transparency game. As a big flower in the interior space, the lamp allows the light source to dispense a curious effect of light. Designers

Clara del Portillo, Alex Setma; Spain

Contact Yonoh Creative Studio, Juan Llorens, 10 pta 15, 46008 Valencia Spain Phone/Fax +34 96 323 11 93 / Cel. +34 650 603 071 skype. yonoh-clara / www.yonoh.es

Oddbod

OBJECT

The ‘Oddbod’ Chair has been selected together with ChromoSoma Lamp at Spanish Design Awards INJUVE 2010. This design plays at the boundary between an inert object such as a chair and a form thet gives life to this object with shapes that remind us of extraterrestrial bodies. The formal inspiration is from the weird sci-fi movies and the midtwentieth century design and retrofuturistic organic design tendencies. The body of the chair is made in rotomoulded PE and the legs are made of pine.

Designer Javier Alejandre; Spain Contact Email: info@javieralejandre.com


DEGRE E OF D

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ERE IFF N

THE CONFERENCE 2010 D e s i g n

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The speakers which included eminent architects, academicians, activists and urban practitioners presented their work and ideas on informality.

THE CONFERENCE 2010

DESIGN & INFORMAL CITIES T

he 361° Conference this year aimed to capture practices in the informal realm with the “one-degree of difference”. The objective was to create a multi-directional showcase of ideas and innovations that have and had a significant impact on the habitat around us. Each speaker, be it an architect, an engineer, a planner, a policy maker, an activist or a thinker was an icon in his own. The Conference, in its wake, created a forum for the exchange of ideas and discussions on prevalent issues on the architectural forefront. As we all know, the questions summarising the informal city and the gambit of issues they present for the cities in India are immense. It has become rather critical for us to go beyond building a case for the Informal City, their contribution to the economy, social life as well as the vigour of the city. Our intention for the 361° Conference 2010 was to veer the debate on questions of physical form and explore the possibilities of alternate spatial imagination to integrate, in physical form (urban form and typology), the Informal City in imagination, perception and sensibilities of planning.

The 361° Conference 2010: Design & Informal Cities, organised jointly by the Indian Architect & Builder magazine and Citizens’ Groups that are actively involved with issues concerning informal settlements in Mumbai, provided a platform

David Mohney and David Satterthwaite at the conference venue.

OF Sarita Vijayan, Editor and Brand Director, Indian Architect & Builder magazine opened the conference with a welcome note.

Delegates in the Conference participating in the debate.


post event for exchange of ideas concerning the informal sector. The two day Conference at Rangsharda in Mumbai featured lectures by 23 renowned architects, urban planners and urban practitioners with one degree of difference concerning the problems and possible solutions of informality in our cities. The lectures were segregated under six segments each moderated by an established practitioner or academician. Each segment was followed by a panel discussion and interaction with the delegates. Towards the end of the first day of the Conference, the speakers and the delegates went for the ‘Dharavi Walk’ for a first hand engagement with the informal sector. The Conference was attended by architects, urban practitioners and activists was received with good enthusiasm. The Conference was followed by the ESSAR

The panellists, (from left to right) Alfredo Brillembourg, Peter Head and Aromar Revi, responding to the questions from the delegates in a Panel Discussion.

Rahul Mehrotra, Executive Director of the Urban Design Research Institute and the curator of the Conference gave an introductory lecture on his understanding of ‘Informality’.

The delegates raising questions and debates in the ‘open mike’ discussion.

Yatin Pandya, Alfredo Brellimbourg and Sanjeev Joshi sharing a light moment.

Dance, performed by children from the informal settlements, was choreographed by Expressions Modern Dance Company.

The delegates embark on the ‘Dharavi Walk’.

Steel Masterstrokes Lecture by Master Architect and The Pritzker Laureate Richard Meier. The projects and ideas profiled in and beyond this Conference are published in this issue of the Indian Architect & Builder magazine.


54 IA&B - NOV 2010

Design

&

Informal Cities

Creatively engaging culture, history, economics and politics, Rahul Mehrotra, Curator of the Conference, presents the key note address, bringing into focus, the issues of informal cities. Transcribed by: Sidharth Gupta Photographs: courtesy the speaker

Rahul Mehrotra is an Indian architect and urban designer who has studied at the School of Architecture, Ahmedabad, and the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University. He has been in private practice since 1990. Professor Mehrotra is an Executive Director of the Urban Design Research Institute, Mumbai which promotes awareness and research on the city of Mumbai. He has also written several books on Mumbai, including “Bombay, the Cities Within” and has lectured extensively on urban design, conservation and architecture in India. After teaching at MIT since 2007, he has recently been appointed Professor and Chairman of Urban Design and Planning Department at Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Kinetic City:

“M

umbai is accommodating various forms of informal cities. It can no longer be understood as a dichotomy between the formal city and the informal city. The informal city is here described as “Kinetic Cities” and are a response to the formal city in a legally implied formal

Informality on the edge of a railway track.


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introduction system. The binary perception of Mumbai as a formal city against the informal city has grown stronger over a period of time. Definition of the urban middle class has changed; the middle class used to live and work in the formal sector while the poor, lived and worked in the informal sector. This is no longer true, especially in Mumbai where the formal economy has grown rapidly in recent decades; informal residents are often employed in the formal sector and vice versa,” said Rahul in his introductory address. Rahul described the ground realities of Indian urban scenario as employed in the formal sector but residing in informal. His concerns on conditions of density and democracy and problems pertaining to Indian urbanism were quite evident. In the quest of knowing how these informal cities have come to existence, Rahul mentioned five phases of urbanism i.e. denial, eradication, tolerance, improvement and anticipation. He added ,“Currently, urbanism in Mumbai is going through the first four phases simultaneously. The urban landscape of Mumbai is evolving rapidly.” Rahul stressed on the patterns of occupation that determine the forms and perception of the cities and elaborated on how the cities are shaping and growing and will grow in the coming decades. Supplementing his view with data, he added that, “Informality is an indigenous form of urbanism which is always misinterpreted as a city of the poor. It is an everexpanding temporal articulation of space suggesting new ways and new

Urban sprawl in a dense urban setting.

The ‘Kinetic’ Indian bazaar.


56 limits that are ever-growing. In Mumbai, residents enjoy a mere 0.12sqm of open space per person, compared to 16sqm in Delhi.” With reference to the context, Rahul presented the two examples from the urban setting of Mumbai which depicted how public open spaces in the Mumbai act as multifunctional spaces. Example 1: In a ‘maidan’( an open space), on the bay at the tip of the Mumbai peninsula, the morning begins with cricketers occupying the whole field. In the evening, the same ‘maidan’ becomes the venue for a traditional Indian wedding. And by the next morning, everything about wedding(tents, stage etc.) disappears; the cricketers resume.

The ‘maidan’ in the morning.

Example2: The Town Hall, one of the city’s few neoclassical buildings, comprises of a wide doric portico approached by thirty broad steps. The Governor of Maharashtra ascends this staircase every Independence Day to address the hall. To protect his procession from monsoon rains, a legion of workers wrap the whole staircase and portico in scaffold, tarpaulin and coir rope. Mumbai is facing acute shortage of public spaces which is badly affecting the quality of life in the city. These two examples are not simply about how temporal spectacles clash with our preconceptions of green space and architecture but also about how hundreds of ‘Mumbaikars’ are employed in transforming each space and catering for individual events. Across

The ‘maidan’ in the evening.

the city, thousands more are employed by the formal sector in similar transformative acts that allow residents to coexist in dense conditions.

Open space out side town hall on a normal day.

Kinetic Cities and bazaar like forms can be seen as symbolic images of an emerging urban Indian condition. The processions, weddings, hawkers and slum dwellers, create an ever-changing landscape and a streetscape in constant motion. Physical fabric is characterised by this kind of a quality. On the other hand, formal city depends on architecture. In the context of informal cities, architecture does not even comprise a single frame of the city-festivals like Holi, Dussera, Diwali, Muhurrum, Tazia, Durga Pooja, etc. which emerge as new spectacles of Kinetic City and the manner in which the popularity of these festivals has grown and their presence on Indian urban landscape dominating Indian culture, the way they redefine the public spaces is phenomenal in itself. Leaders in Mumbai are drawing inspiration from as Shanghai, Dubai, Singapore and Hong Kong, where the city is represented by architectural ‘objects’. Rather, leaders should appreciate how streets and spaces are used from hour to hour, day to day and throughout the year, and understand how both the rich and poor of Mumbai adapt their living patterns to the density of the city. The Kinetic City is about activity, not architecture.

Open space outside town hall transformed during Independence day.

When its leaders look upon its dense streets, they should not see crowding and poverty that they wish to eradicate. They should be seeing social and commercial interaction, patterns of socio-economic behaviour that must be allowed to develop. They should understand that the rich interactions


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Evolution of residential squatter.

Per capita available open green space with respect to city.

The elastic urban open space during a cultural possession.

that take place on the cit y ’s streets are all enterprising ac tivities and economic oppor tunities being created and developed by the cit y ’s residents.

Evolution of informal commercial kiosk.

Rather than seeking to remove these patterns, they should work out a method to design the city’s streets and spaces and a strategy to plan new areas, such that these patterns of activity can thrive in greater comfort for all residents, rich and poor. In this way, the bazaar city can become the commercial city, in action and not simply in image.


58 IA&B - NOV 2010

T

he first day of the 361° CONFERENCE 2010: DESIGN & INFORMAL CITIES started with a presentation on the products and services of United Technologies by Sameer Joshi - Director Sales and Marketing OTIS India. Sameer briefed audiences about the company history, innovative products that company is manufacturing and its future polices. The presentation was followed by a short movie on company’s achievements.

Sameer Joshi, Director, ales and Marketing, OTIS India presents the innovative products and services of the compnay.

The United Technologies presentation was followed by welcome note and introduction to Design and Informal Cities by Sarita Vijayan, Editor & Brand Director, Indian Architect & Builder magazine. Sarita introduced the audiences to the panel briefs and activities planned during the 2 days of the conference and concluded by introducing Rahul Mehrotra - Executive Director of the UDRI and the Curator of the 361° Conference 2010: Design & Informal Cities. The first session on Day 1, 22 nd October 2010 of the 361° CONFERENCE 2010: DESIGN & INFORMAL CITIES was moderated by Gautam Chatterjee, Vice President, MHADA. The session contained lectures by Rahul Mehrotra, Founder Director, RMA; Sheela Patel, Founder SPARC and Pankaj Joshi , Executive Director of UDRI. The session was followed by a Panel Discussion.

Gautam Chatterjee moderating panel discussion.

Pankaj Joshi

The Current State of Mumbai Pankaj Joshi is Executive Director, UDRI is a practicing conservation architect ,a visiting professor at the Academy of Architecture and Rizvi College of Architecture, Mumbai and consultant to the Heritage Conservation Society of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA). The joint convener of the Mumbai Study Group, an interdisciplinary forum, at the Academy of Architecture, Mumbai and a member trustee of SAVE forum, an environment action group in North Mumbai.

“Mumbai is statically an informal city”

Day 1-Excerpts from the lectures: Sidharth Gupta Photographs: courtesy IA&B and the speakers To view the 361˚Conference lectures, log on to www.aecworldxp.com

Mumbai- An informal city n Mumbai, there are informal settlements concentrated all around the edges of railway tracks, airport, water front, on footpaths, wastelands, hills and inertial areas. Some statistics about informal settlements in Mumbai are as follows:

“I

walls and reinforced cement roofs with other temporary materials and 25 per cent have predominantly semi-permanent structures (brick walls and tin or asbestos cement sheet roof).

73.6 per cent of employment in the island wards, which contained only 21.1 per cent of slum population. The suburbs housed 83 per cent of the slum population. On hill slopes, 60 per cent have a mix of permanent building materials like brick

Higher housing consolidation is also visible from the fact that almost 45 per cent of houses have two or more storeys. In enclosed spaces, it is quite interesting to see how small dwelling units of 150-200sqft are serving as


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design & informal cities

Informal state of informal cities.

multifunctional space, leaving architects with immense design challenges. 42 per cent dwellings have an area less than 10sqm, 38 per cent have an area between 15 to 20sqm and 9 per cent have an area more than 20sqm. In these informal settlements, 49 per cent of slums have access to water supply from shared standpipes, 38.3 per cent have supply from more than one source. Remaining slums get their water from tube wells or community standpipes, 5 per cent of slums have individual taps, 17 settlements with approximately. 0.1 million inhabitants (0.87 per cent of the total) have no water supply and have to depend on adjoining settlements. Sanitation is a major issue with 72 per cent of slums depending on community toilets provided by the government, 26 per cent defecating in the open and 1 per cent having to pay to use toilets managed by NGOs. 1 per cent of slum dwellers have an access to individual toilets. There are many houses which function as a work place in the day time and in the evening, as a residence. Home-based economic activity is common as a secondary source of income, which can range from vegetable shops to illicit liquor shops. Literacy is a major issue in these pockets. Literacy rate is around 60 per cent (lower than the city average), recreational spaces are perceived as hub for gambling on board games and the most interesting scenario of this informal city is that it’s a reversal of the formal city. A recycled city where all the services of the formal city are concentrated. One more significant aspect of the informal sector of Mumbai is the fact that its carbon foot print is much less than the formal city.

Government’s solution to informality.

The current policies of government about the development of these informal pockets are quite disappointing in terms of issues related to the design of these government schemes which provide open space of 0.2sqm per person which is very less when compared to rest of Mumbai’s open space at an average of 1.77sqm per person. Solutions provided by the government are limited to just shifting these people from the slums into high rise buildings. In the past two decades, the role of state government has changed from working towards the development of informal settlements to encouraging private developers by giving subsidies and other amenities for development. “


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Sheela Patel

Design Challenges for Urban Poor

“Slums cannot be hidden nor be eradicated from Mumbai for the coming few decades”

Sheela Patel leads the Society for the Promotion of Area Resource Centres (SPARC), an Indian civil society organisation that aims to improve the living conditions and promote the rights of millions of urban slum dwellers and homeless people. She is also Chairman of Shack/Slum Dwellers International (SDI), a confederation of slum dweller organisations from over 20 countries in the global south. SDI and its members help move urban policy away from reactive interventions toward long-term solutions, with the urban poor – particularly women – playing a key role in this process. They engage communities, government at many levels, other civil society groups, the private sector, academia and international institutions in this work.

Designing what matters

“S

lums are an important characteristic of the city. They cannot be hidden nor be separated from the city. Slums cannot be eradicated for few more decades. More and more poor people migrate from small towns to big cities in search of better job opportunities and for a better future. This is a characteristic we see in every Indian city. It forms one vital challenge that mayors today need to face. Each city is now acknowledged as an engine of growth. They are the gateways to the country, as we all aspire to be part of this new global world which seems to move markets and money in a blink of an eye. Cities today have to manage all aspects of their citizens’ lives, the business of national governments are now being devolved to the mayors and city managers. What we see is a huge challenge in which we have increasingly democratised our nations so that the poor are part of the political process, they vote for their politicians and mayors, but in civic services they are excluded. In most cases, cities would like to see them disappear. How are we going to address the divide that we all see presently in cities of the south… the formal city and the Informal city. If we cannot address it today, demographic changes projected tell us that our cities will have more people coming in from rural areas in the next twenty years than we have ever witnessed before. SPARC, an NGO, began its work in 1984 community federations of the urban poor, known as the National Slum Dwellers Federation which works in India to assist communities defend their rights to stay in cities and together.

Community participation in design process.

They facilitate their dialogue with municipalities and state and national governments. In 1996, they set up Shack/Slum Dwellers International in eight countries to work with these issues at a transnational level, to explore working with the organised poor to transform cities, because the poor are here to stay. SPARC has been responsible for the construction of housing for over 8,500 families and construction of more than 500,000 community toilets. Currently, SPARC has programmes in 70 cities throughout India. It works in partnership with local grassroots groups, government agencies, and other actors to build support for housing and micro credit programmes for pavement dwellers living in shacks alongside roads, support-related research and implementation of relevant policy initiatives. The results are


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action and policy partnerships that are changing the way society meets the needs of the urban poor. We all are familiar with the concept of participation, but these federations are a live example of how that functions. The real challenge is how the mayors and city managers, provincial governments, national governments and international assistance view these processes. The huge human resource that is available at a city level is neither understood nor utilised by most of the cities, countries and development agencies. Dharavi in Mumbai, often said to be one of Asia’s largest slums, is to be redeveloped once more. This is the third time that the state government

of Maharashtra has sought to redevelop Dharavi. The proposal is being developed by the design cell of KRVA College for Dharavi Redevelopment Plan. The city government, the state government of Maharashtra and the developers have an opportunity to show how city redevelopment should take place in collaboration with the inhabitants and their representative organisations. They can produce new strategies for creating redevelopment plans and implementation schedules together. The collective challenge is to produce a framework that recognises the aspirations and entitlements of the wide spectrum of work and residential arrangements that currently exist in Dharavi and to create a process for its formalisation that enhances this for the neighbourhood and the city.”

The second session on Day 1, 22 nd October 2010 of the 361° CONFERENCE 2010: DESIGN & INFORMAL CITIES was moderated by Sundar Burra, Advisor to SPARC. With lectures by Liza Weinstein, Assistant Professor of Sociology, University of Chicago; Gautam Bhan, writer and researcher on urban systems and Nithya Raman, Project Lead, Transparent Chennai . The session was followed by a Panel Discussion.

Dr. Liza Weinstein

The Impulsive Informal Face of Mumbai

“Slum proliferation is rooted in paternalistic goondagiri”

An Assistant Professor of Sociology, Dr. Liza Weinstein recently received her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago specialising in the study of urban communities and globalisation. Dr. Weinstein is the author of several articles and book chapters on the social and political conflicts that often accompany urban planning within developing societies. Her most recent project rests on many months of ethnographic research in the slums of Mumbai, India that has led to such publications as Mumbai’s Development Mafias: Organised Crime, Land Development and Globalisation and The Changing Right to the City: Urban Renewal and Housing Rights in Globalising Shanghai and Mumbai (with Xuefei Ren) and City & Community (September 2009).

Mumbai’s Development Mafias

“O

ver a period, researchers have dealt with and analysed the effects of liberalisation and globalisation on urban development, considering the local political implications of shifts at the national and global scales. In case of Mumbai, the past fifteen years of political reforms in India have reshaped property markets and the politics of land development. This analysis addressed a void in the research on

the governance practices that both emerge from and contribute to global urban restructuring. Although recent research on urban property relations has made significant contributions to understanding the political processes that shape land markets, it has tended to limit its focus to the role of institutional actors and local elites, neglecting the influence of informal, or illicit, governance practices.


62 Among the newly empowered actors, local criminal syndicates, often with global connections, have seized political opportunities created by these shifts to gain influence over land development. Due to the rapid pace of development its interesting to see, the impact of slum clearance scheme on the urban landscape of the Mumbai and development on the common man. In the decade between 1971 and 1981, the Mumbai’s population grew by 2.27 million people within which the increase of the population residing in slums was 2.25 million. Recognising an opportunity, enterprising slumlords divided unused public and privately owned land and sold or rented out plots to new migrants. This encouraged the criminal activities around the city. The implication of D-Company, Chhota Rajan, Arun Gawali and Amar Naik etc. are some of the prime examples of the rise of Mumbai’s organised criminal activity. In 1950s was closely linked to India’s macroeconomic policies, with strict regulation of imports fuelling the growth of black market smuggling. Liberalisation and deregulation since the early 1990s have diminished demand for smuggled consumer goods and criminal syndicates have since diversified their operations. With skyrocketing real

Public demonstrations supporting reclamation.

estate prices in the 1990s, bolstered by global land speculation, the mafia began investing in property development. Supported by an illicit nexus of politicians, bureaucrats and the police, the mafia has emerged as a central figure in Mumbai’s land development politics.”

Gautam Bhan

Anxious Urbanism… Gautam Bhan is an urban writer and researcher based in New Delhi. He is the co-author of Swept off the Map: Surviving Eviction and Resettlement in Delhi (Yoda Press, 2006). His work looks at the changing politics of poverty in Indian cities. He is currently based at the Indian Institute for Human Settlements and is Doctoral Candidate at the University of California, Berkeley.

“The ‘slum’ that you call a slum, is an act of policy” In the Public’s Interest: Evictions and Urban Citizenship in Millenial Delhi

“A

pproach towards the design of informal cities is constantly changing. There are many socio-political issues governing the development of this segment of urban fabric. Patronage polities, vote bank politics and the power of recognition of vote has sunk in the poor and they recognise their power and national citizenship. People come to cities, they form community and a settlement appears in the urban frame of the city and messy politics comes into the picture.

In early 2004, an estimated 35,000 households colloquially called ‘Pushta’— on the banks of Delhi’s river Yamuna were destroyed in what was the first in a series of evictions. During the period between 1990-2003, official statistics say that 51,461 households were evicted and resettled in Delhi. Yet during 2003-2007 - a third of the time – 45,000 households were evicted, with less than 25 per cent receiving any resettlement or


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“Pushta” before the eviction.

compensation. These evictions are different not just in degree or intensity but also in kind. They were not initiated by the city’s planning agency, its municipal bodies or by the city or central government. Each was the result of a verdict in an innovative judicial mechanism created, ironically, to protect the poor: the Public Interest Litigation (PIL). Informal cities have always been misconceived as slums; 76 per cent of population of Delhi residing in the informal city violates atleast three regulations of the Delhi Masterplan. In developed countries, when process of urbanisation occurs firstly, the Masterplan is conceived, then the services are laid, then buildings are built and lastly, occupation happens. But in the Indian urban scenario, the exact reverse procedure is observed wherein firstly, the

“Pushta” after the eviction.

land is occupied, secondly, the building is built and then the services are laid followed by a long process of legalising this informal settlement. P-S-B-O <> O-B-S-P (where P-Planning, S-Services, B-Built, O-Occupy). The original writ petitions, filed by a range of actors in the Delhi High Court and the Supreme Court of India that led to the eviction of poor informal settlements, analyses the dictum and texts to see the logic by which the judges translated and interpreted “public interest” to accommodate the eviction of the city’s poor. This, thus offers the initial hypothesis as to how these decisions and evictions both inform and are deeply influenced by contemporary political, economic and aesthetic transformations in Delhi.”

Nithya Raman

Challenging Biased Governance Nithya Raman graduated from Harvard University with a degree in political theory and has a Masters in urban planning from M.I.T. Nithya V. Raman’s work has been focused on questions of human rights and urban planning, particularly the access of the urban poor to land and livelihoods. Currently, she is working on a project called Transparent Chennai which is an interactive website which provides useful, easy to use information about the city. “ Transparent Chennai is the small initiative that reflects the reality of the city” Transparent Chennai

“T

ransparent Chennai tries to provide useful, easy-to-understand information about the city which can improve government accountability and empower residents to take action. The site empowers citizens by providing interactive information about their city that helps

them to better understand city needs and government performance. The map module of the site allows users to visualise government projects and services, and view detailed information about them on a google maps platform. Users can also overlay projects and services with layers


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The Transparent Chennai webpage showing the different layers of Chennai.

containing social, political, jurisdictional, and environmental information about the city. Users can also directly and easily link projects and services with the agencies and elect their own representatives responsible for them. By playing with the maps and exploring the site, residents can gain new insights about their city and use this information to take action to make things better. Transparent Chennai is a platform for citizen engagement and invites users, both individuals and groups, to create and submit their own data about the city. Upcoming features on the site will also enable users to upload photographs, opinions, and information about places and projects in the city to specific layers from mobile phones. The data compiled by the site has been procured in the partnership with Citizens’ Groups to create data collectively. This data provokes the general public to ask questions for making better policies. For example, North Chennai, with Georgetown, the port, train stations, markets and industries, used to be the heart of the city but now it has been overshadowed by the emergence of South Chennai. Land values there are far lower than in the South. Population growth is lower there, but it is more crowded. People are poorer there, and they do not seem to be getting richer the way that the rest of Chennai is. Are these residents’ concerns legitimate? To unpack the question of investment disparities between north and South Chennai, Transparent

Chennai mapped information on existing and planned large scale road investments in the city. The map displays information about flyovers, road underbridges and overbridges, intersections, elevated expressways, and special road projects, overlaid with the Chennai Nor th, Chennai Central and Chennai South parliamentar y constituency boundaries. It does not include information about widening or maintenance on existing roads, nor was it able to find data on normal new road construction. The map reveals the complaints of Nor th Chennai residents to be justified. Out of a total of t went y four projec ts within the Chennai Corporation boundar y, only t wo are located in the Nor th Chennai parliamentar y constituenc y. In sharp contrast, 8 projec ts are in the Central Chennai constituenc y, five are on the border bet ween South and Central, and 9 are in the South Chennai constituenc y. The site was not able to find data on what criteria the government is using to selec t projec t locations, but perhaps a greater consideration to regional equit y within the cit y would result in more projec ts in Nor th Chennai. Transparent Chennai is a project of the Centre for Development Finance, a research centre within the Institute for Financial Management and Research. The project’s initial funding came from Google’s Inform and Empower initiative as well from the ICICI Foundation for Inclusive Growth.”


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The third session on Day 1, 22 nd October 2010 of the 361° CONFERENCE 2010: DESIGN & INFORMAL CITIES was moderated by Rahul Mehrotra with lectures by Revathi Kamath, Principal Architect- Kamath Design Studio, Delhi; Yatin Pandya, author, activist, academician, researcher as well as a practising architect with his firm FOOTPRINTS E.A.R.T.H.

Revathi Kamath

Artistically Informal Revathi Kamath obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Architecture in 1977 and a Post Graduate degree in Urban and Regional Planning in 1981, both from the School of Planning and Architecture, Delhi. Revathi Kamath is noted for her sensitive efforts to rehabilitate the slum at Shadipur Depot. For the “Evolving Home” concept of redevelopment, she consulted with 350 families to understand individual needs and to give them a first home on the ground. She has worked to equip the affected families with the skills to build and evolve their house. “There is great scope for architects in the redevelopment of slums, provided you become the ‘bare foot’ architect” Doing more with less

“I

n Delhi, Project Anandgram (1983) near Shadipur Depot was idealised with the intention of community development. This project explored the issues pertaining to perception about community design, the issues which are involved with generating urban form, visualising form and allowing all the complexities that actually generate that form which occur simultaneously and structurally developing a new urban fabric which is unique in its nature of existence. Anandgram Project was conceptualised for 500 families whose primary source of income was from their artistic skills and whose survival was only possible in this urban conurbation. This community consisted painters, sculptors and made handicrafts etc. This project was a conscious effort of creating a village in the middle of an urban setting. This community had their own identity which they have preserved from generations. Needs and habits of each family was documented before the design process was initiated. After various studies and analysis about the community and people, the Masterplan for the Anandgram was devised. This was based on the sequence of spaces of the daily activities of each sect in the community. Every family’s requirement was consciously tried to be satisfied. Separate planning concepts were worked out of single family unit and joint family unit. The road patterns

Informality in artistic precinct.

were evolved depicting the fluid nature of the community. This aspect is missing in new urban community plans. When community participation is incorporated into the design for any community, the design for their future totally encompasses their habitat and their habitat’s need to express those skills which are inseparable from their identity. This was the vision which was actualised with community participation. But when this scheme was presented to Delhi Development Authority (DDA), 27 years ago, for negotiations in terms of design and spatial analysis; the negotiations are still on.”


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Yatin Pandya

Is Informal More Sustainable Than Formal? Yatin Pandya is an Ahmedabad-based author, activist, academician, researcher as well as the practising architect, with his firm FOOTPRINTS E.A.R.T.H. Yatin has been involved with city planning, urban design, mass housing, architecture, interior design as well as conservation projects for which he has won numerous awards. Besides numerous articles in journals and 30 documentaries, he has authored books on architecture, which include “Concepts of space in traditional Indian architecture”, and “Elements of space making”. He has been a visiting faculty at National Institute of Design and CEPT University and guest lecturer/critic to various universities in India and abroad. “Constant adjustments is what the present is about” Formalising the Informal; Informalising the Formal.

“I

nformal cities are a process of organic development rather than a pre conceived product that simply multiplies. When it comes out of the process, the need to understand the context from which it is coming out becomes essential. Considering India as the context, it faces these three challenges. • In India, we never have a clean slate. • We are very diverse people with too many values. • We are far many people with too little resources.

Design of the people.

Informal is not always illegal, it is temporal. When we talk about the vitality of Indian cities, they are vital because of these patina called the informal. This vitality gives life to a city and the way it is. Vitality is quite different from variety. In an informal settlement, everything is constantly changing. The informal cities are about variety & vitality, accessibility & affordability, socio-cultural appropriateness, plurality and interactivity as a participatory and a temporal response. 20 percent of world’s population consume 60 per cent of energy, own 87 per cent vehicles and consume 75 per cent water. Streets have always been an active form of open space. Why cannot we have commercial streets designed in a manner which has both formal and informal spaces in harmony? The idea of open spaces is not difficult to achieve with the same densities if proper planning measures are taken in consideration. High rise with more density is not always a solution if properly planned designs are implemented.”

Design for the people.


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The final session on Day 1, 22 nd October 2010 of the 361° CONFERENCE 2010: DESIGN & INFORMAL CITIES concluded with a movie screening by Amrit Gangar.

Amrit Gangar

Dharavi – Slum for Sale Amrit Gangar is a Mumbai-based independent writer on cinema and art, film historian, curator, documentary filmmaker and producer. He has been working in the field of cinema in various capacities for over three decades. His most recent publications include ‘Sohrab Modi: The Great Mughal of Historicals’, ‘Paul Zils and the Indian Documentary’, ‘Satyajit Ray Ani Tyanche Chitrapat’. Gangar has curated film programs and workshops in France, India, Norway, Sweden, and the U.K. As a production manager and line producer, he has worked on numerous documentaries and feature films in Denmark, India, and Germany, including the 2007 Oscar nominated feature film, ‘After the Wedding’.

A Amrit Gangar expressing his views on Informality.

mrit Gangar screened a film by Lutz Konermann titled ‘Dharavi - Slum for Sale’ (2010, German, 79 min). The film revolves around a Bombay which reinvented itself as Mumbai, a modern, self-confident, commercial metropolis. The film presents the predicaments from the planners’ and the slum dwellers’ side in a chase for their aspirations. The film gave a first-hand insight into the life and ideas of people in one of the world’s largest informal settlements.

informal cities- Depiction of an Indian Informal City in Fiction and Non-Fiction Film. A

mrit Gangar screened a film titled ‘informal cities- DEPICTION OF AN INDIAN INFORMAL CITY IN FICTION AND NON FICTION FILM’. The film is a compilation of various scenes from different movies touching various aspects of life in informal cities around the world. This 64 minute movie collage contained scenes focusing on issues of land mafia, sanitation, working conditions etc. The film alked about the prominance of informality in our visual culture. The film takes us from one clip to another with a connecting thread of extreme conditions and dramatisation. It becomes imperative to observe the issues addressed in these short films to be exaggerations of reality but reality never the less. The film contains flashes of text which not only connect the short segments but also help establish a monologue.


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The speakers which included eminent architects, academicians, activists and urban practitioners presented their work and ideas on informality.

THE CONFERENCE 2010

DESIGN & INFORMAL CITIES T

he 361° Conference this year aimed to capture practices in the informal realm with the “one-degree of difference”. The objective was to create a multi-directional showcase of ideas and innovations that have and had a significant impact on the habitat around us. Each speaker, be it an architect, an engineer, a planner, a policy maker, an activist or a thinker was an icon in his own. The Conference, in its wake, created a forum for the exchange of ideas and discussions on prevalent issues on the architectural forefront. As we all know, the questions summarising the informal city and the gambit of issues they present for the cities in India are immense. It has become rather critical for us to go beyond building a case for the Informal City, their contribution to the economy, social life as well as the vigour of the city. Our intention for the 361° Conference 2010 was to veer the debate on questions of physical form and explore the possibilities of alternate spatial imagination to integrate, in physical form (urban form and typology), the Informal City in imagination, perception and sensibilities of planning.

The 361° Conference 2010: Design & Informal Cities, organised jointly by the Indian Architect & Builder magazine and Citizens’ Groups that are actively involved with issues concerning informal settlements in Mumbai, provided a platform

David Mohney and David Satterthwaite at the conference venue.

OF Sarita Vijayan, Editor and Brand Director, Indian Architect & Builder magazine opened the conference with a welcome note.

Delegates in the Conference participating in the debate.


post event for exchange of ideas concerning the informal sector. The two day Conference at Rangsharda in Mumbai featured lectures by 23 renowned architects, urban planners and urban practitioners with one degree of difference concerning the problems and possible solutions of informality in our cities. The lectures were segregated under six segments each moderated by an established practitioner or academician. Each segment was followed by a panel discussion and interaction with the delegates. Towards the end of the first day of the Conference, the speakers and the delegates went for the ‘Dharavi Walk’ for a first hand engagement with the informal sector. The Conference was attended by architects, urban practitioners and activists was received with good enthusiasm. The Conference was followed by the ESSAR

The panellists, (from left to right) Alfredo Brillembourg, Peter Head and Aromar Revi, responding to the questions from the delegates in a Panel Discussion.

Rahul Mehrotra, Executive Director of the Urban Design Research Institute and the curator of the Conference gave an introductory lecture on his understanding of ‘Informality’.

The delegates raising questions and debates in the ‘open mike’ discussion.

Yatin Pandya, Alfredo Brellimbourg and Sanjeev Joshi sharing a light moment.

Dance, performed by children from the informal settlements, was choreographed by Expressions Modern Dance Company.

The delegates embark on the ‘Dharavi Walk’.

Steel Masterstrokes Lecture by Master Architect and The Pritzker Laureate Richard Meier. The projects and ideas profiled in and beyond this Conference are published in this issue of the Indian Architect & Builder magazine.


58 IA&B - NOV 2010

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Creatively engaging culture, history, economics and politics, Rahul Mehrotra, Curator of the Conference, presents the key note address, bringing into focus, the issues of informal cities. Transcribed by: Sidharth Gupta Photographs: courtesy the speaker

Rahul Mehrotra is an Indian architect and urban designer who has studied at the School of Architecture, Ahmedabad, and the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University. He has been in private practice since 1990. Professor Mehrotra is an Executive Director of the Urban Design Research Institute, Mumbai which promotes awareness and research on the city of Mumbai. He has also written several books on Mumbai, including “Bombay, the Cities Within” and has lectured extensively on urban design, conservation and architecture in India. After teaching at MIT since 2007, he has recently been appointed Professor and Chairman of Urban Design and Planning Department at Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Kinetic City:

“M

umbai is accommodating various forms of informal cities. It can no longer be understood as a dichotomy between the formal city and the informal city. The informal city is here described as “Kinetic Cities” and are a response to the formal city in a legally implied formal

Informality on the edge of a railway track.


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introduction system. The binary perception of Mumbai as a formal city against the informal city has grown stronger over a period of time. Definition of the urban middle class has changed; the middle class used to live and work in the formal sector while the poor, lived and worked in the informal sector. This is no longer true, especially in Mumbai where the formal economy has grown rapidly in recent decades; informal residents are often employed in the formal sector and vice versa,” said Rahul in his introductory address. Rahul described the ground realities of Indian urban scenario as employed in the formal sector but residing in informal. His concerns on conditions of density and democracy and problems pertaining to Indian urbanism were quite evident. In the quest of knowing how these informal cities have come to existence, Rahul mentioned five phases of urbanism i.e. denial, eradication, tolerance, improvement and anticipation. He added ,“Currently, urbanism in Mumbai is going through the first four phases simultaneously. The urban landscape of Mumbai is evolving rapidly.” Rahul stressed on the patterns of occupation that determine the forms and perception of the cities and elaborated on how the cities are shaping and growing and will grow in the coming decades. Supplementing his view with data, he added that, “Informality is an indigenous form of urbanism which is always misinterpreted as a city of the poor. It is an everexpanding temporal articulation of space suggesting new ways and new

Urban sprawl in a dense urban setting.

The ‘Kinetic’ Indian bazaar.


60 limits that are ever-growing. In Mumbai, residents enjoy a mere 0.12sqm of open space per person, compared to 16sqm in Delhi.” With reference to the context, Rahul presented the two examples from the urban setting of Mumbai which depicted how public open spaces in the Mumbai act as multifunctional spaces. Example 1: In a ‘maidan’( an open space), on the bay at the tip of the Mumbai peninsula, the morning begins with cricketers occupying the whole field. In the evening, the same ‘maidan’ becomes the venue for a traditional Indian wedding. And by the next morning, everything about wedding(tents, stage etc.) disappears; the cricketers resume.

The ‘maidan’ in the morning.

Example2: The Town Hall, one of the city’s few neoclassical buildings, comprises of a wide doric portico approached by thirty broad steps. The Governor of Maharashtra ascends this staircase every Independence Day to address the hall. To protect his procession from monsoon rains, a legion of workers wrap the whole staircase and portico in scaffold, tarpaulin and coir rope. Mumbai is facing acute shortage of public spaces which is badly affecting the quality of life in the city. These two examples are not simply about how temporal spectacles clash with our preconceptions of green space and architecture but also about how hundreds of ‘Mumbaikars’ are employed in transforming each space and catering for individual events. Across

The ‘maidan’ in the evening.

the city, thousands more are employed by the formal sector in similar transformative acts that allow residents to coexist in dense conditions.

Open space out side town hall on a normal day.

Kinetic Cities and bazaar like forms can be seen as symbolic images of an emerging urban Indian condition. The processions, weddings, hawkers and slum dwellers, create an ever-changing landscape and a streetscape in constant motion. Physical fabric is characterised by this kind of a quality. On the other hand, formal city depends on architecture. In the context of informal cities, architecture does not even comprise a single frame of the city-festivals like Holi, Dussera, Diwali, Muhurrum, Tazia, Durga Pooja, etc. which emerge as new spectacles of Kinetic City and the manner in which the popularity of these festivals has grown and their presence on Indian urban landscape dominating Indian culture, the way they redefine the public spaces is phenomenal in itself. Leaders in Mumbai are drawing inspiration from as Shanghai, Dubai, Singapore and Hong Kong, where the city is represented by architectural ‘objects’. Rather, leaders should appreciate how streets and spaces are used from hour to hour, day to day and throughout the year, and understand how both the rich and poor of Mumbai adapt their living patterns to the density of the city. The Kinetic City is about activity, not architecture.

Open space outside town hall transformed during Independence day.

When its leaders look upon its dense streets, they should not see crowding and poverty that they wish to eradicate. They should be seeing social and commercial interaction, patterns of socio-economic behaviour that must be allowed to develop. They should understand that the rich interactions


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Evolution of residential squatter.

Per capita available open green space with respect to city.

The elastic urban open space during a cultural possession.

that take place on the cit y â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s streets are all enterprising ac tivities and economic oppor tunities being created and developed by the cit y â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s residents.

Evolution of informal commercial kiosk.

Rather than seeking to remove these patterns, they should work out a method to design the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s streets and spaces and a strategy to plan new areas, such that these patterns of activity can thrive in greater comfort for all residents, rich and poor. In this way, the bazaar city can become the commercial city, in action and not simply in image.


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he first day of the 361° CONFERENCE 2010: DESIGN & INFORMAL CITIES started with a presentation on the products and services of United Technologies by Sameer Joshi - Director Sales and Marketing OTIS India. Sameer briefed audiences about the company history, innovative products that company is manufacturing and its future polices. The presentation was followed by a short movie on company’s achievements.

Sameer Joshi, Director, ales and Marketing, OTIS India presents the innovative products and services of the compnay.

The United Technologies presentation was followed by welcome note and introduction to Design and Informal Cities by Sarita Vijayan, Editor & Brand Director, Indian Architect & Builder magazine. Sarita introduced the audiences to the panel briefs and activities planned during the 2 days of the conference and concluded by introducing Rahul Mehrotra - Executive Director of the UDRI and the Curator of the 361° Conference 2010: Design & Informal Cities. The first session on Day 1, 22 nd October 2010 of the 361° CONFERENCE 2010: DESIGN & INFORMAL CITIES was moderated by Gautam Chatterjee, Vice President, MHADA. The session contained lectures by Rahul Mehrotra, Founder Director, RMA; Sheela Patel, Founder SPARC and Pankaj Joshi , Executive Director of UDRI. The session was followed by a Panel Discussion.

Gautam Chatterjee moderating panel discussion.

Pankaj Joshi

The Current State of Mumbai Pankaj Joshi is Executive Director, UDRI is a practicing conservation architect ,a visiting professor at the Academy of Architecture and Rizvi College of Architecture, Mumbai and consultant to the Heritage Conservation Society of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA). The joint convener of the Mumbai Study Group, an interdisciplinary forum, at the Academy of Architecture, Mumbai and a member trustee of SAVE forum, an environment action group in North Mumbai.

“Mumbai is statically an informal city”

Day 1-Excerpts from the lectures: Sidharth Gupta Photographs: courtesy IA&B and the speakers To view the 361˚Conference lectures, log on to www.aecworldxp.com

Mumbai- An informal city n Mumbai, there are informal settlements concentrated all around the edges of railway tracks, airport, water front, on footpaths, wastelands, hills and inertial areas. Some statistics about informal settlements in Mumbai are as follows:

“I

walls and reinforced cement roofs with other temporary materials and 25 per cent have predominantly semi-permanent structures (brick walls and tin or asbestos cement sheet roof).

73.6 per cent of employment in the island wards, which contained only 21.1 per cent of slum population. The suburbs housed 83 per cent of the slum population. On hill slopes, 60 per cent have a mix of permanent building materials like brick

Higher housing consolidation is also visible from the fact that almost 45 per cent of houses have two or more storeys. In enclosed spaces, it is quite interesting to see how small dwelling units of 150-200sqft are serving as


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design & informal cities

Informal state of informal cities.

multifunctional space, leaving architects with immense design challenges. 42 per cent dwellings have an area less than 10sqm, 38 per cent have an area between 15 to 20sqm and 9 per cent have an area more than 20sqm. In these informal settlements, 49 per cent of slums have access to water supply from shared standpipes, 38.3 per cent have supply from more than one source. Remaining slums get their water from tube wells or community standpipes, 5 per cent of slums have individual taps, 17 settlements with approximately. 0.1 million inhabitants (0.87 per cent of the total) have no water supply and have to depend on adjoining settlements. Sanitation is a major issue with 72 per cent of slums depending on community toilets provided by the government, 26 per cent defecating in the open and 1 per cent having to pay to use toilets managed by NGOs. 1 per cent of slum dwellers have an access to individual toilets. There are many houses which function as a work place in the day time and in the evening, as a residence. Home-based economic activity is common as a secondary source of income, which can range from vegetable shops to illicit liquor shops. Literacy is a major issue in these pockets. Literacy rate is around 60 per cent (lower than the city average), recreational spaces are perceived as hub for gambling on board games and the most interesting scenario of this informal city is that it’s a reversal of the formal city. A recycled city where all the services of the formal city are concentrated. One more significant aspect of the informal sector of Mumbai is the fact that its carbon foot print is much less than the formal city.

Government’s solution to informality.

The current policies of government about the development of these informal pockets are quite disappointing in terms of issues related to the design of these government schemes which provide open space of 0.2sqm per person which is very less when compared to rest of Mumbai’s open space at an average of 1.77sqm per person. Solutions provided by the government are limited to just shifting these people from the slums into high rise buildings. In the past two decades, the role of state government has changed from working towards the development of informal settlements to encouraging private developers by giving subsidies and other amenities for development. “


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Sheela Patel

Design Challenges for Urban Poor

“Slums cannot be hidden nor be eradicated from Mumbai for the coming few decades”

Sheela Patel leads the Society for the Promotion of Area Resource Centres (SPARC), an Indian civil society organisation that aims to improve the living conditions and promote the rights of millions of urban slum dwellers and homeless people. She is also Chairman of Shack/Slum Dwellers International (SDI), a confederation of slum dweller organisations from over 20 countries in the global south. SDI and its members help move urban policy away from reactive interventions toward long-term solutions, with the urban poor – particularly women – playing a key role in this process. They engage communities, government at many levels, other civil society groups, the private sector, academia and international institutions in this work.

Designing what matters

“S

lums are an important characteristic of the city. They cannot be hidden nor be separated from the city. Slums cannot be eradicated for few more decades. More and more poor people migrate from small towns to big cities in search of better job opportunities and for a better future. This is a characteristic we see in every Indian city. It forms one vital challenge that mayors today need to face. Each city is now acknowledged as an engine of growth. They are the gateways to the country, as we all aspire to be part of this new global world which seems to move markets and money in a blink of an eye. Cities today have to manage all aspects of their citizens’ lives, the business of national governments are now being devolved to the mayors and city managers. What we see is a huge challenge in which we have increasingly democratised our nations so that the poor are part of the political process, they vote for their politicians and mayors, but in civic services they are excluded. In most cases, cities would like to see them disappear. How are we going to address the divide that we all see presently in cities of the south… the formal city and the Informal city. If we cannot address it today, demographic changes projected tell us that our cities will have more people coming in from rural areas in the next twenty years than we have ever witnessed before. SPARC, an NGO, began its work in 1984 community federations of the urban poor, known as the National Slum Dwellers Federation which works in India to assist communities defend their rights to stay in cities and together.

Community participation in design process.

They facilitate their dialogue with municipalities and state and national governments. In 1996, they set up Shack/Slum Dwellers International in eight countries to work with these issues at a transnational level, to explore working with the organised poor to transform cities, because the poor are here to stay. SPARC has been responsible for the construction of housing for over 8,500 families and construction of more than 500,000 community toilets. Currently, SPARC has programmes in 70 cities throughout India. It works in partnership with local grassroots groups, government agencies, and other actors to build support for housing and micro credit programmes for pavement dwellers living in shacks alongside roads, support-related research and implementation of relevant policy initiatives. The results are


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action and policy partnerships that are changing the way society meets the needs of the urban poor. We all are familiar with the concept of participation, but these federations are a live example of how that functions. The real challenge is how the mayors and city managers, provincial governments, national governments and international assistance view these processes. The huge human resource that is available at a city level is neither understood nor utilised by most of the cities, countries and development agencies. Dharavi in Mumbai, often said to be one of Asia’s largest slums, is to be redeveloped once more. This is the third time that the state government

of Maharashtra has sought to redevelop Dharavi. The proposal is being developed by the design cell of KRVA College for Dharavi Redevelopment Plan. The city government, the state government of Maharashtra and the developers have an opportunity to show how city redevelopment should take place in collaboration with the inhabitants and their representative organisations. They can produce new strategies for creating redevelopment plans and implementation schedules together. The collective challenge is to produce a framework that recognises the aspirations and entitlements of the wide spectrum of work and residential arrangements that currently exist in Dharavi and to create a process for its formalisation that enhances this for the neighbourhood and the city.”

The second session on Day 1, 22 nd October 2010 of the 361° CONFERENCE 2010: DESIGN & INFORMAL CITIES was moderated by Sundar Burra, Advisor to SPARC. With lectures by Liza Weinstein, Assistant Professor of Sociology, University of Chicago; Gautam Bhan, writer and researcher on urban systems and Nithya Raman, Project Lead, Transparent Chennai . The session was followed by a Panel Discussion.

Dr. Liza Weinstein

The Impulsive Informal Face of Mumbai

“Slum proliferation is rooted in paternalistic goondagiri”

An Assistant Professor of Sociology, Dr. Liza Weinstein recently received her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago specialising in the study of urban communities and globalisation. Dr. Weinstein is the author of several articles and book chapters on the social and political conflicts that often accompany urban planning within developing societies. Her most recent project rests on many months of ethnographic research in the slums of Mumbai, India that has led to such publications as Mumbai’s Development Mafias: Organised Crime, Land Development and Globalisation and The Changing Right to the City: Urban Renewal and Housing Rights in Globalising Shanghai and Mumbai (with Xuefei Ren) and City & Community (September 2009).

Mumbai’s Development Mafias

“O

ver a period, researchers have dealt with and analysed the effects of liberalisation and globalisation on urban development, considering the local political implications of shifts at the national and global scales. In case of Mumbai, the past fifteen years of political reforms in India have reshaped property markets and the politics of land development. This analysis addressed a void in the research on

the governance practices that both emerge from and contribute to global urban restructuring. Although recent research on urban property relations has made significant contributions to understanding the political processes that shape land markets, it has tended to limit its focus to the role of institutional actors and local elites, neglecting the influence of informal, or illicit, governance practices.


66 Among the newly empowered actors, local criminal syndicates, often with global connections, have seized political opportunities created by these shifts to gain influence over land development. Due to the rapid pace of development its interesting to see, the impact of slum clearance scheme on the urban landscape of the Mumbai and development on the common man. In the decade between 1971 and 1981, the Mumbai’s population grew by 2.27 million people within which the increase of the population residing in slums was 2.25 million. Recognising an opportunity, enterprising slumlords divided unused public and privately owned land and sold or rented out plots to new migrants. This encouraged the criminal activities around the city. The implication of D-Company, Chhota Rajan, Arun Gawali and Amar Naik etc. are some of the prime examples of the rise of Mumbai’s organised criminal activity. In 1950s was closely linked to India’s macroeconomic policies, with strict regulation of imports fuelling the growth of black market smuggling. Liberalisation and deregulation since the early 1990s have diminished demand for smuggled consumer goods and criminal syndicates have since diversified their operations. With skyrocketing real

Public demonstrations supporting reclamation.

estate prices in the 1990s, bolstered by global land speculation, the mafia began investing in property development. Supported by an illicit nexus of politicians, bureaucrats and the police, the mafia has emerged as a central figure in Mumbai’s land development politics.”

Gautam Bhan

Anxious Urbanism… Gautam Bhan is an urban writer and researcher based in New Delhi. He is the co-author of Swept off the Map: Surviving Eviction and Resettlement in Delhi (Yoda Press, 2006). His work looks at the changing politics of poverty in Indian cities. He is currently based at the Indian Institute for Human Settlements and is Doctoral Candidate at the University of California, Berkeley.

“The ‘slum’ that you call a slum, is an act of policy” In the Public’s Interest: Evictions and Urban Citizenship in Millenial Delhi

“A

pproach towards the design of informal cities is constantly changing. There are many socio-political issues governing the development of this segment of urban fabric. Patronage polities, vote bank politics and the power of recognition of vote has sunk in the poor and they recognise their power and national citizenship. People come to cities, they form community and a settlement appears in the urban frame of the city and messy politics comes into the picture.

In early 2004, an estimated 35,000 households colloquially called ‘Pushta’— on the banks of Delhi’s river Yamuna were destroyed in what was the first in a series of evictions. During the period between 1990-2003, official statistics say that 51,461 households were evicted and resettled in Delhi. Yet during 2003-2007 - a third of the time – 45,000 households were evicted, with less than 25 per cent receiving any resettlement or


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“Pushta” before the eviction.

compensation. These evictions are different not just in degree or intensity but also in kind. They were not initiated by the city’s planning agency, its municipal bodies or by the city or central government. Each was the result of a verdict in an innovative judicial mechanism created, ironically, to protect the poor: the Public Interest Litigation (PIL). Informal cities have always been misconceived as slums; 76 per cent of population of Delhi residing in the informal city violates atleast three regulations of the Delhi Masterplan. In developed countries, when process of urbanisation occurs firstly, the Masterplan is conceived, then the services are laid, then buildings are built and lastly, occupation happens. But in the Indian urban scenario, the exact reverse procedure is observed wherein firstly, the

“Pushta” after the eviction.

land is occupied, secondly, the building is built and then the services are laid followed by a long process of legalising this informal settlement. P-S-B-O <> O-B-S-P (where P-Planning, S-Services, B-Built, O-Occupy). The original writ petitions, filed by a range of actors in the Delhi High Court and the Supreme Court of India that led to the eviction of poor informal settlements, analyses the dictum and texts to see the logic by which the judges translated and interpreted “public interest” to accommodate the eviction of the city’s poor. This, thus offers the initial hypothesis as to how these decisions and evictions both inform and are deeply influenced by contemporary political, economic and aesthetic transformations in Delhi.”

Nithya Raman

Challenging Biased Governance Nithya Raman graduated from Harvard University with a degree in political theory and has a Masters in urban planning from M.I.T. Nithya V. Raman’s work has been focused on questions of human rights and urban planning, particularly the access of the urban poor to land and livelihoods. Currently, she is working on a project called Transparent Chennai which is an interactive website which provides useful, easy to use information about the city. “ Transparent Chennai is the small initiative that reflects the reality of the city” Transparent Chennai

“T

ransparent Chennai tries to provide useful, easy-to-understand information about the city which can improve government accountability and empower residents to take action. The site empowers citizens by providing interactive information about their city that helps

them to better understand city needs and government performance. The map module of the site allows users to visualise government projects and services, and view detailed information about them on a google maps platform. Users can also overlay projects and services with layers


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The Transparent Chennai webpage showing the different layers of Chennai.

containing social, political, jurisdictional, and environmental information about the city. Users can also directly and easily link projects and services with the agencies and elect their own representatives responsible for them. By playing with the maps and exploring the site, residents can gain new insights about their city and use this information to take action to make things better. Transparent Chennai is a platform for citizen engagement and invites users, both individuals and groups, to create and submit their own data about the city. Upcoming features on the site will also enable users to upload photographs, opinions, and information about places and projects in the city to specific layers from mobile phones. The data compiled by the site has been procured in the partnership with Citizens’ Groups to create data collectively. This data provokes the general public to ask questions for making better policies. For example, North Chennai, with Georgetown, the port, train stations, markets and industries, used to be the heart of the city but now it has been overshadowed by the emergence of South Chennai. Land values there are far lower than in the South. Population growth is lower there, but it is more crowded. People are poorer there, and they do not seem to be getting richer the way that the rest of Chennai is. Are these residents’ concerns legitimate? To unpack the question of investment disparities between north and South Chennai, Transparent

Chennai mapped information on existing and planned large scale road investments in the city. The map displays information about flyovers, road underbridges and overbridges, intersections, elevated expressways, and special road projects, overlaid with the Chennai Nor th, Chennai Central and Chennai South parliamentar y constituency boundaries. It does not include information about widening or maintenance on existing roads, nor was it able to find data on normal new road construction. The map reveals the complaints of Nor th Chennai residents to be justified. Out of a total of t went y four projec ts within the Chennai Corporation boundar y, only t wo are located in the Nor th Chennai parliamentar y constituenc y. In sharp contrast, 8 projec ts are in the Central Chennai constituenc y, five are on the border bet ween South and Central, and 9 are in the South Chennai constituenc y. The site was not able to find data on what criteria the government is using to selec t projec t locations, but perhaps a greater consideration to regional equit y within the cit y would result in more projec ts in Nor th Chennai. Transparent Chennai is a project of the Centre for Development Finance, a research centre within the Institute for Financial Management and Research. The project’s initial funding came from Google’s Inform and Empower initiative as well from the ICICI Foundation for Inclusive Growth.”


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The third session on Day 1, 22 nd October 2010 of the 361° CONFERENCE 2010: DESIGN & INFORMAL CITIES was moderated by Rahul Mehrotra with lectures by Revathi Kamath, Principal Architect- Kamath Design Studio, Delhi; Yatin Pandya, author, activist, academician, researcher as well as a practising architect with his firm FOOTPRINTS E.A.R.T.H.

Revathi Kamath

Artistically Informal Revathi Kamath obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Architecture in 1977 and a Post Graduate degree in Urban and Regional Planning in 1981, both from the School of Planning and Architecture, Delhi. Revathi Kamath is noted for her sensitive efforts to rehabilitate the slum at Shadipur Depot. For the “Evolving Home” concept of redevelopment, she consulted with 350 families to understand individual needs and to give them a first home on the ground. She has worked to equip the affected families with the skills to build and evolve their house. “There is great scope for architects in the redevelopment of slums, provided you become the ‘bare foot’ architect” Doing more with less

“I

n Delhi, Project Anandgram (1983) near Shadipur Depot was idealised with the intention of community development. This project explored the issues pertaining to perception about community design, the issues which are involved with generating urban form, visualising form and allowing all the complexities that actually generate that form which occur simultaneously and structurally developing a new urban fabric which is unique in its nature of existence. Anandgram Project was conceptualised for 500 families whose primary source of income was from their artistic skills and whose survival was only possible in this urban conurbation. This community consisted painters, sculptors and made handicrafts etc. This project was a conscious effort of creating a village in the middle of an urban setting. This community had their own identity which they have preserved from generations. Needs and habits of each family was documented before the design process was initiated. After various studies and analysis about the community and people, the Masterplan for the Anandgram was devised. This was based on the sequence of spaces of the daily activities of each sect in the community. Every family’s requirement was consciously tried to be satisfied. Separate planning concepts were worked out of single family unit and joint family unit. The road patterns

Informality in artistic precinct.

were evolved depicting the fluid nature of the community. This aspect is missing in new urban community plans. When community participation is incorporated into the design for any community, the design for their future totally encompasses their habitat and their habitat’s need to express those skills which are inseparable from their identity. This was the vision which was actualised with community participation. But when this scheme was presented to Delhi Development Authority (DDA), 27 years ago, for negotiations in terms of design and spatial analysis; the negotiations are still on.”


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Yatin Pandya

Is Informal More Sustainable Than Formal? Yatin Pandya is an Ahmedabad-based author, activist, academician, researcher as well as the practising architect, with his firm FOOTPRINTS E.A.R.T.H. Yatin has been involved with city planning, urban design, mass housing, architecture, interior design as well as conservation projects for which he has won numerous awards. Besides numerous articles in journals and 30 documentaries, he has authored books on architecture, which include “Concepts of space in traditional Indian architecture”, and “Elements of space making”. He has been a visiting faculty at National Institute of Design and CEPT University and guest lecturer/critic to various universities in India and abroad. “Constant adjustments is what the present is about” Formalising the Informal; Informalising the Formal.

“I

nformal cities are a process of organic development rather than a pre conceived product that simply multiplies. When it comes out of the process, the need to understand the context from which it is coming out becomes essential. Considering India as the context, it faces these three challenges. • In India, we never have a clean slate. • We are very diverse people with too many values. • We are far many people with too little resources.

Design of the people.

Informal is not always illegal, it is temporal. When we talk about the vitality of Indian cities, they are vital because of these patina called the informal. This vitality gives life to a city and the way it is. Vitality is quite different from variety. In an informal settlement, everything is constantly changing. The informal cities are about variety & vitality, accessibility & affordability, socio-cultural appropriateness, plurality and interactivity as a participatory and a temporal response. 20 percent of world’s population consume 60 per cent of energy, own 87 per cent vehicles and consume 75 per cent water. Streets have always been an active form of open space. Why cannot we have commercial streets designed in a manner which has both formal and informal spaces in harmony? The idea of open spaces is not difficult to achieve with the same densities if proper planning measures are taken in consideration. High rise with more density is not always a solution if properly planned designs are implemented.”

Design for the people.


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The final session on Day 1, 22 nd October 2010 of the 361° CONFERENCE 2010: DESIGN & INFORMAL CITIES concluded with a movie screening by Amrit Gangar.

Amrit Gangar

Dharavi – Slum for Sale Amrit Gangar is a Mumbai-based independent writer on cinema and art, film historian, curator, documentary filmmaker and producer. He has been working in the field of cinema in various capacities for over three decades. His most recent publications include ‘Sohrab Modi: The Great Mughal of Historicals’, ‘Paul Zils and the Indian Documentary’, ‘Satyajit Ray Ani Tyanche Chitrapat’. Gangar has curated film programs and workshops in France, India, Norway, Sweden, and the U.K. As a production manager and line producer, he has worked on numerous documentaries and feature films in Denmark, India, and Germany, including the 2007 Oscar nominated feature film, ‘After the Wedding’.

A Amrit Gangar expressing his views on Informality.

mrit Gangar screened a film by Lutz Konermann titled ‘Dharavi - Slum for Sale’ (2010, German, 79 min). The film revolves around a Bombay which reinvented itself as Mumbai, a modern, self-confident, commercial metropolis. The film presents the predicaments from the planners’ and the slum dwellers’ side in a chase for their aspirations. The film gave a first-hand insight into the life and ideas of people in one of the world’s largest informal settlements.

informal cities- Depiction of an Indian Informal City in Fiction and Non-Fiction Film. A

mrit Gangar screened a film titled ‘informal cities- DEPICTION OF AN INDIAN INFORMAL CITY IN FICTION AND NON FICTION FILM’. The film is a compilation of various scenes from different movies touching various aspects of life in informal cities around the world. This 64 minute movie collage contained scenes focusing on issues of land mafia, sanitation, working conditions etc. The film alked about the prominance of informality in our visual culture. The film takes us from one clip to another with a connecting thread of extreme conditions and dramatisation. It becomes imperative to observe the issues addressed in these short films to be exaggerations of reality but reality never the less. The film contains flashes of text which not only connect the short segments but also help establish a monologue.


70 IA&B - NOV 2010

The second day of the 361° CONFERENCE 2010: DESIGN & INFORMAL CITIES started with a film screening by Amrit Gangar.

Dharavi - Walk To Informality

Delegates at ‘Dharavi’

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f ter the series of lec tures and the movie sc re e n i n g, a l l d e l e g ate s and speakers reached D haravi –normally re f e rre d to a s “ Th e largest slum in Asia”. D haravi Walk provide d d e e p e r i n s i g ht s o n life in an Indian informal cit y. As an inform a l s e t t l e m e nt i n t h e hear t of Mumbai, it retains the emotional a n d h i s to ri ca l p u l l o f the Indian sub - continent. It is a patina of p e o p l e, a c t i v i t i e s a n d aspiration. D haravi is of ten referred as an e m b a rra s s i n g e ye s o re in the middle of Mumbai, but for people res i d i n g i n D h a rav i i t i s their address.

Dharavi at a glance.

“ D h a rav i i s n o t m e re ly a s l u m ; i t i s a c i t y w i t h i n a c i t y. I t i s re a l ly a n i n d u s t ri a l, co m m e rc i a l h u b w i t h c l o s e to m ay b e $ 1 . 5 b i l l i o n t u rn ove r p e r ye a r. Ei g ht y p e r ce nt o f t h e re s i d e nt s d raw t h e i r l i ve l i h o o d f ro m w i t h i n D h a rav i .” (G a u t a m Ch at te r j e e - 2 2 n d O c to b e r 2 0 1 0 , 3 6 1 ° Co n f e re n ce, M u m b a i . )


focus

design & informal cities

The first session on Day 2, 23 rd October 2010 of the 361° CONFERENCE 2010: DESIGN & INFORMAL CITIES was moderated by Sheela Patel. Sheela Patel titled the session ‘Reflections’ with lectures by Aromar Revi, Founder Director, TARU; Peter Head, Director of Planning and Integrated Urbanism at Arup and Alfredo Brillembourg, Founder of the Urban Think Tank. The session was followed by a Panel Discussion.

Aromar Revi

Dramatic Challenges, Dramatic Opportunities. Aromar Revi is a researcher, international consultant and practitioner with extensive inter-disciplinary experience in public policy development, technology and sustainability. He is the Founder Director of TARU, a leading South Asian Research consulting firm. He has been a Senior Advisor to various ministries to the Government of India and a consultant to various multilateral and bilateral development institutes including the World Bank, UNEP, UNU and DFID. Over the last two years, he has been a part of a team working on the dynamics of decentralised governance in India. Aromar was elected an Ashoka Fellow in 1990. He is one of South Asia’s leading disaster mitigation and management experts. “The Indian constitution is a colonial conception”

Day 2-Excerpts from the lectures: Ruturaj Parikh Photographs: courtesy IA&B and the speakers To view the 361˚Conference lectures, log on to www.aecworldxp.com

Emerging Urban India and the Informal City.

“I

ndia faces fundamental structural challenges in dealing with the questions of informality. The Indian constitutional settlement, 1947-1950 was built on the foundations of the Government of India Act of 1935. The Indian Constitution thus drafted was weak on the ‘Urban’ as India was imagined as a predominantly rural landscape. The Constitution was also strong on western institutions which resulted in the negligence of certain fundamental Indian realities of faith, caste, community, ethnicity and gender. Hence the issue of urban informality lies in the ‘grey zone’ of our constitution. Mumbai has the largest informal population compared to any other city on the planet. From the urban migration trends of the Greater Mumbai Metropolitan Area, it can be inferred that there is high level of dependency and low level of education in the informal sector with issues of male dominance. In Mumbai, a relatively cosmopolitan city, though the ownership is very high (69 per cent) almost 45 per cent housing is built with temporary roofing systems. With one of the largest land market failures owing to mismanagement of land resources, the city has become a slum capital of the world with remarkable densities. There is a rampant increase in underserviced housing areas and communities with problems of water and sanitation, open defecation, mismanaged landuse in spite of 98 per cent of households having access to electricity. Due to an increasing

The Indian megacities in 2031.

polarisation of wealth distribution in the city combined with declining quality of public services and governance, the development model of Mumbai Metropolitan Region is clearly unsustainable.


72 Is the Mumbai model being replicated in other parts of the country? Owing to a great deficit in the number of urban practitioners with an ability to design for gross densities of approximately 3750 persons per acre, the coming two decades of urban explosion presents a great design and planning challenge. India will add 300 million people to its cities till 2031 with three of the world’s largest megacities: Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata. A wide range of technical, institutional and social innovations will be required to save our cities from a complete ‘systemic urban breakdown’. Still in 2031, India will primarily be a rural country with more than 50 per cent of its population living in the villages. The Mumbai Metropolitan area will have a GDP greater than many countries today with a population more than present day Canada. The city will thus have to address large absolute populations with

large proportions of poor simultaneously bridging the gaps between the ‘winners’ and the ‘losers’. Thus by replicating the present urban model, are we reproducing ‘informality’ nationally? Slums and informalities are an endemic part if the Indian urban landscape with almost half of the urban employment in the informal sector. With only 5 per cent of the total houses built in 1998 being built by contractors, 95 per cent of our urban settlements are still built by local communities and artisans. This predicament deeply challenges our capacity to plan in the coming two decades and presents an opportunity for architects and urban planners to develop a capacity to respond to informality. Engaging urban informality should be central to the future responses to urbanism.”

Peter Head

Optimise, not Maximise Peter Head is a Director at Arup and leads the newly integrated business of Planning and Integrated Urbanism. He graduated in Civil Engineering from the Imperial College, London and is a recognised world expert on sustainable development of cities. He is a recipient of The Order of British Empire (OBE) for services to the industry.

“The American low density sprawl is a failed model of development” Sustainability and the Informal City

“T

he biggest question we face today is how would the world live with 9 billion people by 2050. With 59 per cent of total urban population, the urban informal settlements in India dominate the world. We can notice in Cuba that by a surprising turn of events with its imports on oil blocked by the U.S., Cuba has turned into the most successful sustainable model of development in the world. Havana is a remarkably sustainable urban agglomeration. Our targets for 2050 should be a 50 per cent reduction in world carbon emissions (w.r.t 1990 emissions) along with a stable increase in Human Development Index (HDI). If we achieve this target, we can enter an ecological age. To achieve a sustainable development, the developing countries like India should make a transition from the ‘Agricultural Age’ to the ‘Ecological Age’ skipping the failed ‘World Class’ model. The progress should be based on a new paradigm of urban and rural development with integrated urban-rural

resource flows. Such a paradigm shift can happen if the government policies are changed to value natural capital and fair distribution of resources. Manmohan Singh, the Prime Minister of India recently said “Our vision is to make India’s economic development energy efficient…Our people have

The case of Seoul: An expressway replaced by a river to connect the city.


73 a right to economic and social development and to discard the ignominy of widespread poverty”. India can achieve this said target by following few simple agendas. India should diversify and cooperate, use waste as resource, gather and use energy efficiently, use materials sparingly, clean up and not pollute, do not draw down resources, capitalise on information and use local resources. Efficient management of food, water, raw materials and energy can make the core of any planned development. India will also have to strengthen the presently fragile linkages between its urban and rural segments. One significant contribution to make our cities more sustainable can come from an efficient public transport system. The present

crowding of cars in the city can be substantially reduced by encouraging safe pedestrian movement through the city. The city will also have to manage its waste efficiently. The problems related to informality can be resolved by identifying the problems of land rights to enable a secure tenure to the poor. Participatory planning can bridge the gap between community and the government. Integrated sustainable development can ensure that countries like India treat informality as a resource rather than a problem.”

Alfredo Brillembourg

From What It Is to What It Could Be Alfredo Brillembourg founded the Urban Think Tank, a multi-disciplinary design practice dedicated to high level research and design on contemporary architecture and urbanism in Caracas, Venezuela. UTT aims to deliver innovative yet practical solutions through combined skills of architects, civil engineers, environmental planners, landscape architects and communication specialists. Their designs reflect sensibility to economic efficiency, cultural benefits and social realities. “The ‘Slum’ that you call ‘Slum’, we call it home” Den(s)city

“I

nformality may be out of the legal system but it is certainly not criminal. The three primary issues related to informality can be summarised in TAR: Territory, Authority and Rights. It does not matter if the process of design starts from the ethical point of view or the aesthetic point of view. It is important that there is a discourse from one point of view to the other. It is time we think about the ‘Slum’ as a sustainable and living urban model. Our beliefs pertaining to informality are based on social programming. We believe what we believe because we are told to believe that. It is time we take every established fact of our urbanity and produce a counter argument. Owing to an alarming fact that Cuba is the most sustainable model of development in the world, sustainability in the coming decades will look like Dharavi + Damascus model. Dharavi thus is not out of formal, it is an alternative model of development. ‘Transformation’ is the key word. Architecture can transform a reality into something preferred. The architect can and should do more. An architect is also a citizen. Architects should take a stand in the war against poverty.

‘Professionality’ should transcend conventional wisdom rather than binding architects in a bracket of what ‘should be’. Our cities have overgrown to become ‘Unknown Territories’. It is very important to understand that urbanism is ‘frozen politics’. It is very important to think beyond the ‘slab’ as the only modern image of our architecture. We have misinterpreted the ‘Domino House’ model of architecture proposed by Le Corbusier for rapid post war reconstruction system. It was supposed to be an adaptive system of construction rather than an aesthetic vocabulary. The issue is that almost 99 per cent of published projects in the books and magazines come from private initiatives while 99 per cent of non descript housing and urbanism happens from public initiatives. We have thus failed to create a bracket for informal realities in formal approaches of design. The informalities of our cities develop in the grey zones of the fabric of the city owing to a policy of negligence towards these zones by the authority. The ‘I have nothing to do with it’ approach has gone too far. The project in the informal sector in Caracas was based on a simple agenda of transforming the worst areas of Caracas into the best areas of Caracas. The neglected


74 areas of Caracas were kept that way because if the authorities map these areas, they are responsible for these areas. The informal settlements in any city contribute to the social, economical and cultural landscape of that city. The future discourse of development in a city like Mumbai must take this significant contribution into account, otherwise slums and shanty towns will be the most hazard prone areas of our cities. The strategy of design in the informal sector in Caracas brought about a huge change by following few simple rules. The process started with adding infrastructure to the existing networks rather than replacing them with new infrastructure. Then a network of social buildings like schools and gymnasiums were developed as networks of urban inserts in the fabric of the city. These interventions were done with an understanding that density is a social phenomenon more than a spatial one. The existing quality of housing in the informal sector was upgraded and not replaced. One of the very important interventions in Caracas was addition of public spaces. Thus,

The Metrocable connecting the informal city to the formal.

by creating counter arguments, it is possible to view informality as a noncriminal reality, it is possible to view density as a positive and a sustainable alternative model of development and it is possible to view the investment in the informal sector as a positive investment in the future of any city.“

The second session on Day 2, 23 rd October 2010 of the 361° CONFERENCE 2010: DESIGN & INFORMAL CITIES was moderated by Dr. Jessica Wallack. Dr. Jessica Wallack leads the Centre for Development Finance and is a Professor at the Institute of Finance and Management Research in Chennai. Her research focuses on ways in which individual knowledge and beliefs interact with institutional pressures to create development politics and economics. She has also worked at the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and Inter American Development Bank. Dr. Wallack earned her B.A. from Harvard University. Jessica Wallack titled the session ‘Urban dynamics in a Chaotic World’ with lectures by Eyal Weizman, Director of the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths College; David Satterthwaite, Senior Fellow with Human Settlements Program at IIED and Prof. Edgar Pieterse, Director of The African Centre for Cities at University of Cape Town. The session was followed by a Panel Discussion.

Eyal Weizman

Architectural Forensics Eyal Weizman holds a Ph.D. from the London Consortium, Brikbeck College. He is the Director of the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths College. Since 2007, he is a member of an architectural collective ‘decolonising architecture’ in Beit Sahour, Palestine. Weizman has taught, lectured, curated and organised conferences in many institutes worldwide. Having published many books including The Lesser Evil (Nottetempo, 2009), Hollow Land (Verso Books, 2007) and the series Territories 1, 2 and 3, Weizman is the recipient of the James Sterling Memorial Lecture Prize for 2006–07. “We are used to look at informality as an act of the dispossessed” Palestine by the Israeli authorities is a simultaneous process of ‘decolonisation’ and ‘colonisation’. It is a systematic architectural process of construction and rchitecture is often an instrument in war crimes. The systematic destruction to exercise force. Architecture, thus becomes instrumental in destruction and construction process in the occupied territories in modifying urban landscapes to exercise authority. We tend to see the acts of

Political Plastic

“A


75 modification of the urban by the government as an act of restoring order and the act of resistance thus deemed as illegal. By alternative master planning, we have defined what is and is not within the preview of the government. But illegal encroachment is not always an act of the unwanted. If the urban landscape of a place is a manifestation of its politics and policies, an urban landscape of a political system in continuous movement is under a constant change by exposure and resistance to force. Thus the political plastic of a place shapes its urban plastic. The phenomenon of using state influence to occupy land in conflict areas is not new. It starts establishing an argument for a certain place to be ‘chaotic’ followed by an act of intervention to restore ‘order’, which at times is through force. The resistance to this force is automatically deemed illegal. The modern definitions of colonisation thus do not relate to the modernist idea of colonisation. The modern colonisations are not about fixity but about an urban landscape in constant movement. When the Israeli government decided to evacuate some of the settlements from Gaza in a span between Summer andonSpring of 2005, it was faced with Alfredo Brillembourg stressing the a rather odd question. much Whatneeded to dotransformation. with the infrastructure and architecture of the place? What to do with the roads and the post offices and the houses? How to occupy the house of one’s enemy? A predicament which prompted a discussion between Mahatma Gandhi and Nehru on what role should a building like the present Rashtrapati Bhavan have once it is unplugged from the political power that built it. Can an architectural legacy built as a potent symbol of one political power, serve as a symbol for another which

The symbolic public reclamation of an authoritative structure.

replaces the previous one? The image of Arabs living in homes of the Jews will designate a reversal and thus a reversibility of the previous image. Architecture thus had to be destroyed in order to prevent this political image to emerge. It is time that our governments understand that whatever is public, belongs to the public and should be returned to the public. In regions of conflict, architecture plays a significant role within systems of occupation, hierarchy, power structure and territoriality. Architecture can change its role to constructive social phenomenon by removing a fifteen centimetre thick line which marks one territory distinct from another in the form of a wall. Architecture can thus influence territoriality, establish ownership and substantiate claim on land and resources. If the crime of encroachment and force intervention is architectural, the evidence is also architectural.”

David Satterthwaite

Risk and the Informal City David Satterthwaite is a development planner specialised in integrating environmental health and resource management into urban plans and policies. He works as a Senior Fellow with the Human Settlements Programme at the International Institute of Environment and Development (IIED). He has been the editor of the international journal Environment and Urbanisation and a co-author of several Earth scan books including Environmental Problems in an Urbanising World: Local solutions for cities in Africa, Asia and Latin America (with Jorge E Hardoy & Diana Mitlin), Earthscan, 2000. He is the recipient of the 2004 Volvo Environment Prize. “You cannot work if the establishments see slums as outside entities” On development, disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation in informal cities:

“T

relate to the informal settlements. One of the most prominent issues in the current times of climate change is whether our cities are resilient enough he present times have seen a paradigm shift in the attitudes of the to the effects of the climate change. A key to dealing with the effects of governments across the world when the authorities have started to climate change is to understand that climate change response is a local


76 issue and has to be tackled locally by engaging the effected community in using their inherent competence and capacity. Good sensitive development can reduce risks due to climate change. The coming decade will witness more frequent and extreme climatic changes. In this situation, the risk faced by an individual household can be determined by the quality of housing and infrastructure. The quality and effectiveness of land use management can reduce risk to a great extent. It is an obvious observation that in the informal settlements, the key risk resilience factors are not present. Taking into account, a study on who dies in cyclones, we know that 81 per cent of total cyclone deaths are in low income nations. Low quality of housing with no infrastructure on danger prone lands contributes heavily to this figure. Japan has more people exposed to tropical cyclones as compared to Philippines but if a cyclone of same magnitude affects Japan and Philippines, the mortality in Philippines will be 17 times more than Japan. People living in informal settlements are much more prone to risk as compared to serviced settlements. The most important ingredients of a good, risk resilient development are good land-use planning and good infrastructure. A good quality infrastructure not only reduces risk but also helps in quick and effective action after disaster. The city governments should work with the citizens to identify and work on risk. Cities like Mumbai are much less resilient to risks of climate change owing to a superfast economic development. This fact can be changed if the city governments are prepared to work with the residents of the informal

The low resilience of the informal sector against natural disasters.

settlements and where those in informal settlements recognise the need to be pro-active in working with government. The first task in any city is to build a database on who is maximum exposed to risk. In India, organisations like Mahila Milan and the National Slum Dwellers’ Federation are collecting data to map vulnerability of the risk prone settlements. The vulnerability map of Cuttack was made with the help of Mahila Milan volunteers by data collected through a GPS. Such data can help the local government to intervene and the Intergovernmental Panel on climate change to assess the effectiveness of the interventions. Community driven mapping can engage those most at risk and get their cooperation in risk reduction. In order to make the informal settlements resilient to risks of climate change, the governments cannot continue to see slums as outside entities.”

Prof. Edgar Pieterse

Structural Exclusion Breeds Informality

“The policy response to informality has morphed into a different kind of informality”.

Professor Edgar Pieterse holds the DST/NRF South Africa Research chair in Urban Policy. He directs the African Centre for Cities at the University of Cape Town. His publications include Counter Currents: Experiments in Sustainability in the Cape Town Region (Jacana, 2010); The African Cities Reader (Chimurenga, 2010); City Futures: Confronting the Crisis of Urban Development (Zed Books, 2008) and Consolidating Developmental Local Government (UTC Press, 2008). His work focuses on topics ranging across cultural planning, planning theory, urban culture, local economic development, sustainable cities and African urbanism.

Reflections on Design & Informality

“T

he settlement patterns of South Africa follow a model similar in many ways to the Indian cities. A South African city has a dense core where economic activities are concentrated while the poor infill the no-man’s

lands with minimal supportive infrastructure. The policies of development induce an indirect and systemic exclusion of the poor from the city. Major urban centres contribute more than 70 per cent to the overall economic development of the country. This phenomenon gives rise to an influx of people in the urban centres.


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The city and its intersecting programs as embedded cultural values.

In South Africa, informality is relatively small compared to the size of the unemployment problem. Unemployment arises out of a structural economic exclusion which in turn breeds informality. Diversities in urban landscape are thus reflections of the diversity in income. This phenomenon gives rise to two distinctly identifiable cities within one. The traditional slum problem morphs into a new kind of informality arising from the economic exclusion. The historic patterns of underinvestment owing to the apartheid as well as a focus on housing units not the spaces in between (public spaces) has lead to degraded environments. This hampers economic development and investment in these areas. Economic and social fragmentation is a common feature of every city giving rise to monofunctional living environments. There is also an impossible chase to narrow the gap between demand and supply to public housing. A policy response to replace the ‘slum’ by the ‘public housing’ gives rise to a new kind of informality due to the deficit in provision of public housing. It thus becomes much more practical to upgrade the existing informal settlement instead of free housing to replace the informal settlement. In-situ upgradation of slums can solve many problems of space concerning informality in the cities. It will take a politically resonant paradigm shift in thinking and practice of the urban followed by a complete institutional redesign to meet this deficit.

An alternative take on urban sustainability deals in focusing on spatiality, institutions, power, complexity and culture. “A central idea that perhaps has not been explicit enough yet is that the city and its various interacting programmes are profoundly embedded in people’s cultural values. To get to the heart of people’s choices, we must start with their desires – the desires of citizens, politicians, entrepreneurs, investors, and developers who are caught in the web of existing reward systems that simply reinforce unsustainable patterns of living and aspiration. It is essential to find other ways in which city life, city building and community can be made desirable; the political challenge for all sustainability activists is to seduce ordinary people (and their political representatives) with the real prospect of a more exciting, fulfilling, just and secure life if they search for more sustainable lifestyles”. (Pieterse, 23 / 10 / 2010) To bring about a significant change, urban practitioners and thinkers will have to redesign the pool of infrastructure, land, education, social development funding to reinforce a new approach to settlement formation; come to terms with “affordability” limits; diversify through slum improvement incrementalism & delve on well located GAP housing to build a viable rental segment (surgical spatial incisions), drive serious land reform and underpin everything with a ‘public infrastructure first’ approach.”


78

The third session on Day 2, 23 rd October 2010 of the 361° CONFERENCE 2010: DESIGN & INFORMAL CITIES was moderated by David Mohney. David Mohney is the secretary for the Curry Stone Design Prize. This session contained lectures by Wes Janz, Co-Director of CapAsia program and Alejandro Echeverri, Director of Urban Planning, Medellin (2005 – 2007). Both the speakers are recipients of The Curry Stone Design Prize. The session was followed by a Panel Discussion.

Wes Janz

Salvage Architecture Wes Janz is an architectural educator at Ball State University. Janz unites his professional education—MArch, UW–Milwaukee, 1978; Ph.D., University of Michigan, 1995 with building activities for the world’s working and urban poor. He is also Co-Director of CapAsia, an 11-week immersive program that provides a cross section of world architecture, urbanism and planning for graduate and undergraduate students in selected South Asian regions and cities. With students, faculty colleagues and his collaborators in 26262625 Architects, he has constructed no-cost installations built of scavenged materials in Argentina, Sri Lanka and the U.S. “One of the first thing someone does while coming to a city is to find shelter” In the Mind’s Eye, Of the Hand’s Grasp

“A

rchitecture matters. It defines a space, makes a shelter and identifies a place. Notions of space, place and shelter can be very powerful in defining our urban landscapes. The fact that universities in India and in the U.S. have the same curriculum gives a deep sense of failure of the ‘Architectural School’ in responding to urbanism unique to each place. In informal settlements, just like our formal settlements, people are organised to build. The levels of organisation, expertise, budgets and resources vary. By involving in the act of building in person, one can understand the underlying processes on scavenging and salvaging inherent to informality. The students involved in the CapAsia program in Colombo in 2003 went through a ‘Design & Make’ to create small structures in the form of pavilions in mud and timber. Through this process of Build – Design – Build, a designer can understand the understated process involved in making one’s own home. Architects should involve themselves as catalysts in these relatively small but hugely significant processes of building that go on in the informal sector. An architect in such an alternative role will give rise to an alternative practice. It is also important for an architect to work with people. It is important to understand the dynamics of a village based within the limits of the city built by recycled materials from the city. Working amongst self-builders, an architect can contribute through his expertise in dealing with diverse

The case of Seoul: An expressway replaced by a river to connect the city.

materials. Small architecture collectively gives rise to big landscapes. “As we understand the conditions in which many people live, I wonder if we can base our work there as architects. Not only in clients and contracts and deadlines and cost estimates; not only in symmetric theories and aesthetics and in works of star architects making trophy buildings; not only in technologies and in current concepts of sustainability, but in people”. (Janz, 23 / 10 / 2010). Can knowing people matter in work as an architect? “


79

Alejandro Echeverri

The Tale of Two Cities Graduated in 1987 from the Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana (UPB) in Medellín, Colombia, Echeverri studied from 1998 to 2000 in the Urban Studies Doctoral Program at the Barcelona Advanced Technical School of Architecture (ETSAB). He was a Professor and Director of UPB Architectural Studies Group. His work received recognition in 1996, when he was awarded the Fernando Martinez Sanabria National Architecture Prize from the Colombian Architecture Society, the same year in which he won honourable mention at the Panamerican Biennial Architecture Exhibition in Quito, Ecuador. For the municipality of Medellín, he was Director of Urban Planning from 2005 to 2007 and General Director of the Enterprise for Urban Development (EDU) 2004 to 2005, during the administration of Mayor Sergio Fajardo. Alejandro Echeverri talks about transformative power of architecture and urbanism.

E

cheverri’s Presentation in the conference was titled ‘Social Urbanism’ and gave an insight into the role of Urban Design as a tool for bringing about social change. For a detailed article on Echeverri’s works and thoughts in Medellin, refer to the article titled ‘Weaving urbanism . . . Reviving worlds’

The second day of the 361° CONFERENCE 2010: DESIGN & INFORMAL CITIES was followed by The ESSAR STEEL MASTERSTROKES ICON LECTURE by Master Architect RICHARD MEIER.

“I think, any work of architecture that has, with it, some discussion, some polemic, is good. It shows that people are interested and people are involved.”

A

fter the series of lectures and panel discussions, 361 °- The Conference 2010 concluded with an enduring lecture by the living legend, Richard Meier. Through his lecture, he gave an insight into ideas and thought processes behind his celebrated projects. Every project he presented had a special story to tell and a new idea to propagate. Meier also narrated

Richard Meier, master architect and a recipient of the Pritzker Architecture Prize, is noted for his modernist style. Richard Meier has designed and executed iconic public and private spaces worldwide. Amongst his best known works are the Getty Center in Los Angeles and the Jubilee Church in Rome. A champion of the evolution of the modern discipline, Richard Meier, through his five decades of architectural practice, has explored architecture that transcends fashion and seeks to build an aesthetic argument that stands the test of time. personal stories which shaped these unique architectural ideas. Three concepts of his design vocabulary, light, colour and place were quite evident throughout his presentation. He also focussed on how basic geometries, layered definitions of spaces and effects of light and shade allowed creation of clear and comprehensible architecture.


74 IA&B - NOV 2010

The second day of the 361° CONFERENCE 2010: DESIGN & INFORMAL CITIES started with a film screening by Amrit Gangar.

Dharavi - Walk To Informality

Delegates at ‘Dharavi’

A

f ter the series of lec tures and the movie sc re e n i n g, a l l d e l e g ate s and speakers reached D haravi –normally re f e rre d to a s “ Th e largest slum in Asia”. D haravi Walk provide d d e e p e r i n s i g ht s o n life in an Indian informal cit y. As an inform a l s e t t l e m e nt i n t h e hear t of Mumbai, it retains the emotional a n d h i s to ri ca l p u l l o f the Indian sub - continent. It is a patina of p e o p l e, a c t i v i t i e s a n d aspiration. D haravi is of ten referred as an e m b a rra s s i n g e ye s o re in the middle of Mumbai, but for people res i d i n g i n D h a rav i i t i s their address.

Dharavi at a glance.

“ D h a rav i i s n o t m e re ly a s l u m ; i t i s a c i t y w i t h i n a c i t y. I t i s re a l ly a n i n d u s t ri a l, co m m e rc i a l h u b w i t h c l o s e to m ay b e $ 1 . 5 b i l l i o n t u rn ove r p e r ye a r. Ei g ht y p e r ce nt o f t h e re s i d e nt s d raw t h e i r l i ve l i h o o d f ro m w i t h i n D h a rav i .” (G a u t a m Ch at te r j e e - 2 2 n d O c to b e r 2 0 1 0 , 3 6 1 ° Co n f e re n ce, M u m b a i . )


focus

design & informal cities

The first session on Day 2, 23 rd October 2010 of the 361° CONFERENCE 2010: DESIGN & INFORMAL CITIES was moderated by Sheela Patel. Sheela Patel titled the session ‘Reflections’ with lectures by Aromar Revi, Founder Director, TARU; Peter Head, Director of Planning and Integrated Urbanism at Arup and Alfredo Brillembourg, Founder of the Urban Think Tank. The session was followed by a Panel Discussion.

Aromar Revi

Dramatic Challenges, Dramatic Opportunities. Aromar Revi is a researcher, international consultant and practitioner with extensive inter-disciplinary experience in public policy development, technology and sustainability. He is the Founder Director of TARU, a leading South Asian Research consulting firm. He has been a Senior Advisor to various ministries to the Government of India and a consultant to various multilateral and bilateral development institutes including the World Bank, UNEP, UNU and DFID. Over the last two years, he has been a part of a team working on the dynamics of decentralised governance in India. Aromar was elected an Ashoka Fellow in 1990. He is one of South Asia’s leading disaster mitigation and management experts. “The Indian constitution is a colonial conception”

Day 2-Excerpts from the lectures: Ruturaj Parikh Photographs: courtesy IA&B and the speakers To view the 361˚Conference lectures, log on to www.aecworldxp.com

Emerging Urban India and the Informal City.

“I

ndia faces fundamental structural challenges in dealing with the questions of informality. The Indian constitutional settlement, 1947-1950 was built on the foundations of the Government of India Act of 1935. The Indian Constitution thus drafted was weak on the ‘Urban’ as India was imagined as a predominantly rural landscape. The Constitution was also strong on western institutions which resulted in the negligence of certain fundamental Indian realities of faith, caste, community, ethnicity and gender. Hence the issue of urban informality lies in the ‘grey zone’ of our constitution. Mumbai has the largest informal population compared to any other city on the planet. From the urban migration trends of the Greater Mumbai Metropolitan Area, it can be inferred that there is high level of dependency and low level of education in the informal sector with issues of male dominance. In Mumbai, a relatively cosmopolitan city, though the ownership is very high (69 per cent) almost 45 per cent housing is built with temporary roofing systems. With one of the largest land market failures owing to mismanagement of land resources, the city has become a slum capital of the world with remarkable densities. There is a rampant increase in underserviced housing areas and communities with problems of water and sanitation, open defecation, mismanaged landuse in spite of 98 per cent of households having access to electricity. Due to an increasing

The Indian megacities in 2031.

polarisation of wealth distribution in the city combined with declining quality of public services and governance, the development model of Mumbai Metropolitan Region is clearly unsustainable.


76 Is the Mumbai model being replicated in other parts of the country? Owing to a great deficit in the number of urban practitioners with an ability to design for gross densities of approximately 3750 persons per acre, the coming two decades of urban explosion presents a great design and planning challenge. India will add 300 million people to its cities till 2031 with three of the world’s largest megacities: Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata. A wide range of technical, institutional and social innovations will be required to save our cities from a complete ‘systemic urban breakdown’. Still in 2031, India will primarily be a rural country with more than 50 per cent of its population living in the villages. The Mumbai Metropolitan area will have a GDP greater than many countries today with a population more than present day Canada. The city will thus have to address large absolute populations with

large proportions of poor simultaneously bridging the gaps between the ‘winners’ and the ‘losers’. Thus by replicating the present urban model, are we reproducing ‘informality’ nationally? Slums and informalities are an endemic part if the Indian urban landscape with almost half of the urban employment in the informal sector. With only 5 per cent of the total houses built in 1998 being built by contractors, 95 per cent of our urban settlements are still built by local communities and artisans. This predicament deeply challenges our capacity to plan in the coming two decades and presents an opportunity for architects and urban planners to develop a capacity to respond to informality. Engaging urban informality should be central to the future responses to urbanism.”

Peter Head

Optimise, not Maximise Peter Head is a Director at Arup and leads the newly integrated business of Planning and Integrated Urbanism. He graduated in Civil Engineering from the Imperial College, London and is a recognised world expert on sustainable development of cities. He is a recipient of The Order of British Empire (OBE) for services to the industry.

“The American low density sprawl is a failed model of development” Sustainability and the Informal City

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he biggest question we face today is how would the world live with 9 billion people by 2050. With 59 per cent of total urban population, the urban informal settlements in India dominate the world. We can notice in Cuba that by a surprising turn of events with its imports on oil blocked by the U.S., Cuba has turned into the most successful sustainable model of development in the world. Havana is a remarkably sustainable urban agglomeration. Our targets for 2050 should be a 50 per cent reduction in world carbon emissions (w.r.t 1990 emissions) along with a stable increase in Human Development Index (HDI). If we achieve this target, we can enter an ecological age. To achieve a sustainable development, the developing countries like India should make a transition from the ‘Agricultural Age’ to the ‘Ecological Age’ skipping the failed ‘World Class’ model. The progress should be based on a new paradigm of urban and rural development with integrated urban-rural

resource flows. Such a paradigm shift can happen if the government policies are changed to value natural capital and fair distribution of resources. Manmohan Singh, the Prime Minister of India recently said “Our vision is to make India’s economic development energy efficient…Our people have

The case of Seoul: An expressway replaced by a river to connect the city.


77 a right to economic and social development and to discard the ignominy of widespread poverty”. India can achieve this said target by following few simple agendas. India should diversify and cooperate, use waste as resource, gather and use energy efficiently, use materials sparingly, clean up and not pollute, do not draw down resources, capitalise on information and use local resources. Efficient management of food, water, raw materials and energy can make the core of any planned development. India will also have to strengthen the presently fragile linkages between its urban and rural segments. One significant contribution to make our cities more sustainable can come from an efficient public transport system. The present

crowding of cars in the city can be substantially reduced by encouraging safe pedestrian movement through the city. The city will also have to manage its waste efficiently. The problems related to informality can be resolved by identifying the problems of land rights to enable a secure tenure to the poor. Participatory planning can bridge the gap between community and the government. Integrated sustainable development can ensure that countries like India treat informality as a resource rather than a problem.”

Alfredo Brillembourg

From What It Is to What It Could Be Alfredo Brillembourg founded the Urban Think Tank, a multi-disciplinary design practice dedicated to high level research and design on contemporary architecture and urbanism in Caracas, Venezuela. UTT aims to deliver innovative yet practical solutions through combined skills of architects, civil engineers, environmental planners, landscape architects and communication specialists. Their designs reflect sensibility to economic efficiency, cultural benefits and social realities. “The ‘Slum’ that you call ‘Slum’, we call it home” Den(s)city

“I

nformality may be out of the legal system but it is certainly not criminal. The three primary issues related to informality can be summarised in TAR: Territory, Authority and Rights. It does not matter if the process of design starts from the ethical point of view or the aesthetic point of view. It is important that there is a discourse from one point of view to the other. It is time we think about the ‘Slum’ as a sustainable and living urban model. Our beliefs pertaining to informality are based on social programming. We believe what we believe because we are told to believe that. It is time we take every established fact of our urbanity and produce a counter argument. Owing to an alarming fact that Cuba is the most sustainable model of development in the world, sustainability in the coming decades will look like Dharavi + Damascus model. Dharavi thus is not out of formal, it is an alternative model of development. ‘Transformation’ is the key word. Architecture can transform a reality into something preferred. The architect can and should do more. An architect is also a citizen. Architects should take a stand in the war against poverty.

‘Professionality’ should transcend conventional wisdom rather than binding architects in a bracket of what ‘should be’. Our cities have overgrown to become ‘Unknown Territories’. It is very important to understand that urbanism is ‘frozen politics’. It is very important to think beyond the ‘slab’ as the only modern image of our architecture. We have misinterpreted the ‘Domino House’ model of architecture proposed by Le Corbusier for rapid post war reconstruction system. It was supposed to be an adaptive system of construction rather than an aesthetic vocabulary. The issue is that almost 99 per cent of published projects in the books and magazines come from private initiatives while 99 per cent of non descript housing and urbanism happens from public initiatives. We have thus failed to create a bracket for informal realities in formal approaches of design. The informalities of our cities develop in the grey zones of the fabric of the city owing to a policy of negligence towards these zones by the authority. The ‘I have nothing to do with it’ approach has gone too far. The project in the informal sector in Caracas was based on a simple agenda of transforming the worst areas of Caracas into the best areas of Caracas. The neglected


78 areas of Caracas were kept that way because if the authorities map these areas, they are responsible for these areas. The informal settlements in any city contribute to the social, economical and cultural landscape of that city. The future discourse of development in a city like Mumbai must take this significant contribution into account, otherwise slums and shanty towns will be the most hazard prone areas of our cities. The strategy of design in the informal sector in Caracas brought about a huge change by following few simple rules. The process started with adding infrastructure to the existing networks rather than replacing them with new infrastructure. Then a network of social buildings like schools and gymnasiums were developed as networks of urban inserts in the fabric of the city. These interventions were done with an understanding that density is a social phenomenon more than a spatial one. The existing quality of housing in the informal sector was upgraded and not replaced. One of the very important interventions in Caracas was addition of public spaces. Thus,

The Metrocable connecting the informal city to the formal.

by creating counter arguments, it is possible to view informality as a noncriminal reality, it is possible to view density as a positive and a sustainable alternative model of development and it is possible to view the investment in the informal sector as a positive investment in the future of any city.“

The second session on Day 2, 23 rd October 2010 of the 361° CONFERENCE 2010: DESIGN & INFORMAL CITIES was moderated by Dr. Jessica Wallack. Dr. Jessica Wallack leads the Centre for Development Finance and is a Professor at the Institute of Finance and Management Research in Chennai. Her research focuses on ways in which individual knowledge and beliefs interact with institutional pressures to create development politics and economics. She has also worked at the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and Inter American Development Bank. Dr. Wallack earned her B.A. from Harvard University. Jessica Wallack titled the session ‘Urban dynamics in a Chaotic World’ with lectures by Eyal Weizman, Director of the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths College; David Satterthwaite, Senior Fellow with Human Settlements Program at IIED and Prof. Edgar Pieterse, Director of The African Centre for Cities at University of Cape Town. The session was followed by a Panel Discussion.

Eyal Weizman

Architectural Forensics Eyal Weizman holds a Ph.D. from the London Consortium, Brikbeck College. He is the Director of the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths College. Since 2007, he is a member of an architectural collective ‘decolonising architecture’ in Beit Sahour, Palestine. Weizman has taught, lectured, curated and organised conferences in many institutes worldwide. Having published many books including The Lesser Evil (Nottetempo, 2009), Hollow Land (Verso Books, 2007) and the series Territories 1, 2 and 3, Weizman is the recipient of the James Sterling Memorial Lecture Prize for 2006–07. “We are used to look at informality as an act of the dispossessed” Palestine by the Israeli authorities is a simultaneous process of ‘decolonisation’ and ‘colonisation’. It is a systematic architectural process of construction and rchitecture is often an instrument in war crimes. The systematic destruction to exercise force. Architecture, thus becomes instrumental in destruction and construction process in the occupied territories in modifying urban landscapes to exercise authority. We tend to see the acts of

Political Plastic

“A


79 modification of the urban by the government as an act of restoring order and the act of resistance thus deemed as illegal. By alternative master planning, we have defined what is and is not within the preview of the government. But illegal encroachment is not always an act of the unwanted. If the urban landscape of a place is a manifestation of its politics and policies, an urban landscape of a political system in continuous movement is under a constant change by exposure and resistance to force. Thus the political plastic of a place shapes its urban plastic. The phenomenon of using state influence to occupy land in conflict areas is not new. It starts establishing an argument for a certain place to be ‘chaotic’ followed by an act of intervention to restore ‘order’, which at times is through force. The resistance to this force is automatically deemed illegal. The modern definitions of colonisation thus do not relate to the modernist idea of colonisation. The modern colonisations are not about fixity but about an urban landscape in constant movement. When the Israeli government decided to evacuate some of the settlements from Gaza in a span between Summer andonSpring of 2005, it was faced with Alfredo Brillembourg stressing the a rather odd question. much Whatneeded to dotransformation. with the infrastructure and architecture of the place? What to do with the roads and the post offices and the houses? How to occupy the house of one’s enemy? A predicament which prompted a discussion between Mahatma Gandhi and Nehru on what role should a building like the present Rashtrapati Bhavan have once it is unplugged from the political power that built it. Can an architectural legacy built as a potent symbol of one political power, serve as a symbol for another which

The symbolic public reclamation of an authoritative structure.

replaces the previous one? The image of Arabs living in homes of the Jews will designate a reversal and thus a reversibility of the previous image. Architecture thus had to be destroyed in order to prevent this political image to emerge. It is time that our governments understand that whatever is public, belongs to the public and should be returned to the public. In regions of conflict, architecture plays a significant role within systems of occupation, hierarchy, power structure and territoriality. Architecture can change its role to constructive social phenomenon by removing a fifteen centimetre thick line which marks one territory distinct from another in the form of a wall. Architecture can thus influence territoriality, establish ownership and substantiate claim on land and resources. If the crime of encroachment and force intervention is architectural, the evidence is also architectural.”

David Satterthwaite

Risk and the Informal City David Satterthwaite is a development planner specialised in integrating environmental health and resource management into urban plans and policies. He works as a Senior Fellow with the Human Settlements Programme at the International Institute of Environment and Development (IIED). He has been the editor of the international journal Environment and Urbanisation and a co-author of several Earth scan books including Environmental Problems in an Urbanising World: Local solutions for cities in Africa, Asia and Latin America (with Jorge E Hardoy & Diana Mitlin), Earthscan, 2000. He is the recipient of the 2004 Volvo Environment Prize. “You cannot work if the establishments see slums as outside entities” On development, disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation in informal cities:

“T

relate to the informal settlements. One of the most prominent issues in the current times of climate change is whether our cities are resilient enough he present times have seen a paradigm shift in the attitudes of the to the effects of the climate change. A key to dealing with the effects of governments across the world when the authorities have started to climate change is to understand that climate change response is a local


80 issue and has to be tackled locally by engaging the effected community in using their inherent competence and capacity. Good sensitive development can reduce risks due to climate change. The coming decade will witness more frequent and extreme climatic changes. In this situation, the risk faced by an individual household can be determined by the quality of housing and infrastructure. The quality and effectiveness of land use management can reduce risk to a great extent. It is an obvious observation that in the informal settlements, the key risk resilience factors are not present. Taking into account, a study on who dies in cyclones, we know that 81 per cent of total cyclone deaths are in low income nations. Low quality of housing with no infrastructure on danger prone lands contributes heavily to this figure. Japan has more people exposed to tropical cyclones as compared to Philippines but if a cyclone of same magnitude affects Japan and Philippines, the mortality in Philippines will be 17 times more than Japan. People living in informal settlements are much more prone to risk as compared to serviced settlements. The most important ingredients of a good, risk resilient development are good land-use planning and good infrastructure. A good quality infrastructure not only reduces risk but also helps in quick and effective action after disaster. The city governments should work with the citizens to identify and work on risk. Cities like Mumbai are much less resilient to risks of climate change owing to a superfast economic development. This fact can be changed if the city governments are prepared to work with the residents of the informal

The low resilience of the informal sector against natural disasters.

settlements and where those in informal settlements recognise the need to be pro-active in working with government. The first task in any city is to build a database on who is maximum exposed to risk. In India, organisations like Mahila Milan and the National Slum Dwellers’ Federation are collecting data to map vulnerability of the risk prone settlements. The vulnerability map of Cuttack was made with the help of Mahila Milan volunteers by data collected through a GPS. Such data can help the local government to intervene and the Intergovernmental Panel on climate change to assess the effectiveness of the interventions. Community driven mapping can engage those most at risk and get their cooperation in risk reduction. In order to make the informal settlements resilient to risks of climate change, the governments cannot continue to see slums as outside entities.”

Prof. Edgar Pieterse

Structural Exclusion Breeds Informality

“The policy response to informality has morphed into a different kind of informality”.

Professor Edgar Pieterse holds the DST/NRF South Africa Research chair in Urban Policy. He directs the African Centre for Cities at the University of Cape Town. His publications include Counter Currents: Experiments in Sustainability in the Cape Town Region (Jacana, 2010); The African Cities Reader (Chimurenga, 2010); City Futures: Confronting the Crisis of Urban Development (Zed Books, 2008) and Consolidating Developmental Local Government (UTC Press, 2008). His work focuses on topics ranging across cultural planning, planning theory, urban culture, local economic development, sustainable cities and African urbanism.

Reflections on Design & Informality

“T

he settlement patterns of South Africa follow a model similar in many ways to the Indian cities. A South African city has a dense core where economic activities are concentrated while the poor infill the no-man’s

lands with minimal supportive infrastructure. The policies of development induce an indirect and systemic exclusion of the poor from the city. Major urban centres contribute more than 70 per cent to the overall economic development of the country. This phenomenon gives rise to an influx of people in the urban centres.


81

The city and its intersecting programs as embedded cultural values.

In South Africa, informality is relatively small compared to the size of the unemployment problem. Unemployment arises out of a structural economic exclusion which in turn breeds informality. Diversities in urban landscape are thus reflections of the diversity in income. This phenomenon gives rise to two distinctly identifiable cities within one. The traditional slum problem morphs into a new kind of informality arising from the economic exclusion. The historic patterns of underinvestment owing to the apartheid as well as a focus on housing units not the spaces in between (public spaces) has lead to degraded environments. This hampers economic development and investment in these areas. Economic and social fragmentation is a common feature of every city giving rise to monofunctional living environments. There is also an impossible chase to narrow the gap between demand and supply to public housing. A policy response to replace the ‘slum’ by the ‘public housing’ gives rise to a new kind of informality due to the deficit in provision of public housing. It thus becomes much more practical to upgrade the existing informal settlement instead of free housing to replace the informal settlement. In-situ upgradation of slums can solve many problems of space concerning informality in the cities. It will take a politically resonant paradigm shift in thinking and practice of the urban followed by a complete institutional redesign to meet this deficit.

An alternative take on urban sustainability deals in focusing on spatiality, institutions, power, complexity and culture. “A central idea that perhaps has not been explicit enough yet is that the city and its various interacting programmes are profoundly embedded in people’s cultural values. To get to the heart of people’s choices, we must start with their desires – the desires of citizens, politicians, entrepreneurs, investors, and developers who are caught in the web of existing reward systems that simply reinforce unsustainable patterns of living and aspiration. It is essential to find other ways in which city life, city building and community can be made desirable; the political challenge for all sustainability activists is to seduce ordinary people (and their political representatives) with the real prospect of a more exciting, fulfilling, just and secure life if they search for more sustainable lifestyles”. (Pieterse, 23 / 10 / 2010) To bring about a significant change, urban practitioners and thinkers will have to redesign the pool of infrastructure, land, education, social development funding to reinforce a new approach to settlement formation; come to terms with “affordability” limits; diversify through slum improvement incrementalism & delve on well located GAP housing to build a viable rental segment (surgical spatial incisions), drive serious land reform and underpin everything with a ‘public infrastructure first’ approach.”


82

The third session on Day 2, 23 rd October 2010 of the 361° CONFERENCE 2010: DESIGN & INFORMAL CITIES was moderated by David Mohney. David Mohney is the secretary for the Curry Stone Design Prize. This session contained lectures by Wes Janz, Co-Director of CapAsia program and Alejandro Echeverri, Director of Urban Planning, Medellin (2005 – 2007). Both the speakers are recipients of The Curry Stone Design Prize. The session was followed by a Panel Discussion.

Wes Janz

Salvage Architecture Wes Janz is an architectural educator at Ball State University. Janz unites his professional education—MArch, UW–Milwaukee, 1978; Ph.D., University of Michigan, 1995 with building activities for the world’s working and urban poor. He is also Co-Director of CapAsia, an 11-week immersive program that provides a cross section of world architecture, urbanism and planning for graduate and undergraduate students in selected South Asian regions and cities. With students, faculty colleagues and his collaborators in 26262625 Architects, he has constructed no-cost installations built of scavenged materials in Argentina, Sri Lanka and the U.S. “One of the first thing someone does while coming to a city is to find shelter” In the Mind’s Eye, Of the Hand’s Grasp

“A

rchitecture matters. It defines a space, makes a shelter and identifies a place. Notions of space, place and shelter can be very powerful in defining our urban landscapes. The fact that universities in India and in the U.S. have the same curriculum gives a deep sense of failure of the ‘Architectural School’ in responding to urbanism unique to each place. In informal settlements, just like our formal settlements, people are organised to build. The levels of organisation, expertise, budgets and resources vary. By involving in the act of building in person, one can understand the underlying processes on scavenging and salvaging inherent to informality. The students involved in the CapAsia program in Colombo in 2003 went through a ‘Design & Make’ to create small structures in the form of pavilions in mud and timber. Through this process of Build – Design – Build, a designer can understand the understated process involved in making one’s own home. Architects should involve themselves as catalysts in these relatively small but hugely significant processes of building that go on in the informal sector. An architect in such an alternative role will give rise to an alternative practice. It is also important for an architect to work with people. It is important to understand the dynamics of a village based within the limits of the city built by recycled materials from the city. Working amongst self-builders, an architect can contribute through his expertise in dealing with diverse

The case of Seoul: An expressway replaced by a river to connect the city.

materials. Small architecture collectively gives rise to big landscapes. “As we understand the conditions in which many people live, I wonder if we can base our work there as architects. Not only in clients and contracts and deadlines and cost estimates; not only in symmetric theories and aesthetics and in works of star architects making trophy buildings; not only in technologies and in current concepts of sustainability, but in people”. (Janz, 23 / 10 / 2010). Can knowing people matter in work as an architect? “


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Alejandro Echeverri

The Tale of Two Cities Graduated in 1987 from the Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana (UPB) in Medellín, Colombia, Echeverri studied from 1998 to 2000 in the Urban Studies Doctoral Program at the Barcelona Advanced Technical School of Architecture (ETSAB). He was a Professor and Director of UPB Architectural Studies Group. His work received recognition in 1996, when he was awarded the Fernando Martinez Sanabria National Architecture Prize from the Colombian Architecture Society, the same year in which he won honourable mention at the Panamerican Biennial Architecture Exhibition in Quito, Ecuador. For the municipality of Medellín, he was Director of Urban Planning from 2005 to 2007 and General Director of the Enterprise for Urban Development (EDU) 2004 to 2005, during the administration of Mayor Sergio Fajardo. Alejandro Echeverri talks about transformative power of architecture and urbanism.

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cheverri’s Presentation in the conference was titled ‘Social Urbanism’ and gave an insight into the role of Urban Design as a tool for bringing about social change. For a detailed article on Echeverri’s works and thoughts in Medellin, refer to the article titled ‘Weaving urbanism . . . Reviving worlds’

The second day of the 361° CONFERENCE 2010: DESIGN & INFORMAL CITIES was followed by The ESSAR STEEL MASTERSTROKES ICON LECTURE by Master Architect RICHARD MEIER.

“I think, any work of architecture that has, with it, some discussion, some polemic, is good. It shows that people are interested and people are involved.”

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fter the series of lectures and panel discussions, 361 °- The Conference 2010 concluded with an enduring lecture by the living legend, Richard Meier. Through his lecture, he gave an insight into ideas and thought processes behind his celebrated projects. Every project he presented had a special story to tell and a new idea to propagate. Meier also narrated

Richard Meier, master architect and a recipient of the Pritzker Architecture Prize, is noted for his modernist style. Richard Meier has designed and executed iconic public and private spaces worldwide. Amongst his best known works are the Getty Center in Los Angeles and the Jubilee Church in Rome. A champion of the evolution of the modern discipline, Richard Meier, through his five decades of architectural practice, has explored architecture that transcends fashion and seeks to build an aesthetic argument that stands the test of time. personal stories which shaped these unique architectural ideas. Three concepts of his design vocabulary, light, colour and place were quite evident throughout his presentation. He also focussed on how basic geometries, layered definitions of spaces and effects of light and shade allowed creation of clear and comprehensible architecture.


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Design beyond the planned realm This issue focuses on the informal sector in Architecture and Urban Design, chronicling the works and ideas of architects, urban designers, academicians, policy makers and activists whose multidisciplinary practices and pragmatic design approaches have brought about significant and positive social changes in the informal realm. Text and Photographs: Ruturaj Parikh

T

he coming decade will witness a paradigm shift in the way we look at our cities. Wednesday, May 23, 2007 marks a symbolic landmark day when the world urban population surpassed the rural population of the world. This phenomenon presents an unprecedented challenge to make our cities capable to support such an influx of humanity. The urban environs of our future will have to cater to the dreams and realities of more than half of the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s population and as the statistics predict, by 2050, our cities will support two thirds of the humanity. The present day architecture and urban design practice has largely overlooked the social aspect of design. The needs of the masses

Informality balances the deficit of the formal city.

have seldom been addressed making architecture client centric. The present day urban agglomerations have developed rigid boundaries between extremes owing to an insensitive developmental approach. The modern city has definable and at times visible lines separating the formal from the informal, the legal from the illegal, the public from the private, the metropolis from the slum. As inhabitants of one of these superdense megapolises, we always find ourselves on either side of these lines. On one hand, the modern city aspires to be â&#x20AC;&#x153;world classâ&#x20AC;? while on the other; denies even the fundamental rights to its citizens. This partiality in attitude / duality in nature results in a conflict.


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comment

Political scientist Herbert Simon once wrote that design is “changing existing situations into preferred ones”. The modernist ethic of architecture which is primarily based on formal, spatial and material explorations is being rethought to cater to the needs of superfast urbanism. There is a need for architecture and urban design to be more purpose oriented in order to duly address the needs of the masses. Although significant thought is being given to the ‘ideal’ role of architecture and urban design practices in shaping our urban environs, formal architecture has not succeeded to make our cities safe and sustainable.

Informal markets make Indian streets vibrant public open spaces.

There is a need for architecture of our cities to be all inclusive. It is very vital, for once; to think of design practice without clearly defining the client. Inclusive architecture and urban design will make our cities more inviting, friendly and secure. Social architecture has a potential to make our public spaces more public, infrastructure more accessible, housing more affordable and environment healthier. Purpose oriented design approaches can blur the lines of conflict by making design, a more collaborative and collective act. It can facilitate greater interaction and overlapping of extremes can result into positive and more amicable mutations. Proactive architecture can assist creation of profound networks which in turn help better management and sharing of resources. More than anything, people centric architecture and urban design can ensure that every citizen of the city of our future lives with dignity.


84 IA&B - NOV 2010

Design beyond the planned realm This issue focuses on the informal sector in Architecture and Urban Design, chronicling the works and ideas of architects, urban designers, academicians, policy makers and activists whose multidisciplinary practices and pragmatic design approaches have brought about significant and positive social changes in the informal realm. Text and Photographs: Ruturaj Parikh

T

he coming decade will witness a paradigm shift in the way we look at our cities. Wednesday, May 23, 2007 marks a symbolic landmark day when the world urban population surpassed the rural population of the world. This phenomenon presents an unprecedented challenge to make our cities capable to support such an influx of humanity. The urban environs of our future will have to cater to the dreams and realities of more than half of the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s population and as the statistics predict, by 2050, our cities will support two thirds of the humanity. The present day architecture and urban design practice has largely overlooked the social aspect of design. The needs of the masses

Informality balances the deficit of the formal city.

have seldom been addressed making architecture client centric. The present day urban agglomerations have developed rigid boundaries between extremes owing to an insensitive developmental approach. The modern city has definable and at times visible lines separating the formal from the informal, the legal from the illegal, the public from the private, the metropolis from the slum. As inhabitants of one of these superdense megapolises, we always find ourselves on either side of these lines. On one hand, the modern city aspires to be â&#x20AC;&#x153;world classâ&#x20AC;? while on the other; denies even the fundamental rights to its citizens. This partiality in attitude / duality in nature results in a conflict.


focus

comment

Political scientist Herbert Simon once wrote that design is “changing existing situations into preferred ones”. The modernist ethic of architecture which is primarily based on formal, spatial and material explorations is being rethought to cater to the needs of superfast urbanism. There is a need for architecture and urban design to be more purpose oriented in order to duly address the needs of the masses. Although significant thought is being given to the ‘ideal’ role of architecture and urban design practices in shaping our urban environs, formal architecture has not succeeded to make our cities safe and sustainable.

Informal markets make Indian streets vibrant public open spaces.

There is a need for architecture of our cities to be all inclusive. It is very vital, for once; to think of design practice without clearly defining the client. Inclusive architecture and urban design will make our cities more inviting, friendly and secure. Social architecture has a potential to make our public spaces more public, infrastructure more accessible, housing more affordable and environment healthier. Purpose oriented design approaches can blur the lines of conflict by making design, a more collaborative and collective act. It can facilitate greater interaction and overlapping of extremes can result into positive and more amicable mutations. Proactive architecture can assist creation of profound networks which in turn help better management and sharing of resources. More than anything, people centric architecture and urban design can ensure that every citizen of the city of our future lives with dignity.


82 IA&B - NOV 2010

Modest Manifestations In a conversation with the editorial, Gautam Bhan, Urban Researcher and Writer, expresses his views on urban practice, urban preferences and informality.


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ideas on informality

IA&B. “The fight for city space goes far beyond the Master-Plan”. Could you elucidate? GB.

When you speak about process of planning especially for Indian cities, the first thing we have to recognise is that the ‘logic’ with which Indian cities are habited is not the ‘logic’ which the plan imagines. We should not be so concerned with facts or details of the notion that our cities do not look planned. I think our cities are productive homes for its citizens in many ways. As planners, we should look at the manner in which these settlements develop. Only 10 to15 per cent of our buildings are built by awarding contracts to the contractors. This means that about 85 to 90 per cent of houses are constructed by individuals. This implies that we need to think who the real builders are. It is time we look towards the manner in which our informal citizens have managed to establish the cities with such less resources and materials. None of us as planners and professionals can replicate the living environment that an urban poor makes for himself in an informal settlement. If a client gives a small budget to make a home, we refuse to sign the contract. The planner has to step away from the traditional role of controlling the city. We have to go back to being students instead and not pretend to be experts because we do not have a solution. Once we re-orient the vision of planning and start learning from the city, we can respond as actual citizens. Not from the abstract notion of technically correct planning which we are taught in our text books but from understanding the reality.

India’s economic emergence in the last 20 years has created new appetites, new desires and new politics which pull us in multiple directions. It is making us believe that change can be different and is opening up prevailing imagination. Post this increase in the emergence of more affluent class and increasing access to consumerism, I think we are in a transition phase. I think there is a lot of seduction right now about India as a country changing every thing. I do want people to believe in the future but our problem is that very few imaginations dominate public discourse. There is a sense of global emergence and so we need to ask critical questions about what our priorities are. The city as a collection of spaces where people of every cast, class, and social income group can survive is my notion of a ‘world class’ city. IA&B. You belong to a city which is expanding horizontally (Delhi) and you are in a city which is flaunting its skyline (Mumbai). What are your views on expansive urban development where distances are major issues? GB.

IA&B. Which Indian city would you consider as an ideally planned city? GB:

This is a very dangerous question. We do not pay enough attention to Indian cities. Mumbai does not look at Delhi, Delhi does not look at Bengaluru, and Bengaluru does not look at Kolkata. This is a typical Indian problem especially concerning big Indian cities. We think that Jaipur, Nasik and Indore which are comparable cities according to world standards have nothing to teach us. I think we need to recognise that Mumbai has certain cosmopolitanism which the world envies and which is currently under stress. Delhi has a sense of space and protection of its green areas that other cities envy. I think we have to take best from our cities and stop looking at Dubai, Shanghai or Paris for inspiration. If we want to consider, we should admire Cairo, Manila and Jakarta. We should start working on things which we got right. There is lot of energy in the Indian cities. Innovations happen in Indian cities by multiple actors.

IA&B. What is your vision of a “world class city”? GB.

I think any Indian city is amidst a rapidly changing political and economic climate. A lot has happened since early 1990s when economic reforms took place nationally and internationally.

It is a matter of land supply which is playing a major role. Delhi is dealing with a peculiar density issue. In some particular neighbourhoods in Delhi, we have much higher densities while other few are density protected neighbourhoods. Central Delhi and parts of South Delhi have low density which represents elite areas. Density in Delhi varies by a factor of 10 between neighbourhoods placed on opposite sides of a street which is an absurdity. In Delhi, ‘peripheralisation’ has become extreme. Travelling four hours a day in a public transit system consumes about 30 per cent of a common man’s monthly budget. In a city which has a brilliantly functional rail metro system, what we need is densification. As we reach to the boundaries of the National Capital, we see high rise buildings in Gurgaon and NOIDA. Even in relatively new urban areas like Dwarka and Rohini, building heights are shooting up. On the other hand, Mumbai has an entirely different battle to fight. Mumbai has to think that the city has to grow towards its east and connect itself to its mainland.

IA&B. The further re-division of India into states owing to Indian politics—your take? GB.

I do not think we have any single shot solution to this issue. It depends on what the political limitation is coming from. The problem of demanded Indian states like Telangana, Vidarbha, Rayalaseema arises from inequitable regional development. States as large as Madhya Pradesh have very low densities compared to the states of the east like Bengal. Looking at the size of the state is a wrong notion. The real issue in question is political representation which is the job of governance. The probability of messing up things in a small state is as much as in a big state.


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Design & Activism In a conversation with the editorial, Sheela Patel, Founder, SPARC, draws her perspectives on design, designers and informality.


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IA&B. As an activist, do you think that we have failed to acknowledge the presence, let alone the importance of the informal sector in our cities? SP.

We have definitely not given the informal sector the importance it should have and neither have we acknowledged the contribution it makes to our cities. What do we lose out if we acknowledge their presence? The informal citizens are not going anywhere. The formal city will be at a great loss if it does not nurture, support and strengthen its relationship with the informal city.

IA&B. You have worked extensively in India and SPARC has extended its boundaries beyond India. What parallels and distinctions you see between informality in India and in other countries? SP.

IA&B. What were the ideological origins of SPARC? SP.

Before I started working in SPARC (Society for the Promotion of Area Resource Centres), I used to work in a welfare community center. We had a lot of pavement dwellers in that locality. We got their kids to school and looked after their health issues. They were the poorest of the city. It made me realise that what I was doing was like band aid. Welfare has a place but if the foundations of security are absent, the situation is like a leaking bucket. Thus we decided to make an organisation that works in partnership with the poor rather than a welfare organisation. We knew Jockin Arputham and the National Slum Dwellers Federation which eventually became our first alliance. When we started working, there were organisations and organised communities working with the poor. We partnered with them to see how we can make a difference. The idea was to organise a large number of people and to gradually make them stop seeing themselves as poor and vulnerable.

IA&B. You have been critical about the pressure from funding institutions towards delivering time frame based results. Why do you think that target based practices do not and cannot work in the informal sector? SP.

IA&B. Would you say that one of the aspects of your work is to give a sense of dignity to the poor? SP.

I think that the poor of the city already have a sense of dignity. What we do as an NGO is to legitimise their claim on the city. When you talk about informality and its contribution to the city, it legitimises their claim. When we see the poor as working contributors rather than thieves and drug addicts, we recognise their stake in the city and acknowledge that they share the city with us.

IA&B. Do you see the gap between the formal and the informal in India narrowing? SP.

The most significant change I see is amongst the new generation living in the slums. They are different from their parents and grandparents who came to the city. They are no different from any teenager anywhere. In many ways, they do not feel obliged to wear their identity anymore. Secondly, the new generation in slums have the same exposure to television and consumerism as any other youth of the city. They no longer feel that the city is benevolent to them in any way. I think that the politics of the city is going to change. If the youth of the informal city are denied their rightful stake in the future of the city, they might become violent.

It amazed me initially to know that we in India, have the lowest percentage of urbanism. Yet, in sheer volume, the numbers are huge. Most of the countries in Asia and Africa have one or two major urban agglomerations while India has many and more are coming up. It is also amazing that the work culture in the Indian slums is very firm and structured. I have not seen such entrepreneurship in the informal sector anywhere other than India. There is evidence enough to say that when an Indian city grows financially, the informal sector both grows and contributes to the growth of the city. Although the democratic space in our cities seem to be sinking in size, democracy is much stronger in India than in many other countries. When I look at other countries, I begin to appreciate the freedom that we have in India.

My criticism is more towards demands being made before the institutions and systems are in place to deliver. It takes time to build up systems and processes to bring about change. When the pressure to deliver within a set frame is high, the product is compromised. You thus get doubly panelised and the people who are finally going to be affected by it, loose out. I look at the role of NGOs as the R&D for the informal sector. Any R&D process cannot be executed in short time spans and the deliverables are not fixed. We must be strategic in how we want to take advantage of each other’s roles and capacities. Developing dialogue, identifying problems and engaging with the community for a solution takes longer than overnight.

IA&B. Through your course of work, have you seen awareness of academic institutions and individuals growing? Do you find architects, urban designers and schools sceptical about this field of work? SP.

I do not think that there are even a handful of architects and urban planners taking up this challenge. You cannot do a ‘project’ in this field of work. Most young designers’ exposure to the slum is through a studio. If you are not actually engaging with the slum dwellers, your attitudes and values are not challenged. The slum dwellers have no use for you if your thoughts are restricted to your studio. If an institutions tells its students to go to the slum and deliver, work with the community and be graded by the community then we might see some difference. I would like architects to work beyond the services market.


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Urban Conspiracies In a conversation with the editorial, Dr. Liza Weinstein, Assistant Professor of Sociology, University of Chicago elaborates on Indian planning principles and politics.


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IA&B. You mentioned a ‘long tryst’ with the city of Mumbai. Could you elaborate? LW.

They are the regulations for fulfilling the objectives they were intended to and they have created massive road blocks to housing construction. The housing constructed is inadequate, land prices remain very high, housing prices skyrocket and regulations that are supposed to provide these improved contexts for construction act as deterrents. Our policies are the reason why illegality gets away with it. It again depends on what we mean by illegal. I think we have come to treating both, illegality and informality as those constructions and practices that happen outside of the formal legal system. We have come to accept informality as a way of life but illegality still has this connotation of being somehow illicit or immoral and we need to question such assumptions. Illegality exists because there is no way around the unattainable frameworks of power which is concentrated in the hands of very few. Illegality often works as a way to challenge people’s work through means other than the formally prescribed ones.

I have done some research in Mumbai. I was doing field work for research in 2005-2006 when I lived in Mumbai for about 15 to 16 months looking at early planning phases for Dharavi Redevelopment Project. I was trying to situate my study in a broader development context in the city and understand how land actually gets developed and what the aspects of politics involved are.

IA&B. Do you see synergies between development efforts and impacts in the Indian informal segment and the rest of the world? LW.

I think we have very good plans for Dharavi that have never been implemented. It is important to understand that what gets implemented and what does not is ultimately a political question. My interest in looking at these issues developed because there have been so many plans tempted for Dharavi over the years. It is a space where there are constant eyes upon it; I did some historical research at the city’s first master plan drafted in 1947- 48, by Bu-Modak and Albert Mayor from USA. They designed a beautiful plan for Dharavi that had the leather ternaries moving to one side, construction of affordable housing, construction of parks and neighbourhood blocks. They advocated very heavily for seeing it implemented but that plan was never implemented. In 1980s the grand plans were developed. Only few housing blocks came up but instead, a little infrastructure would have definitely improved people’s lives there. In an Indian city, there are too many conflicting interests; there is too much activity around what actually gets implemented. Whether it is the development plan that was proposed by Mukesh Mehta, or any alternative plans that are now being proposed by SPARC and other groups who are working locally, I think what will be implemented, will be something else. The world has to learn that a place like Dharavi is the future of urbanism; this is precisely where large growth is happening in cities in the global south. And the hype over urbanism is changing. Urbanism in other parts of the world very much resembles what we see in this context.

IA&B. In your experience, how is Informal Urbanism related to crime in an Indian city? LW.

I think we need to think about what we mean by crime and illegal forms of development. We need to focus on those who have acquired power through illicit means or better position in this contemporary context to have a say in development plan. The legal frameworks and the regulatory frameworks that we have in existence are attainable.

IA&B. Do you think that the existing government policies address the concerns of the informal sector correctly? What according to you needs to be done? LW.

I think that the Government is not adequately addressing the needs of the informal population. There is a huge need for basic services, for housing and infrastructure which is simply not being addressed. I think there is a tendency to question the political system that Government erects. Vote bank politics exploit the poor. Because of the election, the Dharavi project was slowed to a certain degree. Because of the promises the politicians make to provide the houses, people are not evicted and this democratic process works to a certain degree. There are more efficient ways to adapt it but the tendency of seeing democracy now is counter productive to aright the poor or to give people adequate livelihood. Democracy is a means by which people gain some access to power. It is imperfect and it is messy but it is effective.

IA&B. Why did the state choose to neglect the role of development mafias in the city of Mumbai? Do you see positive change in the attitude of the authorities now? LW.

What I am looking at is planned politics. Why the government turns its head and engages with powerful criminal actors that are able to get through regulatory context interests me. There is a way to accept that this structure can exist as it exists but we can also push through it and engage in development activities. I think that the Government has capacity to enforce laws. There is very clear benefit that illicit groups are serving for the Government by compensating the deficit of bad governance and profiting out of it.


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Dignifying lives

Jockin Arputham: the man who made the difference— Not only because his work transcends divergent boundaries, but because of his long historical struggle for the rehabilitation and rights of slum dwellers provokes us into rethinking community services anew. Text: Maanasi Hattangadi Photograph: courtesy SPARC

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ecent decades have seen many designers reject the strictures of urbanity, to explore another contrasting world—the one of informal settlements. Yet our progress is partially stilled with short-lived utility, flat-pack economy and plasticised sympathy. It is a world in which materiality does not cease. Perhaps, Jockin Arputham’s life story exemplifies the right approach—to work for the system; the best way is to be a part of it. After a brief stint in Bengaluru, Jockin travelled to Mumbai acting upon a resourcefully rich image that a distant uncle had impressed on him. Following up on the empty lure of a dreamy life, Jockin discovered himself in 1963 at the other end of the social spectrum—amidst the Chenbur/Janata colony wherein houses were masterful cages

of cardboard. Until it was demolished in 1976, Jockin rebelled amidst unsentimental aesthetic of the garbage strewn slums with an individualistic touch by developing a local organisation and community activities like singing and school organisation. Expanding over two years, Tata Institute for Social Services also extended their collaboration to catalyse these social encounters. Time took a turn in 1967/68 when the bureaucratic spotlight of the Bhabha Atomic Energy Commission fell on the colony. A notice was given to the people living in Janata colony to vacate their land. Fostering a mobilisation, Jockin Arputham orchestrated 70,000 residents to demonstrate a message firmly rooted in a documentation that won them their case in court. His concerted efforts in the housing sector in a Bangladeshi refugee camp in 1971-72 also encapsulate his work masterfully. With examples at various junctures like his construction drainage system using bamboo sticks, bamboo mats and bags of sand, being named after him (Jockin drainage, Jockin platform), his alignment with community development continued. This was also when he worked with Mother Teresa and other international agencies like Care, Bread for the World and Caritas. The sole purpose of which was to endorse dignity, but in a fashion specific to providing basic amenities through self-sufficiency. The later years of his life reveal a pronounced vision, as a statement which was narrated within the fastidious commitment. After working in Philippines with Dennis Murphy for a year and half during the time Emergency was declared, Jockin returned back to India, envisaging a shift in role from action to one of spreading knowledge of his experience. At a five–day workshop at The Ecumenical Centre in Bengaluru, the inception of the National Slum Dwellers Federation (NSDF) was phrased. Where the ubiquitous question of funds remained, his partnership with Action Aid and other local NGOs delineated a genuinely optimistic contribution. Looking forward, in 1984, Sheela Patel initiated Society for the Promotion of Area Resource Centers (SPARC) as a venture to which Jockin linked his federation in 1985. Together, NSDF and SPARC created Mahila Milan, a network of women’s collectives. Through the level of slum-to-slum learning exchanges that he initiated in India, Arputham has now extended his efforts to several Southeast Asian and African countries. The endeavours are not ones that aim to make statements, but ones of relevance—enclaves that offer the slum-dwellers comfort, security, self-reliance tools and healthier facilities. This escarpment of challenges to infuse semblance in community services was recognised and Jockin Arputham received the 2000 Ramon Magsaysay Award for International Understanding. Part of the charm is the fact that the impact that has been cast is all individual, and achieved without the hallmark of affluence. Some strange collective impulse guides vast millions of people to migrate day by day to cities and eke out years of their lives in city slums. The aim is to create an alternative method sustain this ever-increasing community, capturing the social and cultural essence of the informal, whilst dealing with its main infrastructural problems. In a field often besieged by self-parody, Jockin Arputham’s stance has proven a sound means to evolution in slum redevelopment, and reflects the opportunity to value what is really important: humanity.


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CURRY STONE

Design Prize The Curry Stone Design Prize honours an individual or a group for developing and implementing a visionary design innovation. These emerging projects address critical issues such as access to clean air, food and water, shelter, health care, energy, education, social justice and the promotion of peace. Winning projects engage communities at the fulcrum of change, raising awareness, empowering individuals and fostering collective revitalisation. Text and Photographs: courtesy David Mohney; The Curry Stone Design Prize.

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avid Mohney is the Secretar y for the Curr y Stone D esign Prize. He was formerly D ean of the College of D esign at the Universit y of Kentucky, and remains a Professor of Architec ture there. The winning projec ts of The Curr y Stone D esign Prize engage communities at the fulcrum of change, raising awareness, empowering individuals and fostering collec tive revitalisation. David Mohney was a speaker and moderator of the last session in the 361° Conference 2010: D esign & Informal Cities at R angsharda in Mumbai.

Alejandro Echiverri, Wes Janz and David Mohney at the 3610 Conference 2010.

2008 Commendation

WINDBELT GENERATOR Shawn Frayne Shawn Frayne is an entrepreneur and the inventor of the world’s first non-turbine wind-powered generator; a new technology that has enormous potential to help people in poor communities power lamps, keep small vaccine refrigerators cool, and charge cell phones for relatively little cost. While Frayne’s inventions are geared at creating a new micro-power industry in places like Haiti and Guatemala, he also has his eye on developing the Windbelt technology for application in wealthier nations. The goal is to generate revenue that can be reinvested in creating additional technologies for emerging economies in partnership with local

Shawn Frayne, Inventor and President of Humdinger Wind Energy.

Students in Haiti create their own wind powered generators.

Students test out the generators.

Lead engineer of XelaTeco shows different Windbelt designs.


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commendations 2008 Commendation

SUBVERSIVE DESIGN Antonio Scarponi Antonio Scarponi is an architect whose interdisciplinary projects use elements from architecture, multimedia arts, and design to “jam” the conventional social order of contemporary society. His work, which transforms public space and everyday objects into catalysts for public dialogue, both reflects and interrogates today’s global community by illuminating our shared humanity as well as the socio-political lines that divide us. Scarponi credits the protests at the 2001 G8 Summit in Genoa, Italy for triggering a turning point in his work which increasingly addresses the possibilities of representing a world order beyond that of the nation state. Scarponi strives toward a more inclusive depiction of globalisation from the point of view of the world’s population; a hive of voices, behaviours and cultural trends from everyday life.

“Design is a subversive process”- Antonio Scarponi.

‘Human Atlas’ graphically depicts world population.

‘Italy Up in Smoke’ Project.

The ‘Vanishing Water’ exhibition.

2008 Commendation

URBAN INDIGENOUS ARCHITECTURE Luyanda Mpahlwa Luyanda Mpahlwa, formerly of MMA Architects and now of ‘Design Space Africa’, is a vanguard of a new wave of designers that is reshaping and re-envisioning South Africa’s post-apartheid architectural landscape. Mpahlwa is pioneering a new style of architecture that integrates and elevates Africaninspired design in both rural and urban settings. Among Mpahlwa’s innovations is the ingenious design for low-cost homes commissioned in 2007 by Design Indaba, South Africa’s premier expo for local designers. The challenge was to build experimental homes on the government subsidy of 50,000 South African Rand, or $7,000 (US).

“You do your work because you believe in the challenge that you have been given, and in trying to find a solution to it” - Mpahlwa.

Sandbag houses in South Africa.

Sandbag “Ecobeam” construction.

Rendering for 10x10 housing project.


92 2009 Commendation

TRANSITION TOWNS Rob Hopkins The Transition Network is an international, community-led response to global warming and declining oil reserves. The “open source” movement, inspired by Rob Hopkins, a founding member of the Network who founded the Transition Town Totnes, connects more than 200 cities and towns worldwide that have adopted creative and collective approaches to reducing their carbon footprint, from large-scale community gardens to introducing a local currency to encourage local consumption. Hopkins literally wrote the book for the movement, The Transition Handbook; “In Transition,” a new wiki documentary made from video footage submitted by Transition Initiative leaders worldwide.

“Our starting point is that we are all in this situation together”- Rob Hopkins.

Transition town solar power demonstration.

Launch of local currency.

2009 Commendation

HANDMADE BUILDINGS Anna Heringer The “handmade” village schools and single-family homes designed by Anna Heringer in rural Bangladesh are an elegant blend of old and new, bucking the growing trend toward cement and steel buildings in the region by offering a sustainable alternative. These buildings combine local materials such as bamboo and straw with modern building components, and are constructed entirely by hand, by local people, without the need for machinery or dependence on outside markets. These beautiful, small-scale, community-built structures reaffirm that “progress” can be both ecologically sensitive and support local craftsmanship.

“For me, sustainability is a synonym for beauty” – Anna Heringer.

DESI building exterior.

DESI building interior.

METI School, Bangladesh.


93

“We are not asked to just do a design; we are asked to come up with the question that we need to solve.” - Alejandro Aravena.

2010 Commendation

HOUSING AS AN URBAN ASSET Alejandro Aravena; Elemental ELEMENTAL, a Chilean design firm and self-described “Do Tank” has raised the bar for public housing in the developing world with its transformative design for Iquique’s Quinta Monroy shantytown. Working in close consultation with local residents, ELEMENTAL countered the trend of displacing poor people from urban centers by stacking duplex units at diagonals from one other. Founders Pablo Allard, Andres Iacobelli, and Alejandro Arevena’s designs have not only solved the problem of density, but maximised the $7,500-per-unit budget by building “starter” homes that allow people to easily expand and individualise their spaces. As Aravena likes to say, each unit has “the DNA of a middle-class home.”The firm is now working to build similar dwellings in cities in Brazil, Portugal, and other countries.

Inhabited housing at Iquique, Chile.

Housing project for Iquique, Chile.

Local women making sanitary pads. “The theme of what we do is spark things” - Elizabeth Scharpf.

2010 Commendation

SUSTAINING WOMEN: PRODUCT, EDUCATION, BUSINESS S.H.E. / Sustainable Health Enterprises

Sustainable Health Enterprises (S.H.E.) is addressing girls’ and womens’ lack of access to menstrual pads, causing them to miss up to 50 days of work and school annually. Since 2009, the SHE Team, led by founder Elizabeth Scharpf, has built the groundwork to launch a sustainable, locally based micro-capital industry to combat this issue through community based education, business skill training and product design. SHE has designed feminine hygiene products made from locally-sourced banana fiber in Rwanda. SHE’s goal is to tackle the menstrual taboo in a multi-faceted, “quilt-like” approach involving advocacy and education, with diverse people and talents working towards larger ideals to improve opportunity for half the world’s population.


94 IA&B - NOV 2010

CURRY STONE

Design Prize The Curry Stone Design Prize honours an individual or a group for developing and implementing a visionary design innovation. These emerging projects address critical issues such as access to clean air, food and water, shelter, health care, energy, education, social justice and the promotion of peace. Winning projects engage communities at the fulcrum of change, raising awareness, empowering individuals and fostering collective revitalisation. Text and Photographs: courtesy David Mohney; The Curry Stone Design Prize.

D

avid Mohney is the Secretar y for the Curr y Stone D esign Prize. He was formerly D ean of the College of D esign at the Universit y of Kentucky, and remains a Professor of Architec ture there. The winning projec ts of The Curr y Stone D esign Prize engage communities at the fulcrum of change, raising awareness, empowering individuals and fostering collec tive revitalisation. David Mohney was a speaker and moderator of the last session in the 361° Conference 2010: D esign & Informal Cities at R angsharda in Mumbai.

Informality balances the deficit of the formal city.

2008 Commendation

WINDBELT GENERATOR Shawn Frayne Shawn Frayne is an entrepreneur and the inventor of the world’s first non-turbine wind-powered generator; a new technology that has enormous potential to help people in poor communities power lamps, keep small vaccine refrigerators cool, and charge cell phones for relatively little cost. While Frayne’s inventions are geared at creating a new micro-power industry in places like Haiti and Guatemala, he also has his eye on developing the Windbelt technology for application in wealthier nations. The goal is to generate revenue that can be reinvested in creating additional technologies for emerging economies in partnership with local

Shawn Frayne, Inventor and President of Humdinger Wind Energy.

Students in Haiti create their own wind powered generators.

Students test out the generators.

Lead engineer of XelaTeco shows different Windbelt designs.


focus

commendations 2008 Commendation

SUBVERSIVE DESIGN Antonio Scarponi Antonio Scarponi is an architect whose interdisciplinary projects use elements from architecture, multimedia arts, and design to “jam” the conventional social order of contemporary society. His work, which transforms public space and everyday objects into catalysts for public dialogue, both reflects and interrogates today’s global community by illuminating our shared humanity as well as the socio-political lines that divide us. Scarponi credits the protests at the 2001 G8 Summit in Genoa, Italy for triggering a turning point in his work which increasingly addresses the possibilities of representing a world order beyond that of the nation state. Scarponi strives toward a more inclusive depiction of globalisation from the point of view of the world’s population; a hive of voices, behaviours and cultural trends from everyday life.

“Design is a subversive process”- Antonio Scarponi.

‘Human Atlas’ graphically depicts world population.

‘Italy Up in Smoke’ Project.

The ‘Vanishing Water’ exhibition.

2008 Commendation

URBAN INDIGENOUS ARCHITECTURE Luyanda Mpahlwa Luyanda Mpahlwa, formerly of MMA Architects and now of ‘Design Space Africa’, is a vanguard of a new wave of designers that is reshaping and re-envisioning South Africa’s post-apartheid architectural landscape. Mpahlwa is pioneering a new style of architecture that integrates and elevates Africaninspired design in both rural and urban settings. Among Mpahlwa’s innovations is the ingenious design for low-cost homes commissioned in 2007 by Design Indaba, South Africa’s premier expo for local designers. The challenge was to build experimental homes on the government subsidy of 50,000 South African Rand, or $7,000 (US).

“You do your work because you believe in the challenge that you have been given, and in trying to find a solution to it” - Mpahlwa.

Sandbag houses in South Africa.

Sandbag “Ecobeam” construction.

Rendering for 10x10 housing project.


96 2009 Commendation

TRANSITION TOWNS Rob Hopkins The Transition Network is an international, community-led response to global warming and declining oil reserves. The “open source” movement, inspired by Rob Hopkins, a founding member of the Network who founded the Transition Town Totnes, connects more than 200 cities and towns worldwide that have adopted creative and collective approaches to reducing their carbon footprint, from large-scale community gardens to introducing a local currency to encourage local consumption. Hopkins literally wrote the book for the movement, The Transition Handbook; “In Transition,” a new wiki documentary made from video footage submitted by Transition Initiative leaders worldwide.

“Our starting point is that we are all in this situation together”- Rob Hopkins.

Transition town solar power demonstration.

Launch of local currency.

2009 Commendation

HANDMADE BUILDINGS Anna Heringer The “handmade” village schools and single-family homes designed by Anna Heringer in rural Bangladesh are an elegant blend of old and new, bucking the growing trend toward cement and steel buildings in the region by offering a sustainable alternative. These buildings combine local materials such as bamboo and straw with modern building components, and are constructed entirely by hand, by local people, without the need for machinery or dependence on outside markets. These beautiful, small-scale, community-built structures reaffirm that “progress” can be both ecologically sensitive and support local craftsmanship.

“For me, sustainability is a synonym for beauty” – Anna Heringer.

DESI building exterior.

DESI building interior.

METI School, Bangladesh.


97

“We are not asked to just do a design; we are asked to come up with the question that we need to solve.” - Alejandro Aravena.

2010 Commendation

HOUSING AS AN URBAN ASSET Alejandro Aravena; Elemental ELEMENTAL, a Chilean design firm and self-described “Do Tank” has raised the bar for public housing in the developing world with its transformative design for Iquique’s Quinta Monroy shantytown. Working in close consultation with local residents, ELEMENTAL countered the trend of displacing poor people from urban centers by stacking duplex units at diagonals from one other. Founders Pablo Allard, Andres Iacobelli, and Alejandro Arevena’s designs have not only solved the problem of density, but maximised the $7,500-per-unit budget by building “starter” homes that allow people to easily expand and individualise their spaces. As Aravena likes to say, each unit has “the DNA of a middle-class home.”The firm is now working to build similar dwellings in cities in Brazil, Portugal, and other countries.

Inhabited housing at Iquique, Chile.

Housing project for Iquique, Chile.

Local women making sanitary pads. “The theme of what we do is spark things” - Elizabeth Scharpf.

2010 Commendation

SUSTAINING WOMEN: PRODUCT, EDUCATION, BUSINESS S.H.E. / Sustainable Health Enterprises

Sustainable Health Enterprises (S.H.E.) is addressing girls’ and womens’ lack of access to menstrual pads, causing them to miss up to 50 days of work and school annually. Since 2009, the SHE Team, led by founder Elizabeth Scharpf, has built the groundwork to launch a sustainable, locally based micro-capital industry to combat this issue through community based education, business skill training and product design. SHE has designed feminine hygiene products made from locally-sourced banana fiber in Rwanda. SHE’s goal is to tackle the menstrual taboo in a multi-faceted, “quilt-like” approach involving advocacy and education, with diverse people and talents working towards larger ideals to improve opportunity for half the world’s population.


98 IA&B - NOV 2010

Weaving urbanism... Reviving worlds Colombia based architect Alejandro Echeverri’s architectural collaborative Urbanismo Social and Mayor Sergio Fajardo distinguish the humanistic significance of architecture, capturing the social and cultural essence of the informal, whilst extending urbanity as a catalyst to implement a successful blueprint for the growth of Medellin as a city. Text: Maanasi Hattangadi Photographs: courtesy Alejandro Echeverri.

C

ities have been observing the opening out of its limits, characterised by the spread of settlements, the rise of infrastructure and the leap from urban to diminutive scales. Responding to this growth on a global scale, Medellin, Colombia rises from a unique blend of political pragmatism and a firm belief in architecture’s power to communicate. In its purest form, Medellin in the last decade – far from the constraints, rise and reality of a modern city- was a fruit of a violent past; a warring tale of two cities. In a span traversing five crucial years (2003-2008) in the history of Medellin, the skin of the city explored a beautiful perspective on ‘social urbanism’ framed by architect Alejandro Echeverri with strong advocacy of Mayor Sergio Fajardo. The ideological persuasion of Mayor Sergio Fajardo was delineated in his visionary statement, “We are going to build the most beautiful things for the humblest people in the city. That’s a political decision. We are going to the spaces of the city where we know we have the most need and we are going to come up with an architecture program. That’s the first step in building a new city, and it deals with a word that is not often used in politics, which is dignity.” A physical embodiment of this dream, the spaces evolved as an invigorating combination of phenomena and function, where every aspect has been orchestrated by Alejandro Echeverri towards a revolutionising architectural experience, though not necessarily designed by him alone. Spurring a social, cultural and architectural revival, Alejandro framed the struggling edges of the city as not a single, unified architectural solution, but rather as “fragments of possibility”. The inquisitive look cast at the socio-structural informalities translated into key factors like connecting the divided city, reading the territory, Architecture and Urban project inserts,

The city took shape as a constructed reality by exploring manifestations of various scales: As seen here, sequentially, the low-income neighbourhoods in front, the middle-income neighbourhoods in between and the high-income neighbourhooods far beyond.


people centric practices

The aerial view of Medellin.

The whole city was designed to congregate at an urban centrality.

integral interventions, and arraying teams to encourage public participation that shaped the connective vectors of the city. The city emerged as a constructed reality that took shape through the manifestations of projects of varying scale that engaged a complex set of physical, programmatic and social views. This belief dramatised an underscore of elements that threaded with the physical continuity, community participation on the city as a whole with localised territories concerted to articulate an order in the system. This pursuit was further intensified by the potential of upcoming designers as part of competitions, adding emphasis to the change. The modernist sports facility hosting the South American Games 2010 stands testament to this transpiring skill. To this end, the State offers its political intervention by developing these projects in the State Institute wherein a community effort delineates its ideations under allocated team leaders. Obscuring the historical bylanes, the backdrop arrived as a progressive dawn of contemporaneous exhibitionism.


100 3. Putting each Library-Park at a specific point of tension between the geography and urban condition.

The contemporaneous sports facility designed for the upcoming South American Games 2010. Image: © Sergio Gomez

The spatial flexibility traces a generative but prohibitive tone of the topographical envelope of the city of Medellin. The ‘barrios’ or districts set amidst the mountains have gently sloped diversely conforming to an expansive layout. Therefore, to approach the problem with preconditioned globalised ideas and design moves, emerging from a more urban understanding did not reflect the objectives that the designers wanted to pursue. The synthesis was thus a collaborative adoption of four programs that complemented distinctive strategies:

The interactive program of the building confines 50 per cent of the programs within the Library-Park while the remaining conforms to children access, micro-credit services, workshops etc. The immersive quality of the geography was used as a materialistic interpretation. Each Library-Park was not only responsive to its location but a referential context to the topography, area divides and urban condition, enhanced by the public access influence that it discourses. Not departing wholly from function, the forms also operate as visual adjectives; a redefining moment in the cityscape between the neighbourhoods, natural creeks and futuristic transport system.

Proyectos Urbanos Integrales- PUI- against social exclusion and social inequality While the subject of the talk is cities and urbanism, the subtext is actually society. As a commentary on the figurative number of 80 per cent of Medellin’s

The Library-Parks Programme and The Quality Schools Programme Culturing the portraiture and identity of the city of Medellin with a voluminous dialogue, the programme elaborated on big infrastructure and comprehensive centres. These structures, chosen as the best winning competition entries, painted a contrasting quality. The Library-Parks encased a scenario, aptly reflected in the statement—, “Architecture had for us an additional value more than just a real change. It had convocation of change in spirit, of having people feel they had the best. The best public [sic] in the city, the best transport system, the best place to live”. - Alejandro Echeverri, 361˚Conference, 2010. The Library-Parks are strategically positioned in the ‘Barrios’ of Santo Domingo, La Ladera, La Quintana, San Javier and Belen. The points that mediated the location of the Library Park read as: 1. Marking the centralities of the ‘Barrios’, outlined as integral public services. 2. Connecting all of them to high quality transport systems.

The strategic marking for location of the Library-Parks

The Library-Parks developed as a symbolic contast in the city fabric.


101

The emerging city skyline evolves as a transformative contrast to the existing one.

The Library-Parks are developed as interactive programs for workshops , micro-credit services and public access.

population studying in public schools, the architecture was staged to recall improvement of 135 existing schools with plans of building more. A decisively contemporary gesture, the school also encapsulated services catering to the whole family especially on weekends or for times when the children were not in classrooms. While this dialogue was distilled from the education end, the urban projects bespoke of a similar identifiable style.

Social Housing Programme for communities located in hazard locations Traditionally residing in the convictions of the informal sector, the Housing Programs concentrated on scale beyond that of the residential sphere.


102

The emerging architectural vocabulary is not a unified architectural solution but fragmented as urban possibilities.

The architecture and urban projects shaped the revival and dramatised the connectivity of Medellin.

Elaborating on an example of Social Housing, the architecture reiterates on economic and social tie conservation was used as a tool in modern city planning, amending an area to liberate small spaces by minimising the amount of historical demolition for new structures. Only 35 per cent of the places were converted to 5-storeyed structures. At a glance, Medellin surfaces as an intriguing model of how great design ambitions collectively play out on a larger stage.

The schools extend beyond the conventional functionality and serve as hang-out places for the whole family.


103

The new urban realm is designed as a composite of connective vectors of the city, stretching visually over the existing cityscape.

Juan Bobo Creek Settlement PLAN


104

The informal settlements before the urbanisation.

The city sprawl is woven with modernist interventions that frame variegated uses.


105

The modern city planning liberated small places and converted only 35 per cent of structures into 5-storeyed high-rises.

Emblematic walkways and urban plazas were introduced within the city to cultivate the urbanism.

Walkways Plan, Emblematic Streets Programme and Lineal systems to “connect the city” The paradoxical low scale neighbourhoods with modernist inter ventions play with a confluence of streets where ever ything comes together at a central space. The experiential paradigm embraces the natural land, unfolding out into plazas and views. Capturing the oppor tunity for the formulation of a radically and constantly evolving fabric, the intent was to focus on investment to rebuild the pedestrian streets, bridges and transpor t system.

The bridge connecting the divide between two areas of the warring city.

The city, a recursive spiral of these four programs, owes entirely to the intuition or judgement of Mayor Sergio Fajardo and Alejandro Echeverri who helped architecture to be pushed towards something objective, ex ternal and quantifiable. The community effor t frames a shift in the role for designers from urban to one of increased inclusivity, working from project inception and then continuously through the life of under taking. It is about social values having a priority, a sense of belonging, a sense of collectivism, a sense to dream and build together. The urban realm belies the purpose of design taking deeper roots rather than simply evolving individualistic interpretations. The whole city is a statement that resonates with the passion and commitment of its inhabitants— communicating from the overall design down to the last detail; all reminiscent of the same spirit…all expressions of the same sensibility.


94 IA&B - NOV 2010

Weaving urbanism... Reviving worlds Colombia based architect Alejandro Echeverri’s architectural collaborative Urbanismo Social and Mayor Sergio Fajardo distinguish the humanistic significance of architecture, capturing the social and cultural essence of the informal, whilst extending urbanity as a catalyst to implement a successful blueprint for the growth of Medellin as a city. Text: Maanasi Hattangadi Photographs: courtesy Alejandro Echeverri.

C

ities have been observing the opening out of its limits, characterised by the spread of settlements, the rise of infrastructure and the leap from urban to diminutive scales. Responding to this growth on a global scale, Medellin, Colombia rises from a unique blend of political pragmatism and a firm belief in architecture’s power to communicate. In its purest form, Medellin in the last decade – far from the constraints, rise and reality of a modern city- was a fruit of a violent past; a warring tale of two cities. In a span traversing five crucial years (2003-2008) in the history of Medellin, the skin of the city explored a beautiful perspective on ‘social urbanism’ framed by architect Alejandro Echeverri with strong advocacy of Mayor Sergio Fajardo. The ideological persuasion of Mayor Sergio Fajardo was delineated in his visionary statement, “We are going to build the most beautiful things for the humblest people in the city. That’s a political decision. We are going to the spaces of the city where we know we have the most need and we are going to come up with an architecture program. That’s the first step in building a new city, and it deals with a word that is not often used in politics, which is dignity.” A physical embodiment of this dream, the spaces evolved as an invigorating combination of phenomena and function, where every aspect has been orchestrated by Alejandro Echeverri towards a revolutionising architectural experience, though not necessarily designed by him alone. Spurring a social, cultural and architectural revival, Alejandro framed the struggling edges of the city as not a single, unified architectural solution, but rather as “fragments of possibility”. The inquisitive look cast at the socio-structural informalities translated into key factors like connecting the divided city, reading the territory, Architecture and Urban project inserts,

The city took shape as a constructed reality by exploring manifestations of various scales: As seen here, sequentially, the low-income neighbourhoods in front, the middle-income neighbourhoods in between and the high-income neighbourhooods far beyond.


people centric practices

The aerial view of Medellin.

The whole city was designed to congregate at an urban centrality.

integral interventions, and arraying teams to encourage public participation that shaped the connective vectors of the city. The city emerged as a constructed reality that took shape through the manifestations of projects of varying scale that engaged a complex set of physical, programmatic and social views. This belief dramatised an underscore of elements that threaded with the physical continuity, community participation on the city as a whole with localised territories concerted to articulate an order in the system. This pursuit was further intensified by the potential of upcoming designers as part of competitions, adding emphasis to the change. The modernist sports facility hosting the South American Games 2010 stands testament to this transpiring skill. To this end, the State offers its political intervention by developing these projects in the State Institute wherein a community effort delineates its ideations under allocated team leaders. Obscuring the historical bylanes, the backdrop arrived as a progressive dawn of contemporaneous exhibitionism.


96 3. Putting each Library-Park at a specific point of tension between the geography and urban condition.

The contemporaneous sports facility designed for the upcoming South American Games 2010. Image: © Sergio Gomez

The spatial flexibility traces a generative but prohibitive tone of the topographical envelope of the city of Medellin. The ‘barrios’ or districts set amidst the mountains have gently sloped diversely conforming to an expansive layout. Therefore, to approach the problem with preconditioned globalised ideas and design moves, emerging from a more urban understanding did not reflect the objectives that the designers wanted to pursue. The synthesis was thus a collaborative adoption of four programs that complemented distinctive strategies:

The interactive program of the building confines 50 per cent of the programs within the Library-Park while the remaining conforms to children access, micro-credit services, workshops etc. The immersive quality of the geography was used as a materialistic interpretation. Each Library-Park was not only responsive to its location but a referential context to the topography, area divides and urban condition, enhanced by the public access influence that it discourses. Not departing wholly from function, the forms also operate as visual adjectives; a redefining moment in the cityscape between the neighbourhoods, natural creeks and futuristic transport system.

Proyectos Urbanos Integrales- PUI- against social exclusion and social inequality While the subject of the talk is cities and urbanism, the subtext is actually society. As a commentary on the figurative number of 80 per cent of Medellin’s

The Library-Parks Programme and The Quality Schools Programme Culturing the portraiture and identity of the city of Medellin with a voluminous dialogue, the programme elaborated on big infrastructure and comprehensive centres. These structures, chosen as the best winning competition entries, painted a contrasting quality. The Library-Parks encased a scenario, aptly reflected in the statement—, “Architecture had for us an additional value more than just a real change. It had convocation of change in spirit, of having people feel they had the best. The best public [sic] in the city, the best transport system, the best place to live”. - Alejandro Echeverri, 361˚Conference, 2010. The Library-Parks are strategically positioned in the ‘Barrios’ of Santo Domingo, La Ladera, La Quintana, San Javier and Belen. The points that mediated the location of the Library Park read as: 1. Marking the centralities of the ‘Barrios’, outlined as integral public services. 2. Connecting all of them to high quality transport systems.

The strategic marking for location of the Library-Parks

The Library-Parks developed as a symbolic contast in the city fabric.


97

The emerging city skyline evolves as a transformative contrast to the existing one.

The Library-Parks are developed as interactive programs for workshops , micro-credit services and public access.

population studying in public schools, the architecture was staged to recall improvement of 135 existing schools with plans of building more. A decisively contemporary gesture, the school also encapsulated services catering to the whole family especially on weekends or for times when the children were not in classrooms. While this dialogue was distilled from the education end, the urban projects bespoke of a similar identifiable style.

Social Housing Programme for communities located in hazard locations Traditionally residing in the convictions of the informal sector, the Housing Programs concentrated on scale beyond that of the residential sphere.


98

The emerging architectural vocabulary is not a unified architectural solution but fragmented as urban possibilities.

The architecture and urban projects shaped the revival and dramatised the connectivity of Medellin.

Elaborating on an example of Social Housing, the architecture reiterates on economic and social tie conservation was used as a tool in modern city planning, amending an area to liberate small spaces by minimising the amount of historical demolition for new structures. Only 35 per cent of the places were converted to 5-storeyed structures. At a glance, Medellin surfaces as an intriguing model of how great design ambitions collectively play out on a larger stage.

The schools extend beyond the conventional functionality and serve as hang-out places for the whole family.


99

The new urban realm is designed as a composite of connective vectors of the city, stretching visually over the existing cityscape.

Juan Bobo Creek Settlement PLAN


100

The informal settlements before the urbanisation.

The city sprawl is woven with modernist interventions that frame variegated uses.


101

The modern city planning liberated small places and converted only 35 per cent of structures into 5-storeyed high-rises.

Emblematic walkways and urban plazas were introduced within the city to cultivate the urbanism.

Walkways Plan, Emblematic Streets Programme and Lineal systems to “connect the city” The paradoxical low scale neighbourhoods with modernist inter ventions play with a confluence of streets where ever ything comes together at a central space. The experiential paradigm embraces the natural land, unfolding out into plazas and views. Capturing the oppor tunity for the formulation of a radically and constantly evolving fabric, the intent was to focus on investment to rebuild the pedestrian streets, bridges and transpor t system.

The bridge connecting the divide between two areas of the warring city.

The city, a recursive spiral of these four programs, owes entirely to the intuition or judgement of Mayor Sergio Fajardo and Alejandro Echeverri who helped architecture to be pushed towards something objective, ex ternal and quantifiable. The community effor t frames a shift in the role for designers from urban to one of increased inclusivity, working from project inception and then continuously through the life of under taking. It is about social values having a priority, a sense of belonging, a sense of collectivism, a sense to dream and build together. The urban realm belies the purpose of design taking deeper roots rather than simply evolving individualistic interpretations. The whole city is a statement that resonates with the passion and commitment of its inhabitants— communicating from the overall design down to the last detail; all reminiscent of the same spirit…all expressions of the same sensibility.


104 IA&B - NOV 2010

Infrastructure as Design Himanshu Parikh, Principal of Himanshu Parikh Consulting Engineers, Ahmedabad collaborated with P. Parikh, Ph.D. Researcher at Cambridge University, UK to pragmatically bring about change in poor neighbourhoods through management of water, induction of environmental sanitation and development of hidden resources. Text: Ruturaj Parikh Photographs, data and captions: courtesy Himanshu Parikh.

T

he UN Millennium Development Goal Indicators show that 55.5 per cent (approx. 158 million people) of urban India lived in slums in 2001. Going by the $1 income per day definition, 43.3 per cent fall below poverty line. More studies display the growing gap between the rich-poor and urban-rural divide. India faces a huge deficit of basic services like health and sanitation with more than half of the country’s urban poor living in underserviced areas of our cities. Himanshu Parikh stresses on a paradigm shift in thought from that of ‘social service’ to looking at intervention in the informal sector as ‘business at hand’. This shift of thought can help alleviate poverty, overcome dependence on aid and help the community to depend more on its inherent resources and local partnerships. The project underlines three fundamental points of departure distinct from the conventional developmental wisdom. 1. Treat water and environmental sanitation infrastructure as a prime leverage to alleviate poverty and improve social indicators like health and literacy. 2. Treat the latent resources of the ‘poor’ and create conductive circumstances for the poor to mobilise these inherent resources making them not only the ‘beneficiaries’ but strategic partners. 3. Use technology and nature to bridge the gap between costs and resource development. Exploit the topographic features of the settlement to provide good quality network of basic services at costs lower than conventional low-cost building solutions. The site interventions can be viewed and planned for, from two distinct but interrelated approaches: The macro and the micro. At the macro level, it was noticed that the slums in Indore and other cities in India have a good proximity

Indore River before (above)and after (below) Slum Networking Project.


people centric practices to natural resources like streams and rivers. This correlation was exploited in Indore to provide economic, gravity based water and drainage networks. Slums thus become cost effective opportunities to bring about quantum change in the overall infrastructure and environmental qualities of the city. Once the correlation between the slum fabric of the city and its natural assets is recognised, strategic interventions can help change the attitude of treating the slums of the city as conflicting entity to an urban net contributing to the development of the city. The significant visible change of the Indore River before and after the six year environmental and infrastructural upgradation of the slum matrix of the city, stands testimony to the success of this alternative model of development.

b

a

Himanshu points out that although the Indore project was a successful model, it lacked the necessary participation of the affected community in formulation, implementation and maintenance of the project due to the funding coming from a UK government grant. Owing to this shortcoming, for the pilot project implemented in the Ramdevnagar slum in Vadodara, the project costs were shared by the local community, the Municipal Corporation and UNICEF with significant outcomes. The project implemented in the Sanjaynagar slum in Ahmedabad goes further by replacing external aid by contributions from local businesses like the Arvind Mills making public private partnerships stronger and effective.

Sanjaynagar before(a), during(b) and after development. Note the change in housing stock.


106

At the micro level, such strategic networking of the slum fabric provides good roads, individual water supply and sewerage, storm water drainage, soft landscaping and street lighting. These micro interventions not only upgrade the quality of life of the residents in the slum but also help make the otherwise vulnerable slums resilient to extremities of weather conditions. The slum networking project in Ahmedabad uses innovations like holistic computer modelling, roads designed as storm channels, constructive landscaping, flushing of sewers with rail and self ventilated manholes to improve infrastructural performance. This holistic approach called for intervention in the following infrastructural sectors: 1. Roads and topography management: To provide minimal roads with least disruptions to existing settlements and yet giving maximum access to good roads. 2. Storm water management: To provide roads having a road section designed with piped drains and laid as channels in excavation following a gradient. Roads thus act as primary water careers. 3. Water supply: To lay looped networks of PVC pipes having a protective concrete cover for water supply in place of stronger but costlier cast iron pipes. 4. Sewerage: To provide small private toilets in place of community toilets for better maintenance and reduction of subsequent failure costs. 5. Solid Waste Management: To avoid open drains as they become dumping grounds for solid waste and encourage the local authority to work with the community to collect and dump solid waste outside the slum. 6. Landscaping: To use landscaping as an engineering tool by sinking the roads below the adjacent land and using the excavated material to provide sufficient gradient to drain water towards the roads instead of ponding. Softscape designed to check erosion and reduce the speed of the flow of water. 7. Power and street-lighting: Streetlights to be installed not only to improve visibility but also to increase the sense of safety and security within the affected community.

Road during a dry (above) and a wet day (below).


107

The housing stock: before(inset) and after development.

All above interventions though being primarily infrastructural, have huge social impacts. There is a direct and visible improvement of living conditions resulting in better health of the community. This in turn reduces the medical expenses and helps keep epidemics in check. There is a noticeable reduction in the number of work days lost due to illness resulting in better economic wellbeing. The interventions in Indore, Bhopal, Vadodara and Ahmedabad have led to a drastic decline in infant mortality with reduction in cases of diarrhoea and malaria. Access to electricity and clean water encourages regular attendance to schools and improve the overall quality of educational services in slums. Upgradation of services in the slums, over a period of time has showed decrease in the expenses of the households thus contributing to economic stability. The â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;multiplier effectâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; of water and sanitation on the ultimate community investment in shelter and goods was found to be 24 times the initial government investment in services.

Impact of landscaping on Indore slum before and after development.

Indian cities are magnets attracting thousands to migrate to the cities due to the prospect of their inclusion in the financial future of the city. This incentive induced migration has acted as an informality breeding mechanism continuously increasing the number of underserviced citizens. Projects like this have a potential to change the attitude of the communities living in informal settlements from being stake holders to being stock holders in development. In a scenario where slums are a visible reality of our urban landscapes, in-situ upgradation of slums and retrofitting the informal segment with infrastructure can make our cities resilient to disasters and induce a sense of good overall environmental wellbeing in a city.


108 IA&B - NOV 2010

Infrastructure as Design Himanshu Parikh, Principal of Himanshu Parikh Consulting Engineers, Ahmedabad collaborated with P. Parikh, Ph.D. Researcher at Cambridge University, UK to pragmatically bring about change in poor neighbourhoods through management of water, induction of environmental sanitation and development of hidden resources. Text: Ruturaj Parikh Photographs, data and captions: courtesy Himanshu Parikh.

T

he UN Millennium Development Goal Indicators show that 55.5 per cent (approx. 158 million people) of urban India lived in slums in 2001. Going by the $1 income per day definition, 43.3 per cent fall below poverty line. More studies display the growing gap between the rich-poor and urban-rural divide. India faces a huge deficit of basic services like health and sanitation with more than half of the country’s urban poor living in underserviced areas of our cities. Himanshu Parikh stresses on a paradigm shift in thought from that of ‘social service’ to looking at intervention in the informal sector as ‘business at hand’. This shift of thought can help alleviate poverty, overcome dependence on aid and help the community to depend more on its inherent resources and local partnerships. The project underlines three fundamental points of departure distinct from the conventional developmental wisdom. 1. Treat water and environmental sanitation infrastructure as a prime leverage to alleviate poverty and improve social indicators like health and literacy. 2. Treat the latent resources of the ‘poor’ and create conductive circumstances for the poor to mobilise these inherent resources making them not only the ‘beneficiaries’ but strategic partners. 3. Use technology and nature to bridge the gap between costs and resource development. Exploit the topographic features of the settlement to provide good quality network of basic services at costs lower than conventional low-cost building solutions. The site interventions can be viewed and planned for, from two distinct but interrelated approaches: The macro and the micro. At the macro level, it was noticed that the slums in Indore and other cities in India have a good proximity

Indore River before (above)and after (below) Slum Networking Project.


people centric practices to natural resources like streams and rivers. This correlation was exploited in Indore to provide economic, gravity based water and drainage networks. Slums thus become cost effective opportunities to bring about quantum change in the overall infrastructure and environmental qualities of the city. Once the correlation between the slum fabric of the city and its natural assets is recognised, strategic interventions can help change the attitude of treating the slums of the city as conflicting entity to an urban net contributing to the development of the city. The significant visible change of the Indore River before and after the six year environmental and infrastructural upgradation of the slum matrix of the city, stands testimony to the success of this alternative model of development.

b

a

Himanshu points out that although the Indore project was a successful model, it lacked the necessary participation of the affected community in formulation, implementation and maintenance of the project due to the funding coming from a UK government grant. Owing to this shortcoming, for the pilot project implemented in the Ramdevnagar slum in Vadodara, the project costs were shared by the local community, the Municipal Corporation and UNICEF with significant outcomes. The project implemented in the Sanjaynagar slum in Ahmedabad goes further by replacing external aid by contributions from local businesses like the Arvind Mills making public private partnerships stronger and effective.

Sanjaynagar before(a), during(b) and after development. Note the change in housing stock.


110

At the micro level, such strategic networking of the slum fabric provides good roads, individual water supply and sewerage, storm water drainage, soft landscaping and street lighting. These micro interventions not only upgrade the quality of life of the residents in the slum but also help make the otherwise vulnerable slums resilient to extremities of weather conditions. The slum networking project in Ahmedabad uses innovations like holistic computer modelling, roads designed as storm channels, constructive landscaping, flushing of sewers with rail and self ventilated manholes to improve infrastructural performance. This holistic approach called for intervention in the following infrastructural sectors: 1. Roads and topography management: To provide minimal roads with least disruptions to existing settlements and yet giving maximum access to good roads. 2. Storm water management: To provide roads having a road section designed with piped drains and laid as channels in excavation following a gradient. Roads thus act as primary water careers. 3. Water supply: To lay looped networks of PVC pipes having a protective concrete cover for water supply in place of stronger but costlier cast iron pipes. 4. Sewerage: To provide small private toilets in place of community toilets for better maintenance and reduction of subsequent failure costs. 5. Solid Waste Management: To avoid open drains as they become dumping grounds for solid waste and encourage the local authority to work with the community to collect and dump solid waste outside the slum. 6. Landscaping: To use landscaping as an engineering tool by sinking the roads below the adjacent land and using the excavated material to provide sufficient gradient to drain water towards the roads instead of ponding. Softscape designed to check erosion and reduce the speed of the flow of water. 7. Power and street-lighting: Streetlights to be installed not only to improve visibility but also to increase the sense of safety and security within the affected community.

Road during a dry (above) and a wet day(below).


111

The housing stock: before(inset) and after development.

All above interventions though being primarily infrastructural, have huge social impacts. There is a direct and visible improvement of living conditions resulting in better health of the community. This in turn reduces the medical expenses and helps keep epidemics in check. There is a noticeable reduction in the number of work days lost due to illness resulting in better economic wellbeing. The interventions in Indore, Bhopal, Vadodara and Ahmedabad have led to a drastic decline in infant mortality with reduction in cases of diarrhoea and malaria. Access to electricity and clean water encourages regular attendance to schools and improve the overall quality of educational services in slums. Upgradation of services in the slums, over a period of time has showed decrease in the expenses of the households thus contributing to economic stability. The â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;multiplier effectâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; of water and sanitation on the ultimate community investment in shelter and goods was found to be 24 times the initial government investment in services.

Impact of landscaping on Indore slum before and after development.

Indian cities are magnets attracting thousands to migrate to the cities due to the prospect of their inclusion in the financial future of the city. This incentive induced migration has acted as an informality breeding mechanism continuously increasing the number of underserviced citizens. Projects like this have a potential to change the attitude of the communities living in informal settlements from being stake holders to being stock holders in development. In a scenario where slums are a visible reality of our urban landscapes, in-situ upgradation of slums and retrofitting the informal segment with infrastructure can make our cities resilient to disasters and induce a sense of good overall environmental wellbeing in a city.


108 IA&B - NOV 2010

Tailor made Transformation Treating community’s contribution and participation as a design tool, collaborative efforts of NGOs, Government officers and architects explore a new design methodology for a large scale urban redevelopment project in Pune. Text Compiled by: Sidharth Gupta (Source: Ar. Prassana Desai & Sheela Patel, SPARC) Photographs: courtesy the architect and SPARC .

T

he Government of India has initiated a housing scheme, BSUP (Basic Services for the Urban Poor) under JNNURM (Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission). It will help upgrade seven high density slum areas in Yerawada, Pune. Through the efforts and vision, the long term goal of the Pune Municipal Corporation is to achieve a “sustainable slum less city”. The challenge of upgrading slums and creating inclusion in cities for the urban poor through improved habitat has been one that Indian cities have neither taken up seriously, nor experimented with scalable options to explore a robust solution. This project examines the initiatives of community leadership of slum dwellers, especially women, from an alliance between Mahila Milan, NSDF (National Slum Dwellers Federations) and SPARC(Society for the Promotion of Area Resource Centres), an NGO which works to assist these community based national organisations, and its sister organisation SSNS (SPARC Samudaya Nirman Sahayak) a non-profit company that facilitates community organisations to bid for contracts to build homes and provide amenities to slum dwellers in Indian cities.

Yerawada marked in Pune City plan.

The architectural support for the project is given by Prasanna Desai, Architect and Urban Design Consultant, Pune, and his team. Architects from Switzerland, Filipo Balestra and Sara Goransson were involved in the initial stages on behalf of SPARC. Community’s contribution, participation and consent are being explored as design tools in an urban context of Pune. Design is being evolved with the multi-functional characteristics incorporated in a space constrained frame. This project is an in-situ slum upgradation for 4000 units in seven slums in Yerawada Pune. The zones of work are, Site A : Mother Teresa Nagar; Site B : Sheela Salve Nagar; Site C : Wadar Wasti; Site D : Bhatt Nagar; Site E : Netaji Nagar; Site F : Yashwant Nagar and Site G : Chandrama Nagar. The first phase began by documenting Site E: Netaji Nagar. After the documentation of existing fabric of slum site pattern, with the join consent, effort has been initiated to retain the overall fabric of the slum, in terms

Zoning Plan of Yerawada.


people centric practices

Ar. Prasana Desai briefing about the design to beneficiaries during â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Panchyat Meetingâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;.

Existing situation in slum.

Community getting briefed about design proposal.

SITE PLAN-SHOWING TEM PORARY STRUCTURES.


110 Hierarchy Of Open Spaces

Hierarchy Of Streets

Existing fabric of settlement.

Site Plan-Permanent dwelling units.s.

Legend Pakka House Ready for development OK with Alt. 2 Insisting on specific requirement which is difficult to a accommodate Rented and not met with owner Locked House Design Issue Money Issue Footprint Issue Not interested

Site Plan- Existing street patterns and spaces

Legend Pakka House Kaccha House Designed House Gained Space for community purpose

Site Plan-Classification of beneficiaries

of existing street patterns and existing footprints where neighbours remain neighbours, locals remain locals. Providing houses is not the only aim but involving the people in the process in an effort to work towards the betterment of their overall lives, is the goal. An attempt has been made, as far as possible, to contain the design within the existing footprint of the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;kachhaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; houses. And in case of larger plots, the owners were urged to surrender a part of the plot in the larger interest of the community. Thus, it helps them to make the existing streets wider for better accessibility and create community interaction spaces.

Site Plan-Netaji Nagar proposed plan.

Efficiency of housing has been interpreted in terms of site plan and dwelling unit, which is being achieved by various design considerations. The site plan has been redesigned in a manner that the user has easy accessibility to his residential unit, orientation of unit for better ventilation and natural light, location of amenities and better sanitation at individual dwelling unit level as well as at the overall settlement level and thus achieve better living conditions which will result in the overall upgradation of the slum.

Type A- Typical floor plan

Type A- Section.


111 To accommodate the 270sqft, the team of architects have proposed two types of building prototypes. a. Individual house (A type) – The prototype provides 135sqft area on ground floor with 10ft height and 135sqft on the upper floor with 14ft height (arrangement for a mezzanine floor which can be added later has been provided.

Type A-Model.

b. Cluster house (Building Type) – With the inclusion of additional height, an ‘interlocking’ design is evolved in which the beneficiary gets 270sqft on ground floor, with half of the area with 7ft height and the remaining area with 14ft height. Additional terraces are evolved by the design thus casting shadows for reduction of radiated heat.

Type A- View.

TYPE B-GROUND FLOOR PLAN.

Type A-Elevation.

Type A-Section.

The required area of 270sqft is achieved by the G+2 configuration of the structure. The area acquired by reducing the footprint of the existing house is ‘returned’ to the community. This helps in widening the streets & alleys, in creation of ‘chowks’ (small public squares) and community interaction spaces. The community would use these spaces for their social and religious activities like in traditional Indian villages and towns, where public isolation and inclusion levels are maintained in the spatial sense. Common streets, ‘chowks’ and other such outdoor areas are instrumental in promoting social interaction among the users.

Type B-Typical floor plan.


112

Type B Floor Plan.

Type B -Conceptual Model.

Type B Building type.

TYPE B SECTION.

For easy understanding of the design by the beneficiaries, temporary model houses were built on the site at a scale of 1:1. The materials used were bamboo and cloth. It helped in better understanding of the designs visually. The model houses included both, ‘Individual A-type’ and ‘Building type’. This is the process which was decided for implemention of work. However it was realised that another stage of group discussions are required before the commencement of work. Hence, discussion and

Section BB

meetings were conducted for and with the group of beneficiaries. The group comprised temporary houses having adjacent walls and thus needed to be constructed together as one structure. These meetings were called ‘Panchayat (rural court) Meetings’ for the benefit of all. In these meetings, all the beneficiaries from the same group were called for discussions. The team of architects explained the design in detail for final approval. Once the designs were approved by the beneficiaries, list of units to be demolished was given by the architects and designs were implemented on site.


113

Conceptual rendering on site.

Conceptual rendering of Netaji Nagar.

However, under this scheme, the community and people (residents) were the clients and the focus of the entire process. As the design for each and every house was discussed and approved by the beneficiaries before the actual construction, the house is a ‘Tailor Made Design’. The main advantage is that the beneficiaries are given new houses on their own footprint. The challenge of the project lies in this ‘reversal of roles’ of the Government and the Government bodies. This process goes beyond the office workspace and into the narrow lanes of the slum, where a beneficiary would desperately try and explain his attachment to that square inch of his plot; which probably is missed out in an architectural drawing.

Site under construction.

FACT FILE: Project

:

Location Architect Associate Architect Architects

: : : :

Trainee

:

BSUP In Situ Slum Rehabilitation for Urban Poor under JNNURM Yerawada, Pune Prasanna Desai Mahesh Thakor Neeraja Dharwadkar, Neha Ghugari, Vedang Bagwe, Tejas Joshi, Trupti Barkale, Anuja Chawda, Reshma Netke, Nitin Markad and Suraj Telang Sneha Thakur, Sneha Sharma, Hrishikesh Ghate, Akhil Gupta, Ashna Patel, Aravind Gopi, B.K.Swastik, Sagnika Chakraborty, Deepak Srivastava and Tejas Naik


114 IA&B - NOV 2010

The Promised City A two year project of cultural investigation between three cities: Berlin, Warsaw and Mumbai comes to a climax with a collection of diverse ideas and mediums addressing the cities that are and the cities that were meant to be. Text: Ruturaj Parikh Photographs: courtesy Goethe-Institut Mumbai.


art

The City that was meant to be

T

he cities of the globalised world of today are dream factories. They present an irresistible prospect luring an individual to a dynamic world of fantastic images and irresistible experiences. They hold out a promise, a promise they sometimes keep to reveal a hidden treasure, a fortune; a promise they sometimes break to shatter even the last fragment of hope. The city thus becomes a place for manufacturing, packaging and distributing dreams, dreams that form a layer of sheen on the deep waters of reality. Mumbai, Warsaw and Berlin, formed a ‘rather curious constellation’ two years back when the Polish Institute Berlin, the Goethe-Institut Warsaw and the Goethe-Institut Mumbai initiated ‘The Promised City’ project by inviting curators, intellectuals and artists to join the process of research and work unearthing the hidden treasures and horrors of these three remarkable metros. The inclusion of Mumbai; the schizophrenic Indian megapolis extended the perspective to a more holistic global view. The two year program consisted photographic documentation of various facets of the three cities, multimedia art-installation by Raqs Media Collective, a lecture series titled ‘If I can make it there...’, a journalistic exchange, a literary exchange (six authors exchanged their place of residency for three weeks and produced a series of essays) and screenings of a film series titled ‘Promised Cities’. Our cities have outgrown our cognitive perceptions. A city like Mumbai resists complete description like any other mythical city. The cities of our present were meant to be points of accumulation of dreams, which the city eventually turns into realities. The cities of our present were meant to be points of concentration of activity, from which the city eventually produces meaning. The cities that we so gladly conquer in our minds bring us to a realisation that what we have is an ‘endless, formless, ruin’ and with our conquest, we have conquered the decay of a million dreams. Should we even attempt to describe a city which is always in transition? Well, the predicament is that the moment we feel that we have successfully captured the city as what it is, the city changes for something else. But isn’t that the point? Isn’t a city always something else than we had dreamt of? Isn’t the city more about ‘going somewhere’ that is ‘not here’ rather than a point on the map? The schizophrenic cities of our present manufacture an alternative reality to exist in the dreams and the promises they hold out against the reality in which they present an omnipotent danger of a spectacular failure. Photographer Dhiraj Singh explores the ‘niche’ that people make for themselves in super-dense Mumbai. (Fortune Seekers)


116

Rami Tufi, a Frankfurt based photographer, indulges in the alienating landscapes of the ‘gated’ communities of Warsaw. (Fortune Seekers)

The City that it is ‘The Promised City’ project thus looks at the ‘idea of the city’ rather than the city as it is. It can be seen as a process of digging and unearthing the images of an alternative existence of the city in dreams and promises. As the Raqs Media Collective puts it, the project is ‘part-natural history, part-detective journal, part-forensic analysis, part-cosmopolitan urban investigation and part-philosophical dialogue’. As we look at the photographs catalogued under the title ‘fortune seekers’, we wonder if there are treasures that the city is hiding from us. As we move in the surreal space of the video installation by Raqs titled ‘The Capital Of Accumulation’, which goes as a counter narrative to Rosa Luxembourg’s seminal work in the form of ‘The Accumulation Of Capital’; we wonder if it could have happened and if it is happening. The three essays on the three cities; Mumbai, Berlin and Warsaw by Kaiwan Mehta, Ulrich Gutmair and Gezegorz Piatek, can be seen as investigative journalism attempting to ask questions and search for answers. Pieces of text which swing between ‘eureka’ and ‘damn’ moments capture instances when reality comes into grasp and then slips out. As an alternative means of

‘The Capital of Accumulation’; a video installation by Raqs Media Collective at the Project 88 gallery in Mumbai.


117

Berlin based photographer Rebecca Sampson goes behind the golden screen to capture the lure that is ‘Bollywood’. (Fortune Seekers)

The video diptych by Raqs Media Collective as a counter narrative to Rosa Luxemburg’s book ‘The Accumulation of Capital’.


118

‘REVOLTAGE’; a text sculpture with light bulbs and electricity by Raqs Media Collective, combines the words ‘REVOLT’ and ‘VOLTAGE’. (The Capital of Accumulation)

documenting the city, ‘The Promised City’ project focuses on the experience rather than the analysis. It asks the question ‘Why?’ more often than it asks ‘Where?’. It is an attempt to start a journey rather than to reach a destination. A journey through the sometimes elusive, sometimes unknown and sometimes anticipated realms of our urban existence takes us to places we have all been but not seen. Strong ideas and memories anchor the space of our imagination to the space of our reality establishing a connect; unique to every individual and every experience. Although some mediums of expression experimented

within the project seem ‘oblique’, it becomes clear that the nature of the brief indirectly stresses on cognitive means of documentation and expression. The City that it can be When one looks through the content of ‘The Promised City’ project, one realises that to ‘look’ is probably not enough. What is required is an engagement with the idea more than the product. In absence of this engagement, the work is just an addition to the already growing ‘heap of


119

Audiences indulging in a discussion with Lutz Konermann after the screening of his film ‘Dharavi-slum for Sale’ at the Max Mueller Bhavan. (Promised Cities)

The panel with Raqs Media Collective in discussion with the audience.

holdings once one engages with them? The city gets claimed and abandoned at a whim. The city forgets the ones who build it and then abandon it once it fails to keep its promises. The city can be benevolent to some and cruel to some.

commodity’ that we call art and literature. Can the city keep its promise? Maybe it can. But with one fulfilled promise, comes one new dream. With one new dream, comes one new promise. It makes one think of the paradox of a locked box lying unclaimed in a street corner outside an unknown house in the Raqs film diptych. Maybe the box holds a promise of something within. Some important object or revelation, intimate to someone who left it there. The box can reveal a spectacular dream or unleash horror. Are our cities unclaimed boxes of dreams and horrors only to partially reveal their

Through various mediums, ‘The Promised City’ project attempts to engage with the realities of the three cities it attempts to understand. Though one might feel a sense of over abstraction of the theme and a sense of disconnect while attempting to analyse a piece of work within the project, it is necessary to understand that the cities of our future will be as difficult to analyse and understand. The idea is to establish a sense of an individual perspective to continue to think of our cities as tangible entities. It is important to understand that the documentation of an experience marks a frame of time-space in our ever-changing cities with much greater accuracy and honesty than drawing of a map. ‘The Promised City’ might come across as a very abstract medium to understand our cities, but it certainly presents a fresh theme to think about, engage with and build on. It might not be about what our cities are, but it certainly is about what they can be.


112 IA&B - NOV 2010

Tailor made Transformation Treating community’s contribution and participation as a design tool, collaborative efforts of NGOs, Government officers and architects explore a new design methodology for a large scale urban redevelopment project in Pune. Text Compiled by: Sidharth Gupta (Source: Ar. Prassana Desai & Sheela Patel, SPARC) Photographs: courtesy the architect and SPARC .

T

he Government of India has initiated a housing scheme, BSUP (Basic Services for the Urban Poor) under JNNURM (Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission). It will help upgrade seven high density slum areas in Yerawada, Pune. Through the efforts and vision, the long term goal of the Pune Municipal Corporation is to achieve a “sustainable slum less city”. The challenge of upgrading slums and creating inclusion in cities for the urban poor through improved habitat has been one that Indian cities have neither taken up seriously, nor experimented with scalable options to explore a robust solution. This project examines the initiatives of community leadership of slum dwellers, especially women, from an alliance between Mahila Milan, NSDF (National Slum Dwellers Federations) and SPARC(Society for the Promotion of Area Resource Centres), an NGO which works to assist these community based national organisations, and its sister organisation SSNS (SPARC Samudaya Nirman Sahayak) a non-profit company that facilitates community organisations to bid for contracts to build homes and provide amenities to slum dwellers in Indian cities.

Yerawada marked in Pune City plan.

The architectural support for the project is given by Prasanna Desai, Architect and Urban Design Consultant, Pune, and his team. Architects from Switzerland, Filipo Balestra and Sara Goransson were involved in the initial stages on behalf of SPARC. Community’s contribution, participation and consent are being explored as design tools in an urban context of Pune. Design is being evolved with the multi-functional characteristics incorporated in a space constrained frame. This project is an in-situ slum upgradation for 4000 units in seven slums in Yerawada Pune. The zones of work are, Site A : Mother Teresa Nagar; Site B : Sheela Salve Nagar; Site C : Wadar Wasti; Site D : Bhatt Nagar; Site E : Netaji Nagar; Site F : Yashwant Nagar and Site G : Chandrama Nagar. The first phase began by documenting Site E: Netaji Nagar. After the documentation of existing fabric of slum site pattern, with the join consent, effort has been initiated to retain the overall fabric of the slum, in terms

Zoning Plan of Yerawada.


people centric practices

Existing situation in slum.

Community getting briefed about design proposal.

SITE PLAN-SHOWING TEM PORARY STRUCTURES.


114 Hierarchy Of Open Spaces

Hierarchy Of Streets

Existing fabric of settlement.

Site Plan-Permanent dwelling units.s.

Legend Pakka House Ready for development OK with Alt. 2 Insisting on specific requirement which is difficult to a accommodate Rented and not met with owner Locked House Design Issue Money Issue Footprint Issue Not interested

Site Plan- Existing street patterns and spaces

Legend Pakka House Kaccha House Designed House Gained Space for community purpose

Site Plan-Classification of beneficiaries

of existing street patterns and existing footprints where neighbours remain neighbours, locals remain locals. Providing houses is not the only aim but involving the people in the process in an effort to work towards the betterment of their overall lives, is the goal. An attempt has been made, as far as possible, to contain the design within the existing footprint of the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;kachhaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; houses. And in case of larger plots, the owners were urged to surrender a part of the plot in the larger interest of the community. Thus, it helps them to make the existing streets wider for better accessibility and create community interaction spaces.

Site Plan-Netaji Nagar proposed plan.

Efficiency of housing has been interpreted in terms of site plan and dwelling unit, which is being achieved by various design considerations. The site plan has been redesigned in a manner that the user has easy accessibility to his residential unit, orientation of unit for better ventilation and natural light, location of amenities and better sanitation at individual dwelling unit level as well as at the overall settlement level and thus achieve better living conditions which will result in the overall upgradation of the slum.

Type A- Typical floor plan

Type A- Section.


115 To accommodate the 270sqft, the team of architects have proposed two types of building prototypes. a. Individual house (A type) – The prototype provides 135sqft area on ground floor with 10ft height and 135sqft on the upper floor with 14ft height (arrangement for a mezzanine floor which can be added later has been provided.

Type A-Model.

b. Cluster house (Building Type) – With the inclusion of additional height, an ‘interlocking’ design is evolved in which the beneficiary gets 270sqft on ground floor, with half of the area with 7ft height and the remaining area with 14ft height. Additional terraces are evolved by the design thus casting shadows for reduction of radiated heat.

Type A- View.

TYPE B-GROUND FLOOR PLAN.

Type A-Elevation.

Type A-Section.

The required area of 270sqft is achieved by the G+2 configuration of the structure. The area acquired by reducing the footprint of the existing house is ‘returned’ to the community. This helps in widening the streets & alleys, in creation of ‘chowks’ (small public squares) and community interaction spaces. The community would use these spaces for their social and religious activities like in traditional Indian villages and towns, where public isolation and inclusion levels are maintained in the spatial sense. Common streets, ‘chowks’ and other such outdoor areas are instrumental in promoting social interaction among the users.

Type B-Typical floor plan.


116

Type B Floor Plan.

Type B -Conceptual Model.

Type B Building type.

TYPE B SECTION.

For easy understanding of the design by the beneficiaries, temporary model houses were built on the site at a scale of 1:1. The materials used were bamboo and cloth. It helped in better understanding of the designs visually. The model houses included both, ‘Individual A-type’ and ‘Building type’. This is the process which was decided for implemention of work. However it was realised that another stage of group discussions are required before the commencement of work. Hence, discussion and

Section BB

meetings were conducted for and with the group of beneficiaries. The group comprised temporary houses having adjacent walls and thus needed to be constructed together as one structure. These meetings were called ‘Panchayat (rural court) Meetings’ for the benefit of all. In these meetings, all the beneficiaries from the same group were called for discussions. The team of architects explained the design in detail for final approval. Once the designs were approved by the beneficiaries, list of units to be demolished was given by the architects and designs were implemented on site.


117

Conceptual rendering on site.

Conceptual rendering of Netaji Nagar.

However, under this scheme, the community and people (residents) were the clients and the focus of the entire process. As the design for each and every house was discussed and approved by the beneficiaries before the actual construction, the house is a ‘Tailor Made Design’. The main advantage is that the beneficiaries are given new houses on their own footprint. The challenge of the project lies in this ‘reversal of roles’ of the Government and the Government bodies. This process goes beyond the office workspace and into the narrow lanes of the slum, where a beneficiary would desperately try and explain his attachment to that square inch of his plot; which probably is missed out in an architectural drawing.

Site under construction.

FACT FILE: Project

:

Location Architect Associate Architect Architects

: : : :

Trainee

:

BSUP In Situ Slum Rehabilitation for Urban Poor under JNNURM Yerawada, Pune Prasanna Desai Mahesh Thakor Neeraja Dharwadkar, Neha Ghugari, Vedang Bagwe, Tejas Joshi, Trupti Barkale, Anuja Chawda, Reshma Netke, Nitin Markad and Suraj Telang Sneha Thakur, Sneha Sharma, Hrishikesh Ghate, Akhil Gupta, Ashna Patel, Aravind Gopi, B.K.Swastik, Sagnika Chakraborty, Deepak Srivastava and Tejas Naik


118 IA&B - NOV 2010

The Promised City A two year project of cultural investigation between three cities: Berlin, Warsaw and Mumbai comes to a climax with a collection of diverse ideas and mediums addressing the cities that are and the cities that were meant to be. Text: Ruturaj Parikh Photographs: courtesy Goethe-Institut Mumbai.


art

The City that was meant to be

T

he cities of the globalised world of today are dream factories. They present an irresistible prospect luring an individual to a dynamic world of fantastic images and irresistible experiences. They hold out a promise, a promise they sometimes keep to reveal a hidden treasure, a fortune; a promise they sometimes break to shatter even the last fragment of hope. The city thus becomes a place for manufacturing, packaging and distributing dreams, dreams that form a layer of sheen on the deep waters of reality. Mumbai, Warsaw and Berlin, formed a ‘rather curious constellation’ two years back when the Polish Institute Berlin, the Goethe-Institut Warsaw and the Goethe-Institut Mumbai initiated ‘The Promised City’ project by inviting curators, intellectuals and artists to join the process of research and work unearthing the hidden treasures and horrors of these three remarkable metros. The inclusion of Mumbai; the schizophrenic Indian megapolis extended the perspective to a more holistic global view. The two year program consisted photographic documentation of various facets of the three cities, multimedia art-installation by Raqs Media Collective, a lecture series titled ‘If I can make it there...’, a journalistic exchange, a literary exchange (six authors exchanged their place of residency for three weeks and produced a series of essays) and screenings of a film series titled ‘Promised Cities’. Our cities have outgrown our cognitive perceptions. A city like Mumbai resists complete description like any other mythical city. The cities of our present were meant to be points of accumulation of dreams, which the city eventually turns into realities. The cities of our present were meant to be points of concentration of activity, from which the city eventually produces meaning. The cities that we so gladly conquer in our minds bring us to a realisation that what we have is an ‘endless, formless, ruin’ and with our conquest, we have conquered the decay of a million dreams. Should we even attempt to describe a city which is always in transition? Well, the predicament is that the moment we feel that we have successfully captured the city as what it is, the city changes for something else. But isn’t that the point? Isn’t a city always something else than we had dreamt of? Isn’t the city more about ‘going somewhere’ that is ‘not here’ rather than a point on the map? The schizophrenic cities of our present manufacture an alternative reality to exist in the dreams and the promises they hold out against the reality in which they present an omnipotent danger of a spectacular failure. Photographer Dhiraj Singh explores the ‘niche’ that people make for themselves in super-dense Mumbai. (Fortune Seekers)


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Rami Tufi, a Frankfurt based photographer, indulges in the alienating landscapes of the ‘gated’ communities of Warsaw. (Fortune Seekers)

The City that it is ‘The Promised City’ project thus looks at the ‘idea of the city’ rather than the city as it is. It can be seen as a process of digging and unearthing the images of an alternative existence of the city in dreams and promises. As the Raqs Media Collective puts it, the project is ‘part-natural history, part-detective journal, part-forensic analysis, part-cosmopolitan urban investigation and part-philosophical dialogue’. As we look at the photographs catalogued under the title ‘fortune seekers’, we wonder if there are treasures that the city is hiding from us. As we move in the surreal space of the video installation by Raqs titled ‘The Capital Of Accumulation’, which goes as a counter narrative to Rosa Luxembourg’s seminal work in the form of ‘The Accumulation Of Capital’; we wonder if it could have happened and if it is happening. The three essays on the three cities; Mumbai, Berlin and Warsaw by Kaiwan Mehta, Ulrich Gutmair and Gezegorz Piatek, can be seen as investigative journalism attempting to ask questions and search for answers. Pieces of text which swing between ‘eureka’ and ‘damn’ moments capture instances when reality comes into grasp and then slips out. As an alternative means of

‘The Capital of Accumulation’; a video installation by Raqs Media Collective at the Project 88 gallery in Mumbai.


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Berlin based photographer Rebecca Sampson goes behind the golden screen to capture the lure that is ‘Bollywood’. (Fortune Seekers)

The video diptych by Raqs Media Collective as a counter narrative to Rosa Luxemburg’s book ‘The Accumulation of Capital’.


November 2010