Designing for a social process

Page 1







This wonderful journey of six years at CEPT would be incomplete without the mention of a few people. Urvi Desai, thank you. For guiding me through the dark times of thesis. For clarifying my vague thoughts into a cohesive meaningful text. Those endless discussions and insightful debates made this possible. Ma, Pa, Misri. For your unwavering support and unrelenting love. There are no words to acknowledge what you mean. Pinku, Nani. For your blind faith and unparalleled wisdom. Your words of encouragement push me to achieve a little more. Aashay, Adhish, Ravina, Tej, thank you. For your unending patience and tolerance. You guys are the foundation, the pillars of my life. Sagar, For being there, always. Aman, For understanding me,at times more than myself. Nishita, For just being yourself and not abandoning me all these years. Monik, For all the tough love. Dhwani, Kishan, Manuni, Prasik, Vedanti, For those talks which made even the worst day a little better. Thank you. Abhay, Christopher, Julius at Green Souls, thank you. For showing me an unexplored side to Mumbai and for letting me roam around the community farms as I please. This thesis wouldn’t have been possible without your inputs. Batch of 2011, Thank you for all the wonderful memories. You guys made these 6 years go by in a very hazy flash. And lastly, Faculty of Architecture at CEPT University. I am what i am today, because of you.



A need to tell and hear stories is essential to the species Homosapiens — second in necessity apparently after nourishment and before love and shelter. Millions survive without love or home, almost none in silence; the opposite of silence leads quickly to narrative, and the sound of story is the dominant sound of our lives, from the small accounts of our days’ events to the vast incommunicable constructs of psychopaths. Reynolds Price


Designers are storytellers. All designs naturally gravitate towards narratives weaving in and out of space. Everyone has their favourite spot, their favourite place. There are preferences of space where they would like to eat, sleep, think, stare at an empty wall or talk on the phone. It maybe the colour of the wall or the way the sun lights up the room or the creaking floorboard reminding them of a distant place or just the way the space makes them feel. But something about the way the space is made appeals to them and sticks in their memories. The designer’s job is not just to provide shelter and comfort in the best way possible, but much beyond that. It is to identify these everyday stories and weave an intricate space around them. The job is to imagine how stories will come to life in their creation and how the narrative of the mundane everyday will morph into a spiritual routine. The job is to figure out a way of space making that extends beyond four walls and imprints on its inhabitants a memory, an association. Thus, space transcends from just the physical and is built to the lived and experienced.







A Brief History of Space



The Production of Space



Space, A Social Product



Encounters, Assemblies and Continuity



Physical Affordance of Space



Community Farming, A Social Process



The Pixie Dust Community Farm



St. Paul’s Community Farm


An overview of how the ideas of space developed Understanding the theory as proposed by Lefebvre

Relating space, social process and spatial practice unfolding within

Interpreting the prerequisites for producing a social space Decoding how the built environment affords social interaction Applying the framework to the social processes within community urban farms

9 Inferences


10 Conclusion


11 Appendix


12 Bibliography



Lefebvre said, “(Social) space is a (social) product.�

(Lefebvre, Henri, The Production of Space, 1991, p. 26.)


Space is not just an empty container to fill with objects. It is simultaneously a product and a producer of social processes embedded within. When social processes unfold in a space, certain spatial practices emerge. Each form of spatial practice defines its space and the space in turn modifies the social process. Due to continued spatial practice, meanings and symbols are associated to an abstract space. Spatial practice appropriates space, thereby leading to production of a lived space of meanings, imaginations, symbols, images and associations. Space is produced through perception, conception and lived experiences. When these practices occur at a community level, collective spatial practices transform the spaces of their occurrence making it a social space. This is reflected in the social as well as the physical setting of the space. The built space affords certain kinds of social processes and interactions, which leads to particular spatial practices. This study aims to ascertain physical aspects of built environment that facilitate production of social space. When a space is designed keeping in mind these parameters, a social space maybe produced successfully. For the sake of this thesis, the act of growing food together is chosen as the collective social action. In Urban Community farms, social interaction takes place via the spatial practices of the farm. Certain social processes are encouraged via the physical setting of the farm within the site and within itself also. This engagement of people with the space and vice versa leads to production of a social space. The study takes up two such examples of social spaces of community farms and examines the physical factors that may facilitate the production of a social space. To determine design strategies that encourage production of a AIM social space for community farming. To understand and identify spatial practices and lived experiences OBJECTIVE involved in the social process of community farming. To understand how social space is produced by community through the social process of farming. To analyse and identify physical factors that may facilitate the production of a social space for community farms.


RESEARCH QUESTION How can physical space facilitate the social processes of community farms so that a social space may be produced? METHODOLOGY The study has been divided into three parts: 1. Theoretical Framework 2. Analysis of Case Study 3. Conclusion For the theoretical framework, these concepts are studied in depth through literature review. Evolution of the Concept of space in Architectural Discourse The Production of Space by Henri Lefebvre Spatial practice and Social process in a Social space Encounter, Assembly and Continuity Built environment and Social Interaction Classification of community farms according to structure Community farms as a social space A theoretical framework is then developed by establishing relationships between these concepts. The analysis of the case study is done in two parts. In the first part, the case is examined through the lens of the framework. The parameters derived from the framework are applied to the case study and potential sites of encounter, assembly are identified. In the second part, the observations of spatial practice are recorded through on-site field surveys and structured interviews of the participants in the community farm. Through these records, actual encounters and assemblies on-site are mapped. Inferences are derived by comparing the two maps in the two case studies.


All social processes, individual or collective, give rise to social SCOPE AND LIMITATIONS spaces and vice versa; but this study is limited to the social process of community urban farming. Farming for the study is limited to growing consumables/edibles. For the sake of the study, only urban farms have been looked at, where the decision of farming is self motivated and not imposed. The study only looks at farms, which have been in practice for a minimum of five years for an in-depth understanding of the lived experience. An analysis of the lived space is out of the scope of this thesis. The activity maps have been conjectured majorly from observations and also from interviews, first hand research that could vary for different people and different harvesting seasons.

Two cases with different physical settings are selected for analysis. SELECTION OF CASES In order to decrease the variables, both these farms are situated in the same climatic conditions of the city of Mumbai and are approximately of the same size. Both these cases are community urban farms, but the social structure and hierarchy in their organisation differs. The first case study called the Pixie Dust Farm is a community farm set up by a group of volunteers in Bandra. The second case study called the St. Paul’s Farm is a rooftop farm run primarily by an NGO in Dadar for the students of a Boarding school, expanding very recently in community participation.





Any definition of architecture itself requires a prior analysis and exposition of the concept of space. Henri Lefebvre, 1974, p. 15


Historically, Space has always been thought of as HISTORY OF SPATIAL THEORY an empty container, which is later filled with objects. Since the eighteenth century, “space” was mostly used as a synonym for volumes and voids. Along with being a physical property of dimension or extent, space is also a property of the mind and part of the apparatus through which we perceive the world. It is thus, simultaneously a thing within the world that architects can manipulate, and a mental construct through which the mind knows the world, and thus entirely outside the realm of architectural practice although it may affect the way in which the results are perceived (Forty, 2000). The origins of the use of space, as a concept in architecture, happened in Germany in the late nineteenth century. The German word for space “Raum” signifies both a material enclosure, a room and a philosophical concept. According to Adrian Forty, two distinct schools of thoughts developed further on the lines of volumetric theory and aesthetic theory. Before the concept of space was even discussed in architecture, it had found roots in the philosophy and the psychology of aesthetics. The first one creates a theory out of philosophy, centering on the works of Gottfried Semper and the other one concerns itself with the psychological approach to aesthetics, linking itself to Immanuel Kant’s theory. Semper proposed that the first impulse of architecture SPACE AS ENCLOSURE was the enclosing of space. The material components are only secondary to spatial enclosure (Semper, Der Stil, 1861). This remark about space creation was influenced by Hegel’s aesthetics where enclosure was a feature of architecture’s purposiveness, so inadequate and distinct from its aesthetic idea-bearing property. Following on Semper’s claim of spatial enclosure being a fundamental property of architecture, Adolf Loos in “The principle of Cladding” in 1898 said that the architect’s main task is to provide a warm and liveable space. The Dutch architect H.Berlage and German architect Peter Behrens also formulated space, according to Semper’s model, as a matter of enclosure. Camillo Sitte translated this theme of architecture to exterior spaces for the modelling of cities in 1889. This insight that space belonged not only inside the building, but also outside them was crucial to the 1920s. While this volumetric theory of looking at space was SPACE AS INTUITION OF BODILY developing, another understanding of space developed in the SENSATIONS late nineteenth century in the theory of aesthetic perception. According to Kant, who was trying to reduce the tension between the absolute space of Newton and the relative space of Leibniz, space is a part of the apparatus by which the mind makes the


world intelligible (Hight, Hensel and Menges 2009). In Kritik der SPACE AS INTUITION OF BODILY reinen Vernunft (1781) Kant states that Space is not an empirical SENSATIONS concept that has been derived from external experiences, nor does it represent any property of things in themselves or in their relation to one another. Instead, space exists in the mind a priori as a pure intuition (Forty, 2000). Not so many years ago, the word space had a strictly geometrical meaning and evoked the idea of an empty area. With the advent of Cartesian logic, space entered the realm of the absolute. Kant revised this old notion by reviving it as a tool of knowledge, belonging to the realm of the subject. Following up on Nietzsche’s notion of space as a force field, expressing the Dionysian instinct, generating the dynamism of bodily movements, philosopher Robert Fischer saw the possibilities of empathy for architecture by projection of bodily sensations. In 1893, German sculptor Adolf Hildebrand claimed that SPACE AS CONTINUUM “attention to the process of perception of things in the world might itself lead to grasping the inherent themes not only of sculpture but also of painting and architecture.” He left behind Semper’s “Spatial enclosure” concept by suggesting three important ideas: 1. Space itself is the subject matter of art 2. Space is a continuum 3. Space is animated from within (Forty, 2000). Spatial continuum means space as a three dimensional extension and a three dimensional mobility of our imagination. Like a body of water in which containers are submerged defining individual volumes of water but not losing the concept of the body of water. For arts like painting and sculpture, the problem is of converting the surrounding spatial continuum, which has detached itself from the object. But for architecture, space itself is the form with which the eye is concerned. And so walls and enclosure do not make up space but “ assume specific relative values only within the effect of the total spatial image.” The second essay titled The Essence of Architectural Creation SPACE AS SPATIAL CONSTRUCT belonged to the art historian August Schmarsow. Schmarsow recuperated spatial thinking for an inquiry into man’s kinetic relation to built environment with his spatial doctrines displacing the proportions of a static figure with the charged musculature of human movement (Schwarzer, 1991). According to Forty, Schmarsow stresses that the ‘spatial construct’ is a property of mind and should not be confused with the actual geometrical space present in buildings developed later by Heidegger. Schmarsow embarks on the theory of empathy that in perceiving things, the mind projects into them its knowledge of bodily sensations in the


encounter with space. Simply put, space exists because we have a body. SPACE AS NEGATIVE OF FORM

The third spatial account in the year 1893 was stated in Raumaesthetik und Geometrisch-Optische Tauschungen of the aesthetic philosopher Theodor Lipps. Lipps established that ‘the shape of the object was its mass; and the form was what remained after moving the mass: an abstract spatial structure.’ So Lipps identified two types of space: a geometric one and an aesthetic one. What remains after elimination of the mass of the object is called geometric space, while aesthetic space is the forceful, vital and formed space.

These ideas began to seep in the architectural discourse SPACE AS A SPATIAL CONSTRUCT after 1900. One of the examples is the Munich architect August AND A REVERSAL OF FORM Endell who borrowed Lipp’s idea of space being a negative of form and Schmarsow’s idea of a spatial construct and said that ”The human being creates, with his body, what the architect and the painter call space. This space is entirely different from the mathematical and epistemological space. The painterly and architectural space is music and rhythm because it meets our extensions as certain proportions…most people think of architecture as the corporeal member, the facades, the columns, and the ornaments. But all that is secondary. Essential is not the form, but its reversal space; the void that expands rhythmically between walls and is defined by walls.” ( Die Schönheit der grossen Stadt, 1908) Paul Frankl, in his thesis Die Entwicklungsphasen der SPACE AND SPATIALITY neueren Baukunst (1914), grafted a spatial history of analysing space in Renaissance architecture. According to Forty, Frankl’s thesis showed the relationship between spatiality and built spaces much better than any other account on space but also it had lost the distinction between mental space and actual geometrical space present in buildings, which was made by Schmarsow. So, spatiality had become a property of buildings and also a more practical concept for those involved with architecture. By 1920, Space was well established in the architectural SPACE AND MODERNISM discourse but in terms of built work there was not enough translation of these theories. Essentially during 1920s, Space was used in three different senses: 1.Space as enclosure 2.Space as continuum 3.Space as an extension of the body According to Berlage, the only architect whose work could be


identified as spatial was Frank Lloyd Wright but he himself did not describe his work in terms of space till 1928. The reasons behind modernist architects adopting the word space to describe architecture were many-fold. It served their purpose of legitimizing the modern and establishing a way to talk about it. Ultimately the motives for architectural interest in space differ from philosophical and scientific despite using the same terminology. In the period between 1920 and 1930, there was no limit to the production of meanings of space as Moholy-Nagy in the New Vision demonstrated by listing forty four different kinds of space. The adoption in English of space as a term happened with Siegfried Giedion’s Space, time and architecture in 1940, which presented architectural space not as a concept but as an existing built work (Forty, 2000). Similarly in Architecture as Space (1957), Bruno Zevi asserted that space is the protagonist of the architectural design and urban design. Finally with the influence of Giedion’s and the authority of first generation modernist architects the concept of ‘space’ became a normal category in architectural discourse throughout the world by the 1950s and 1960s. After the concept of space was placed in the epistemology SPACE AND POST MODERNISM of architecture in a Euclidean/Cartesian way with the result of producing abstract space, criticisms began to come from a range of formations. According to Forty, the attempt to lessen the importance of space was one characteristic of the post-modern architecture in the late 1970s and 1980s. This lead to the post modern criticism of space by Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown in Learning from Las Vegas, ”Perhaps the most tyrannical element in our architecture now is space… If the articulation has taken over from ornament space is what displaced symbolism.” These linguistic models of architecture that existed between 1950 and 1970 were offered resistance by architects like Bernard Tschumi and theorist Bill Hillier. Tschumi realized that while space is a concept, reducing it to just a thing of the mind and language is unfair because space is also real for it affects sense long before it affects reason. The paradox lay in the fact that it was impossible to question the nature of space and at the same time make or experience real space. It was both a concept and something experienced. In his work, Bill Hillier developed syntax of space by not using the linguistic faculties but by using spatial configurations. He believed that buildings are probabilistic space machines able to absorb as well as generate social information through their configuration. These complex and interrelated


approaches against modern space can be classified historically and qualitatively in three groups as historical Postmodernism [typological/vernacular examinations and linguistic formalisms] (Hight, Hensel and Menges 2009), ‘place’ theories [mostly based on Heidegger] and ‘new’ space theories [as a resistance to ‘place’ theories and also as a transition from them into social space theories]. (Forty, 2000). In Building, Dwelling and Thinking (1952), Heidegger SPACE AND THE PLACE THEORY states that space is neither a part of the apparatus by which the mind makes the world intelligible nor does it exist previous to one’s being in the world. In short, there is no space independent of one’s being in it. Forty states that Heidegger’s notion of space contradicts almost all the notions about space developed by the architects between 1890 and 1930. The effects of Heidegger’s ideas were not noticeable until the early 1960s in architecture when interpretations of his ideas was offered in Christian Norberg-Schulz’s books and Gaston Bachelard’s The Poetics of Space (1958). Space could be thought either as the mental, the intelligible, the mathematical, the space of philosophers or the lived, the sensory, the material and the practical. But as it was discovered later on, within this opposition also existed the pragmatic space of physical action, the perceptual space, the existential space forming man’s image of the environment, the cognitive space of the physical world, the abstract space of pure logics and the expressive space of the aesthetic value. (NorbergSchulz, 1971). Bachelard analyses space with its psychoanalytic and semantic sides over the relationship between our daily built environment and body (and also memory) in a ‘poetic’ way. Thus, there is a multiplicity of spaces, each piled upon or THE NEW SPACE THEORY contained within each other. In this multitude, Space runs the risk of becoming a vague and neutered concept. It becomes either the object or the subject and never quite surpasses that differentiation. As well as being a physical property of dimension or extent, space is also a property of the mind, a part of the apparatus through which we perceive the world. It is thus simultaneously a thing within the world that architects can manipulate and mental construct through which the results are perceived. (Forty, 2000) The following timeline captures the essence of the evolution of ideas about space briefly. The purpose of the timeline is to understand where Lefebvre’s theory of production of space fits in the larger discourse of space and the major works that influence his text.




2 PRODUCTION OF SPACE To speak of “producing space” sounds bizarre; so great is the sway still held by the idea that empty space is prior to whatever ends up filling it”. Henri Lefebvre, 1991,p. 15


In 1991, Henri Lefebvre, a French philosopher, attempted THE PRODUCTION OF SPACE to theorize space being produced as a dynamic relationship between the bodily senses, symbolic meanings, social organization and scientific representation. The Production of Space by Henri Lefebvre is one of the first and only comprehensive critiques of space, which at the same time attempts a general theory of space. It is the specific concept of dialectics that can be considered as his original contribution to this discourse. Lefebvre developed a version of dialectics that was in every respect original and independent. It is not binary but triadic, based on the trio of Hegel, Marx, and Nietzsche. The second determining factor is language theory. The fact that Lefebvre developed a theory of language of his own while leaning on Nietzsche was hardly ever considered in the reception and interpretation of his works. It was here that he also for the first time realized and applied his triadic dialectic concretely. The third crucial element is French phenomenology.While Heidegger’s influence on Lefebvre’s work The contribution of the French phenomenologists Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Gaston Bachelard has, for the most part, not received due consideration. These three neglected aspects could contribute decisively to a better understanding of Lefebvre’s work and to a fuller appreciation of his important and path-breaking theory of the production of space ( Schmid, 2008). Drawing from Hegel’s trio, he talks about the physical aspects of space, the conceived space. From Bachelard and Heidegger he talks about the phenomenological perspective of space. While referring to the materiality of space, he is heavily influenced by Karl Marx’s comments on space as a commodity and refers to it as perceived space. According to him, Space is neither about subject nor about object but a social reality. As Merrifield (2000) states Lefebvre tries to find a solution to the increasing pressure of the modern space, formed by the Cartesian tradition, on daily life particularly after 1950s. Lefebvre explains his spatial theory as an initiative for SOCIAL SPACE blowing up the modern thinking. In a more direct way, he does not accept what he calls ‘abstract space’, which is separated from the lived practice of space or from the local and physical properties of place. Lefebvre’s criticisms to the ‘space of architects’ are in fact the critique of abstract space. Abstract space according to him is the form into which social space had been rendered, separated from lived space. According to him, any discourse of space is incomplete without discussing social and lived space. “It is necessary to consider the space of social practice, the space occupied by sensory phenomena, including products


of the imagination such as symbols and utopia. Space can be considered as a production of physical space, mental space and social space.” Henri Lefebvre, 1991,p. 11

The notion of production is important to Lefebvre WHY PRODUCTION because in wide sense, production refers not just to fabrication of commodities by labour executed by a repetitive process but also to production of social processes through means, objectives, needs, goals, dreams, desires. Space does have dimensions but not the abstract geometric measurements, instead they are left, right, high, low, small and big. The question then while producing space is how high or low it is, corresponding to bodily rhythms and gestures. So between the mental, abstract construct of space and the material, physical construct of space is the third term of lived space relating to the body. Lefebvre identifies three ‘moments’ in the production of space that serve as his conceptual tools: spatial practices, representations of space and spaces of representation. These ‘moments’ are interconnected and they are each capable of producing space in their own right. 1. Spatial practice denotes the ways people generate, use, and THE SPATIAL TRIAD perceive space. 2. Representations of space are conceived spaces, born of savoir and logic: maps, mathematics, the instrumental space of social engineers and urban planners. 3. Spaces of representation, on the other hand, are lived spaces produced and modified over time and through use; spaces which are invested with symbolism and meaning. Perceived space is the space produced because of PERCEIVED SPACE the spatial practices established by the social process itself. It SPATIAL PRACTICE appropriates physical space accordingly. Spatial practice not only takes place in space but also in many cases precedes it. In a dialectical interaction; it produces space slowly and surely as it masters and appropriates. Spatial practice is defined as an array of organized human interaction and activity. It underpins and mediates representational space and representation of space through the everyday practices of people. (Allen and Pyke, 1994). It includes activities such as movement of goods, people and


collective action. In simple words, imagine that there are two roads from point A to point B. The first road is a shorter and more direct road. But, it is not a very pedestrian friendly road. It passes through small, dingy underpasses with cars zooming past by and buildings with blank, inanimate front facades. While on the other hand, the second road is a curvy path winding down a friendly neighbourhood with kids selling lemonade, playing on the streets, pan shops at corners and benches on the sidewalk under the shade of huge old trees. Now, if there is no time constraint one might choose to take the second route because of better wholesome experience. At one point even if there is immediacy, one might choose to walk quickly on the second route to reach the destination than to suffer the harshness of the first route. This decision is the outcome of how space is used, of the choices and practices in that space. Spatial practice seems to be about negotiation “between daily reality and urban reality“ ( Lefebvre, 1991). Conceived Space is the space conceptualized for the CONCEIVED SPACE REPRESENTATION OF social process. It assumes an abstract relationship between the SPACE physical space and its concept. It is the space of scientists, planners, urbanists, technocratic sub dividers and social engineers. It is the space which is abstracted and conceptualized. Lets build on the earlier example to understand this. Lets assume that the first route was redeveloped by the city. It now passes through one of the largest and the cleanest townships of the area. The roads are now wider and lined with trees, sidewalks and pedestrian crossings at regular intervals. But, in order to maintain this image of an elitist neighbourhood, all pan shops and street vendors have been banned, kids have had sports stadiums to play and malls to hang out in. The road has been conceived to cater to a particular vision, which may or may not fall in line with the spatial practice that has been established before. It has been conceived by the city architects and urban planners to encourage certain social processes and practices to take place. Lived space is the space, which exists through meanings LIVED SPACE and symbols associated with the social process. It is the lived, SPACES OF REPRESENTATION emerging from a relation between the perception and associations of space. It is the space of ‘inhabitants’ and ‘users,’ but also of some artists and perhaps of those, such as a few writers and philosophers, who describe and aspire to do no more than


describe. (Lefebvre, 1991). Continuing the same example, a particular spatial practice has been established where the second route is preferred. But the question is what makes it a favourite or a more preferred choice? It may be because of the sweet pan guy who greets you when you walk down the road or the kids who crowd around you for a candy following you till the end of the block. It can also be because of that big banyan tree that your mother used to take you to worship everyday. Some association or memory other than the spatial practice has been formed with the space of this route and it holds a meaning. Because of the layers of meaning, Lefebvre refers to this as the lived space – life cannot be divorced from meaning and symbol, or reduced to a simple set of negotiations. So this is where associations are deciphered and made, where images and memories begin – in the realm of meaning. Thus he identifies a spatial triad in the production of space through social processes – Perceived space, Conceived space and Lived space. All these are interconnected and capable of producing space. The triad of perceived space, conceived space and lived space, which in spatial translations leads to spatial practices, representation of spaces and spaces of representation form the core of his theory of production of space. These triads have transhistorical and transcultural character (Stanek, 2011). For the residents of the pols houses of the old city of Ahmedabad, the otlas were conceived as just entrances to their house, a threshold to pause while moving from the public to the private. But it became much more than that. Children played there in the afternoon, women sat and gossiped there in the evening and men played cards on the otla every night. Various spatial practices changed the perception of that space from a transition space to a lived space with associations and memories. When the same residents shifted to apartments, the symbolic gesture of the otla converted into entrance lobbies. Thus, the perception of the conceived space of the otla changed due to spatial practice, forming a lived space beyond the physical reality. Spaces can be appropriated by users against their intended conception and they are better understood as lived. Lefebvre believes that whereas spatial practice is a constant in social life, there has been a shift in the conceived and lived moments. Traditionally, space has been lived before it has been conceptualized, and practice has generated, and to some degree enveloped, representation. Lefebvre believes that now


Perceived Space of the otla

Conceived Space of the otla

Lived Space of the otla

representation precedes, and is distinguishable from, practice to such an extent that it has become possible “to define a world of representations ... [that] installs itself in the modern epoque, this world substituting itself little by little in the modern epoque for the anterior world, composed of myths, of symbols ...� (Lefebvre, 1980). Representational space functions as the intersection of the first two: the lived experience of perceived and conceived.



SPACE, A SOCIAL PRODUCT Space tends to be produced according to the rules that assign to spaces significations, which are a function of a certain vision of social relationships. Henri Lefebvre As quoted by Lukasz Stanek,1953, pg 24


In order to understand this, it is important to investigate the THE “SOCIAL� SPACE organization or the arrangement, which lent meaning to spaces, and to understand the underlying narratives of the formation of these meanings. (Social) space is a (Social) product. Jeremy Till in his book Architecture Depends breaks down this statement by Henri Lefebvre. According to him, the addition of brackets around the word social proves that the architect does not make space alone. The meaning is hence two fold. One is that space cannot be looked at, like it was in the enlightenment period; as an abstract entity without any social content; separated from its context. Secondly, it reiterates the fact that an individual in his head does not produce space. It is brought about by social forces that govern society. Lefebvre ties these agencies together in his spatial triad. The point to note here is that spatial triad may not be the only way to look at space, but one way to acknowledge that there are various social agencies that collectively produce space through perceived space, conceived space and lived space. Space is not only a medium for socioeconomic SOCIAL SPACE- SOCIAL PROCESS- SPATIAL transactions of things but also of reproduction of social and PRACTICE biological relationships. Each person practices and experiences space differently and, most significantly, articulates into different conceived spaces (Lefebvre, 1991). Space provides a medium, means and milieu through which people interact, establish certain relationships and social interaction happens. All these social processes result in a spatial practice over time and the resulting space formed is a social space. Different experiences of lived space enable different spatial practices. Lived experience of space can be broken down into sense of place, sense of territory, and sense of space. But, just as a social space comes about through social processes, the contrary is also true. Quite often, social spaces lead to formation of new social processes and spatial practices. They are mutually constitutive, in dialectical relation with one another. This is the essence of Lefebvre’s maxim: (Social) space is a (social) product. Space gives form to social process and is formed by it. It is a spatial metaphor for how people relate to each other. Social space is a setting for social processes resulting in spatial practice. Spatial practices include all heterogeneous activities of dwelling


that as a procedure modify everyday spaces and their objects by giving them meanings (Haumont, 1966). Basically, spatial practice looks at three aspects. Its first SPATIAL PRACTICE AND aspect is the physical space as measurable dimensions, empirical PHYSICAL SPACE reality, tangible arrangements, configurations and divisions. Physical appropriation of the space leads to binary oppositions in space like open/closed, hidden/seen, male/female and public/ private. These aspects of the physical space give an insight of the inherent social structures of the users. Spatial practice is where empirical reality meets society and the practices it employs in order to transform matter into its space(s). Space is therefore a human project realized in the physical world. Its second aspect is the social process by which the physical SPATIAL PRACTICE AND SOCIAL space becomes meaningful. Therefore, in addition to questions PROCESS of the physical reality of space, spatial practice is interested in the social mechanisms employed to transform matter into space. These can range from building practices and materials used to the assemblage of items necessary for the creation of a space. Spatial practice acknowledges that spaces are not simply created by societies but they also shape them. Walls, curtains, doors, streets, cliffs, mountains, and other physical regalia force human beings to move, look, listen, and act in certain ways. In the process, physical space shapes self-understandings and social identities. Social actions are required to make a physical space inhabitable. Path and roads result from continual repeated use. Houses are built by transforming materials into dwellings through habitation. Each society’s space is a socially mediated reality. The third aspect is the ways in which the physical space PHYSICAL SPACE AND SOCIAL shapes social interaction and processes in general. Spatial practice PROCESS is not unidirectional from social processes to physical space, but is a reciprocal relationship. Once a society shapes matter into its space that space shapes its self-identity and self-understanding. Physical space creates certain possibilities for how that space is used and experienced as well as imposing certain limitations on it. Curtains and screens restrict movement and vision; They require certain social processes obstructing vision and movement forcing people to walk around or away. The physical space shapes society by guiding, restricting, encouraging and crafting social processes. Analysis of spatial practice examines the way society transforms physical space, specifically the social processes behind transformation and vice versa.


Social space includes material aspects such as home, streets, neighborhoods, places and landscapes, in short the urban built environment (Sundstrom, 2003,Tajbaksh, 2001). Yet, it also encompasses symbolic and conceptual aspects including: meaning, consciousness, spirituality, discourse and individual and collective identity. Importantly, social space is not conceived as separate from the society, instead, both are aspects of human experience that exist dialectically. That is society only exists in relation to social space and vice-a-versa. These spatial practices are related by the social processes that produce and also by the impact they have on the process itself. This leads to a theorization of space as simultaneously a product of social practices and its facilitator- space as both produced and a product.

Spatial Practice

Physical space

Social Process


4 ENCOUNTER ASSEMBLY CONTINUITY Space is, therefore, pure form; a place of encounter,assembly, simultaneity. This form has no specific content, but is a center of attraction and life. It is an abstraction . . . What does the city create? Nothing. It centralizes creation. Any yet it creates everything. Nothing exists without exchange, without union, without proximity, that is, without relationships. Henri Lefebvre, 1991, pg 16


Production of space is about spatializing a social process SPACE AS A PRODUCT AND by appropriating space. Each form of social activity defines its A PRODUCER space. Social space is not only variable from individual to individual and from group to group but it is also variable over time. 
All people strive to shape their social space in hopes of improving the quality of their everyday lives. However, different social groups and different individuals have greater or lesser abilities to change the spaces of everyday life. (D. Massey, 1994). Yet, as a part of a dialectic relationship in which space is produced and space in turn produces, Lefebvre describes certain special spaces as being crucial to the process of creating social space as they provide active contexts for negotiation of a social group’s self definition (Lefebvre, 1991). These special places are not isolated from their broader SOCIAL SPACE OF GROUPS contexts of social practice and experience, but stand as singular nodes for the self-presentation of those communities. Activities at these places can evoke moments of stirring co-presence and collective unity (Turner, 1969). In order to change their social space, people undertake community action to improve their quality of life. According to Lefebvre, such venues of collective action and significance play a crucial role in production of social space. Lefebvre concludes that social spaces incorporate social COMMUNITY ACTION IN SOCIAL actions, the actions of subjects both individual and collective ( SPACE Anderson, 2016). This concept can be applied at the global scale, the intermediary scale of a community and a private scale of a dwelling. The collective appropriation of shared spaces is the link between the two extreme ends of the scale, the global and the private. The appropriation can happen on various scales and at different levels through social interactions and community action. When the collective space is appropriated through community action, lived space as an experience secretes into the other two levels also (Stanek, 2001). A social act is any intention, aim, plan, purpose, and so on, which encompasses another self. Social interactions are the acts, actions, or practices of two or more people mutually oriented towards each other’s selves, that is, any behavior that tries to affect or take account of each other’s subjective experiences or intentions. These may be affecting another’s emotions, intentions, or beliefs, or anticipating another’s acts, actions, or practices. Community action on the other hand requires prior interaction. Certain spatial practices imbibe community identity and mobilize collective action.


Thus, community actions and collective spatial practices COMMUNITY SOCIAL SPACES also bring about social space. Collective social space is the physical and conceptual environment of people’s everyday lives. It is where people experience the world and interact with one another. For any community space to be qualified as a social space it has to encourage Encounter, Assembly and Continuity. Social encounter is a particular sort of concept, focusing ENCOUNTER on confusion, tension, trauma, and possibly social change that may emerge in contact with people and things. The encounter holds a potential for the unexpected; the effects are often unpredictable. The encounter may contain a tension and a great potential for the exercise or collapse of power. Encounters may reproduce a social pattern that not only plays a key role in such reproduction, but also contains potential for transformation and change (Cornell, Fahlander, 2007). At intersections, people with different needs and interests, moving in different directions are concentrated together in a tight space. This frames the possibility of chance encounters (Stevens, 2007). When the design of a path allows for random people to meet, a social process begins. The possibility of social interaction might encourage people to hang out more on the path, making it a spatial practice. It no longer remains a journey from one point to another but transforms into a social space. When the space affords or encourages possibilities of encounters between its users, it gives more value as a community space. Social space implies actual or potential assembly at a ASSEMBLY single point or around that point. Elaborating further, any space that provides the potential for gathering of a group of people, which allows for unplanned activities, social processes and various other processes to happen in a time period, qualifies as a social space (Lefebvre, 1991). Everything that there is in space, everything that is produced either by nature or by society, either through their co-operation or through their conflicts is a part of the assembly. Therefore, it implies the possibility of accumulation (a possibility that is realized under specific conditions). Urban space gathers crowds, products in the markets, acts and symbols. It concentrates all these and accumulates them. When the design of a plaza allows for people to gather in large or small numbers, a social process begins. The act of coming together encourages people to use the space for collective action, making it a spatial practice. It no longer remains a space for large


numbers but transforms into a social space. The possibility of assembly in a space assures social interaction to increase between people and gives a chance to unplanned social activities. This adds meaning to the community space. Lefebvre asserts that social space is the outcome of past SIMULTANEITY/ actions (Lefebvre, 1991). For a social process to begin, spatial CONTINUITY practice has to be established over time. Social processes refer to forms of social interaction that occur again and again. For encounters and assemblies to convert to spatial practices, they have to happen more than once. Only when spaces are revisited can associations be developed. The lived experience of an individual has a large influence on the continuity of a space. When the physical space is flexible enough and expressive enough for the users to imprint their own memories on it, the space starts holding symbolic meaning and it becomes much more than its built form. When this happens, continuity as a social process unfolds which gives the space an historic meaning. Continuity also helps in maintaining the social interactions and bonds forged through the previous two social processes.


5 PHYSICAL AFFORDANCE OF SPACE Architecture must have social effects in at least three areas: direction, production and image. Direction here means that architecture has an influence on how people behave in space. More broadly speaking, designs suggest “how people might live.” The designer’s direction is, therefore, a representation of space—not only is it a prescription for the configuration of urban form, but it makes assumptions about the spatial practices of the users, their understandings of space, and the symbolism carrying the designer’s intentions. Peter Davey, 1981, pg. 203 As quoted by Richard Milgrom


If translated into architectural discourse, Lefebvre designates representations of space as the dominant space in any society. It is the space of scientists, planners, urbanists, technocratic sub dividers and social engineers, as of a certain type of artist with a scientific bent—all of whom identify, what is lived and what is perceived with what is conceived (Lefebvre, 1991). Clearly this is the realm within which the architect is most comfortable (Milgrom, 1981). As established in the earlier chapters, for a social space to be produced it is imperative that people meet (Encounter), people gather (Assembly) and they do this again and again (Continuity). Because of the interrelatedness of the spatial triad, it is not enough for the architect or the designer to just produce representations of space. Their productions of space have to be influenced by the spatial practices around them and their own understandings of meanings attached to space. So in order to conceive social spaces, the design of the built form has to communicate an understanding of spatial practices and meanings, such that social processes of encounter, assemblies and continuities transpire. That Built Environment does have some influence on social interaction and social processes cannot be disputed. The arrangement of rooms, walls, windows and streets does affect the opportunities people have to see and hear each other and thereby, respond to each other. It is one short step from being given a chance of interaction to the actual act. But, this also does not mean that built environment is the only factor which gives rise to social interaction. A lot of other personal and social factors are also at play like sense of ownership, sense of belonging and comfort. Personal factors include personality traits, interpersonal dynamics and attitudes, which are largely influenced by people’s background. Informal social factors include the relationship between an individual and other individuals or groups, and the resources available to individuals that may influence their social interactions with others. 
Formal social factors comprise organizational policies and hierarchical structures.
The extent to which each of these factors influences social interaction, the relative importance of design factors and how all the factors interact with each other requires further investigation. But this thesis does not deal with social impetus for interactions. Of course, the importance of design in influencing social interactions should not be overestimated. This study is bases on the premise that the built has a role to play in encouraging certain social processes, however small that role is, it aims to study the physical affordance of the built environment that do so. James Gibson defines Affordances as the properties of environment


that enable it to be used in a particular way. For example, a window affords the user a view of the outside; the horizontal surface of the chair affords a user to sit on it. A cognitive affordance is a design feature that helps, aids, supports, facilitates, or enables thinking and/or knowing about something. A transparent glass door at the entrance of the shop could be a cognitive affordance enabling the user to perceive the function of the shop without entering it. A physical affordance is a design feature that helps, aids, supports, facilitates, or enables physically doing something. Continuing the same example, the design of the door so that it swings open automatically is a physical affordance encouraging the user to actually step inside the shop. These affordances of the built environment give clues to the users about activities and use of the space, they communicate meanings and encourage certain behaviors and interactions. The design of the built form and the way the built form interacts, influences human behavior and fosters interaction. In the context of interactions, built space thus, becomes more than just a backdrop but, it is an integral part of their occurrence and by extension the negotiation of social status, roles, identities (Fisher, 2009). The built environment participates in the spatial practices of the space by its physical and cognitive affordances. Jon Lang asserts that the built environment at every scale is a cultural cipher reflecting the social organizations that create it and to which it caters. Social factors like sense of belonging, security, health, and support are afforded by the physical settings in which the social activity unfolds. The physical and social infrastructures that facilitate social connection and social capital are based on the social interaction (Williams, Pocock, 2010). The built space can be designed to encourage more social interaction, which in turn encourages community appropriation of the space through spatial practices and social processes. These affordances are translated in design strategies for three levels of the space. First is the spatial organization of the space with respect to its context, second is the nature of the enclosure and third is the spatiality of space itself. Site: Size Location Access Paths Envelope: Depth of Entry Permeability Visibility Space: Density Proximity Flexibility Proportion Shade Material This is not an exhaustive list of parameters but a list inferred from J. William’s theory of social interaction in Community spaces.


Size: The size of a space with respect to its site also has a great influence on social interaction. Overall, there are fewer interactions in large spaces because the users remain unknown to each other. Because of this anonymity, a smaller community space works better for interaction. More interactions and encounters are likely to happen if the size of the space is equivalent to the number of users. The smaller a community, the greater its intensity and the more residents are prepared to participate in communal activities and use communal spaces (Birchall, 1988). Location: In terms of their position in the layout of the site, facilities need to be central and accessible (Fromm, 1991; McCammant & Durrett, 1994; Abu-Gazzeh, 1999).The location of a space within the context has a certain degree of influence on the relationship it shares with the public realm. If the space is positioned so that it affords accessibility to more number of people, irrespective of whether they are using the space or not then the space has more possibilities of encounters because of increased footfall. Cognitive affordances of the space increase when the space is centrally located with respect to the outside and its users. On the contrary spaces that are secluded or isolated, tend to have fewer chances of random encounters. Ground level direct entry access also contributes to positive social interaction as opposed to spaces located on higher levels. Access: The approachability and accessibility of a space has a great influence on the range of encounters and assemblies that it affords. Presence of explicit checkpoints like a locked gate or implicit control points like a watchman’s cabin act as barriers making the space less inviting reducing its cognitive affordance. If there are pause points or threshold spaces while gaining access, then the physical affordance for assembly and encounter increases. They provide a gentle transition between public and private space (Abu-Gazzeh, 1999). These transitional spaces may also act as an excellent interactional space because they increase the potential for surveillance of the public space for prolonged periods, which increases opportunities for potential meetings. It is not just a question of providing opportunities for seclusion or interaction found at the extremes of the scale of privacy but every gradation of accessibility shapes the conditions of social interaction in subtle ways.


Paths: Shared pathways to a community space also increase the potential for social interaction (Abu-Gazzeh, 1999). Access to and fro from somewhere that get people to cross paths with each other increases the chances of interaction. These points where paths coincide become potential points of encounter. When pause points are situated on these routines, these points become points of assembly. The design of paths affords people to stop and engage with each other. If circulation through the site is designed in such way that the space is visible from various paths, it increases the cognitive affordance for encounters. Depth Of Entry: The actual travel distance and the time taken to reach the space also affects chances of encounters. Farther the space from the entry, more are the opportunities of meeting but that doesn’t necessarily mean that those opportunities are utilized. While, some places are more reachable, others are too private and secluded. The former is likely to promote social encounter, while the latter engenders a higher degree of exclusion. Having larger depth of entry can also be deterring because only interested people who might anyway meet each other would end up on that path. Permeability: Permeability of the enclosure talks about whether the enclosure affords exchange between inside and outside. Opportunities for surveillance within the community are the key to higher levels of social interaction. Users’ ability to see and hear others, greatly influences their sense of community and enables them to observe others with whom they would like to interact. If there is a physical or conversational exchange between the inside and outside, it becomes a potential point of assembly and encounter. Contrastingly, if the enclosure is too permeable it also makes the space more penetrable and less secure. Visibility: Visibility of space is also important to increase opportunities for surveillance, thus increasing use and opportunities for social interaction (Abu-Gazzeh, 1999). If the enclosure of the space is such that it cuts off visual connection to the outside, its cognitive affordance decreases. Contrastingly, if the enclosure is such that a visual connection can be maintained, not only does it induce a sense of security, but also includes a sense of curiosity so that more people will interact with each other.


Density: Density in this case is the ratio of developed space to undeveloped space. The density of a space has a great impact on the physical affordance of assembly. Logically, when the density of a space is low, it can hold larger gatherings and contrastingly if the space is too dense, it cannot afford assembly. Another view suggests that a relatively dense place increases the chances of face-to-face interactions, thereby increasing familiarity and bringing a sense of community. (Dempsea, Brown and Bramley, 2012). Material: Use of certain materials in spaces gives clues about the kind of engagement the space affords. For example, a smooth textured wall affords people to lean against it. The material of the space has a major role in deciding where people assemble for long periods of time and what surface do they occupy while sitting or standing. Proximity: Social contacts are enhanced in a community when users have opportunities for contact, in close proximity to others and have appropriate space for interaction (Festinger, 1950). Increasing proximity through design increases repeated passive contacts between users, which helps to form social relations. Proximity of functions also divides public and private zones leading to the sense of territoriality. Varying degrees of privacy also influence the kind of social interactions afforded by a space. However, the relationships established through physical proximity are occasionally overcome by functional relationships. They may also be overcome by social distance (Abu-Gazzeh, 1999). For example, certain functions require large gatherings of people and even if the proximity of the function doesn’t afford it, the point still becomes a potential assembly node. Proportion: Proportion in built environment, in a narrow sense, can be understood as a scalar relationship between parts in relation to the whole. The perception of proportion is regarded as a rational component of spatial experience, as a primary means through which spatial forms are grasped. Some dimensional relationships of the parts express compactness whereas others suggest vertical or horizontal movement. The spatial experience allows certain social processes to take place and forms social relationships. Spaces, which are taller in proportion, afford large gatherings to take place.


Flexibility: Communal spaces provide excellent opportunities for social interaction. Communal spaces (indoor and outdoor) need to be good quality, suitable for their use but at the same time flexible (McCammant & Durrett, 1994; Abu-Gazzeh, 1999). This will maximize their usage and therefore maximize potential for social interactions. More the flexibility of the space, more engaged it keeps the users leading to potential sites of assembly and encounter. Shade: Shelter from climatic conditions has a great influence on where encounters and assemblies take place. Adequate and comfortable seating, solar access and protection from wind, rain and other climatic elements are major reasons for people choosing certain spaces over others fro meeting and gathering. After studying all these theories and establishing links between them, the following theoretical framework can be generated which is then used to analyse the case in point.

Production of Space Perceived Space Conceived Space Lived Space

Physical Affordance

Spatial Practice

Social Space

Encounter Assembly Continuity

Social Process


INTRODUCTION TO CASE STUDY Two cases with different physical settings are selected for analysis. In order to decrease the variables, both these farms are situated in the same climatic conditions of the city of Mumbai and are approximately of the same size. Both these cases are community urban farms, but the social structure and hierarchy in their organisation differs. The first case study called the Pixie Dust Farm is a community farm set up by a group of volunteers in Bandra. The second case study called the St. Paul’s Farm is a rooftop farm run primarily by an NGO in Dadar for the students of a Boarding school, expanding very recently in community participation. These case studies are then analysed from the framework developed before. But instead of going from Production of Space to Physical Affordance and then back to Production of space, we will go in the reverse direction. This is done so as to check the theoretical framework developed in the earlier sections against hard reality and to analyse theory against practice.

Production of Space Perceived Space Conceived Space Lived Space

Physical Affordance

Spatial Practice

Social Space

Encounter Assembly Continuity

Social Process



Although the act of growing food in the city might seem like a small gesture towards sustainability, it is often through these seemingly minor acts of pleasure and shifts in thinking that change happens. Donati, Cleary and Pike 2009 p. 219


By definition, community farms are sites which self identify COMMUNITY FARM themselves as community places, are primarily voluntary, grow DEFINITION edibles and also have collective or participatory management structures of organization. These sites organize people and act as nodes of social interaction in various communities. A broad spectrum of activities other than farming also takes place here. Activities, which encourage formal and informal learning like workshops, arts and cultural productions like festivals, community building and management events like markets are also encouraged. Some community farms involve a host of dedicated gardeners while some get more temporary volunteers and visitors. Different people associate varied meanings to these community farms. For some, these farms are sites of leisure, of health betterment, of community interaction, of environmental development, of intercultural interaction, of learning and also for doing their bit for nature and society. The act of community farming promotes social interaction between people. Social processes are played out in the physical space of the farm. These community farms have a significant variation in COMMUNITY FARM TYPES their physical characteristics. Even a small change in the envelope of the space changes the experience of the physical space. Many community farms are surrounded by fences, some with low open gates, others high and limiting access. Some community farms are locked, with only members or plot holders having access. Most of these have open access for the general public for at least part of the week. Other gated farms are open during daylight hours and locked only at night. Some community farms are cultivated and harvested communally; others are comprised partly or mostly of plots leased to individuals and groups. In some farms, members come at their own time to tend to their individual plots and participate with other gardeners few times a year. Others invite more intensive collaboration, growing, harvesting and distributing food on a communal basis. Most farms have regular social activities, such as shared meals, times for gardening together and meetings. Some community farms are used as venues for other local groups, in much the same way as community centres and neighbourhood houses. They are used for playgroups, public meetings, performances and parties. Educational activities at community farms range from informal knowledge sharing between gardeners to organized skill-shares to accredited education programs in horticulture, permaculture and other areas. Some community farms offer programs for primary and secondary school classes, while others provide internships to university students in public health, community development, education, and environmental management.


The lived space produced via the spatial practice of community farming activities corresponds to the reasons cited for involvement like access to green space for children, forming social networks, enhancing ecological value etc. Recognizing the role of a community farm as not just a space for people to meet and farm but as a space for social process to play out enables the reading of this community space as a product of people’s social and moral aspirations, a manifestation of their vision and values. The farm space becomes a space for collective social interaction. These community farms can be classified in two ways, either by their layout or by their origins or management structure. When classified according to their layout, the farm can be either communally gardened or have individual plots. In practice, there is some overlap between these two. Farms that have mostly allotted lands also have communal areas of plantings and shared social space such as seatings and shelters. Some communal farms also have some land allotted for individual farming. When classified according to the organizational structure, the farm can be either bottom up or top down. Farms initiated by grass root initiatives rely on resources and help from various sources like the governing body, NGOs or some donor. In this case, the participants and the volunteers take full ownership of the farm. Farms initiated under some agency or a group of individuals require more participation and a sense of community ownership is more difficult to generate. Under these typologies, six models of community farms can be looked at. The most common of these models is the self-managed community garden, where community members collectively manage the garden, with varying degrees of support from other organizations. These are mostly located on publicly owned land typically managed by the volunteers who grow food. These farms are generally open for participation for the entire community. Nana Nani Park, Mumbai Maharashtra Nature Park, Mumbai Established around 2009, both these community gardens are situated in a recreational park in a residential neighbourhood. Community members manage the parks with support from a local group called Urban Leaves. The project at the Nana Nani Park funded by the Nana Nani Foundation is aimed at providing a green activity of composting organic waste, growing herbal, medicinal plants and vegetables in an organic way. This activity was mainly started for the senior citizens and children but participation has extended to all people coming to





the park regularly. The second model is a council managed allotment farm THE COUNCIL MANAGED where a council manages the space giving out allotted farmland ALLOTMENT FARM to interested people. All the major decisions are taken by the council keeping in mind the interests of the individual plot owners. Kannamangala Community Garden, Bangalore Kannamangala Community Garden(KCG) is a Do-ityourself and assisted kitchen garden for the urban population. KCG has been developed on the land owned by one of the founders. The land has been divided into subplots of 25’ x 25’ which are rented out to agriculture enthusiasts. The rent includes all the necessary infrastructure and assistance such as water, labour, seeds, manure and saplings. The participants are in charge of the production of their land and are free to choose what they do about the produce. The founders are responsible for providing the necessary infrastructure and for organizing markets and fairs for community interaction. Railway tracks, Mumbai Under the “Grow More Food” campaign of Central Railways, the recently vacated land next to the railway tracks has been given on lease to railway employees for farming. The appointed employee or his family and community members then look after the allotted lands. The produce is then directly sold off to the nearby shopkeepers or direct customers. This initiative provides not only an additional source of income for the employees but also deters slum encroachment, enhances a sense of community in the caretakers all the while greening the concrete city of Mumbai. The third type of model is a council-volunteer community THE COUNCIL-VOLUNTEER farm model in which the long-term gardeners themselves COMMUNITY FARM are promoted to a council like position. Other volunteers also participate in the farm but long-term volunteers take up most of the ownership. These are larger in scale than communal gardens. Some members who also conduct various social and educational programs for the community may manage these. St. Paul’s Church, Mumbai Established in 2001, the community farm is located on the rooftop of a 3 storey building in the church campus. It was started under an organization founded by an enthusiastic member of the church with a green thumb. The students of the orphanage and members of the organization are the main volunteers at the


farm. Some of the participants have been associated with the farm for more than 5 years and now are the main caretakers of the farm. There is a housing model where a community farm is THE PRIVATE HOUSING FARM developed in a housing premise. Most of the times, these farms are only open to the residents of the housing moving away from the true sense of a community garden. Whitefields, Bangalore A resident of the Whitefields community started her own terrace garden in Whitefield, Bangalore 10 years ago. Using techniques like rainwater harvesting and composting, the resident tried to propagate the ideas of living sustainably. Since then it has expanded into a community garden covering a couple of vacant plots, where people actively volunteer to grow food and take home the produce. The only drawback to this system is that only residents are encouraged to participate in the activities of the farm. Another model is an agency-managed model in which THE AGENCY MANAGED FARM an agency is employed to take care of the farm. Volunteers and participants are also encouraged in this model but all the decision making power lies with the agency. Institutions like health centers, schools, and community centers can involve the on-going support and involvement of a professional community worker, or support during the start-up period while moving towards collective selfmanagement. Mumbai Port Trust, Mumbai Established in 2006 on top of the Mumbai Port Trust building by the kitchen workers, this community farm focuses on recycling the kitchen waste. The 3000 sq. ft. farm started out under the guidance of Urban Leaves, an organization that manages and sets up urban farms in the city. The kitchen workers and the other members of the Port trust along with a few neighbours are the regular participants in the process. The major decisions regarding farming are taken by the responsible member of Urban Leaves executed by the volunteers and participants.


Adyar Cancer Institute, Chennai In 2012, the doctors at the cancer institute employed Restore Gardeners to restore a piece of wasteland into a sustainable kitchen garden for the patients and their families. Not just for the patients who see the striking patch of green just outside the hospital wards, the farm has also become a place for people to come in, volunteer and bond. Volunteers from corporates, children from various schools, staff of Cancer Institute have pitched in at various times and supported them. There are parts of the farm, which are allotted to specific patients and their families to take care of. The other parts of the farm are open for everyone. The last model is a private community farm developed THE PRIVATE COMMUNITY FARM and maintained by an individual or a group of individuals in a community. These farms generally are operated on by a select group of people managing their own resources and finances. The produce of these farms are also either used commercially or sold to benefactors. Table restaurant The Table, with the assistance of Fresh & Local, a movement to facilitate urban farming in Mumbai, has started to grow fresh, high quality fruits, herbs and vegetables without chemicals, for the restaurant. The long-term goal of The Table Farm, which is based in Alibag, is to provide The Table with as much seasonal produce as possible, over about an acre of land. The Table has opened their farm to the public with handson workshops where, along with Fresh & Local, participants discuss design of the farm, build permaculture beds, plant seeds and transplant seedlings, and end with a lunch made of freshly harvested crop from the restaurant.




The Pixie Dust Community Farm was established in 2011 in the backyard of the St. Joseph’s Convent School. The convent is located on the very busy Hill road within a medium density residential area. The farm has a separate entrance a little far from the main access. The entrance which was earlier used a back entrance to the old age home is now a dedicated entrance for the farm. The 1000 sq ft. farm space was a construction waste dump yard, next to the cemetery. Two enthusiastic church going citizens convinced the kind nuns to let them convert it into a community space. The dead space was transformed into a community farm with help and support of the nuns, students of the convent, patients of the nearby drug rehabilitation centre and the neighbours. A dead log was planted with flowers to make a Butterfly patch. An herb garden dedicated to growing medicinal plants and edibles was laid out. Vegetating plants and fruiting trees were sown in the other patches. The output, however small, was donated to the convent or to the rehabilitation centre. They collect dry waste from the campus of the convent and wet waste from the nearby Elco market for composting. They also sell seeds, saplings and extra compost to keep the farm running. Every Sunday small markets are organized in the farm where they sell homemade products and plants in the community. Other community members can also use this space to sell or display their works. Income generation is done through workshops, which are organized every weekend. Through these workshops, recycling activities are encouraged and also awareness is spread amongst the participants. The workshop and the exhibition/market are the backbones, which keep the farm running. The farm is a completely self-managed bottom up initiative where the gardeners take most of the decisions and participation is voluntary. The sisters of the convent and the old age home hereby referred to as non-users (non-participating), find the farm to be a peaceful relaxing atmosphere for socializing in the evenings. For the young kids who participate in the workshop, the farm is a break from their busy city lives. The slow and calm nature of the farming activities brings them closer to nature and their surroundings. It also keeps them occupied. The young volunteers who come to the farm ritualistically every weekend find themselves doing their bit for the environment. A few of them also state that the farm brings back memories of their childhood. Major longterm volunteers are people who helped initiate this farm and have been in this journey for more than 4 years. The patients of the drug rehabilitation centre discover a new incentive and passion


while engaging routinely in the farm activities. The rest of the week when the garden is closed to public it is run by recovering substance abuse addicts and the volunteers from the convent. From here on, these volunteers are referred to as users. A lot of these volunteers were just people passing by the farm who got enticed with the activities and decided to join in. Such happenings are a regular thing where people from outside get curious, join them for a session or two and then develop interest and continue their journey. These people who can be potential users, showing curiosity in the happenings of the farm are hereby referred to as outsiders. The farm is a community space organized, managed and run by the volunteers themselves. It is open for everyone in the community to participate. The farm is a social space because it allows people to meet and gather there and it brings them back again and again. Encounters, Assemblies and Continuities happen in this space, which has been conceived as a community space. According to the framework, certain physical features of space encourage the social processes of encounter, assembly and continuity. Certain spatial practices unfold in physical spaces due to these affordances. These physical parameters are thus important in turning in any space into a social space. One of the parameters in producing a social space is size of the space. The total farming area is 105 sq m within a campus of 470 sq m. Since the size of the farm is relatively small, other parameters play out well. The farm is fairly compact so people have a higher chance of meeting each other in their paths and engaging with each other. The activities of the farm are also not scattered, concentrated in one area which helps bring people together as opposed to a farm which is spread over a large area which divides people into groups. The other parameters, which are played out in the spatial organization of the farm with respect to the rest of the site, are: Location Access Paths Depth of Entry Permeability Visibility Density Shade Material Proportion Proximity Flexibility


Scale 1:2000 Context Plan


SCALE 1:250 Scale 1:250 Plan

1. Old Age Home For Sisters 2. St. Joseph’s Chapel 3. Cemetery 4. Entry Space 5. Market/Display Space 6. Workshop Space 7. Viewing Space 8. Storage Space 9. Preparation Space 10. Farming Space 11. Composting Space 12. Water Point 13. Attractions


Scale 1:250 Long Section through the farm

Scale 1:100 Short Section through the old age home


The farm is on the ground, near to the street edge, which LOCATION makes the farm a node for casual meetings and gatherings to take place. The location of the farm on the street edge with a separate entrance makes it central to its users who are majority from outside the site. It makes it more accessible also to the outsiders who want to visit the farm, helping in encounters. The fact that it is located on the street edge and not in the interior of the site makes it susceptible to random encounters between the users and outsiders. As indicated in the diagram below, the school, which generally holds workshops for kids, happens to be on the same street. The drug rehabilitation centre also is just opposite to the convent campus. Most of the users from the nearby residential neighbourhood also come from the south of the site. This does not mean that people from far off do not visit the site at all but the frequency of visits is more of the people living closer to the site. This makes the location of the farm with a direct street access in the most favourable position for encounters between outsiders and users.

Scale 1:2500 Plan showing location of various user groups


Scale 1:100 Plan and Section of Farm Entrance

The main entrance of the farm is separate from the entry ACCESS of the site, directly from the main street. The farm also has two other entrances through the Convent and from the backyard of the Old Age Home. But the non-users mostly use both entrances because they are situated deep into the site. This indirect access is discouraging for outsiders or users who do not have prior knowledge of the farm. As indicated in the diagrams, the farm has two iron gates, which open inward in a welcoming gesture. These gates are usually open in the mornings encouraging people to step inside the farm. The absence of any level difference between the outside and inside enables continuous movement. The slight upward slope after crossing the second gate guides one to move towards a larger open space. The access is a potential assembly point between users and outsiders because it is almost like an extension of the pavement. The space between the two gates also acts as a buffer zone between the public pavement and the private interiors of the site. This gentle transition acts as an interaction space. There are no other control points between the farm and the street.

Scale 1:500 Plan showing various access routes


Since the farm is situated near the edge of the street close PATHS to the main entrance, paths of many people intersect within the space of the farm. The nuns and the sisters of the convent pass by the farm when visiting the old age home. The farm acts as an interaction point for non-users using the back entrance of the site. One door of the old age home’s common room opens into the farm, which leads to the back entrance that is closer than the main entrance of the site. This increases the interaction between the non-users and the users. The small bench near the second gate also acts as a major interaction point for the users and non-users on their way out. The paths of the outsiders who have come to visit the graveyard next to the farm also lead them to the farm space, giving rise to potential encounters. All the intersection points of various paths in the diagram are major potential nodes of interaction and encounters.

Scale 1:500 Plan showing path of various user groups


The depth of entry for the street entrance is almost 5m. DEPTH OF ENTRY It takes an average person with a stride of 0.7m approximately 7 steps or 6 seconds to reach the interior of the farm. Whereas, the entry through the chapel is approximately 94m long. For an average person, this takes around 125 steps or 65 seconds. This direct entry makes the street entrance more frequently used. Visitors coming for the first time may use the chapel entry but because the depth of entry is much more in this case, they prefer the other street entrance when visiting the farm again. This makes the street entrance more suitable for chance encounters between outsiders and users. The presence of the seating near the entry also makes it a point of assembly for users and non-users. The depth of entry from the backyard of the old age home is even more than the chapel entry even for the non-users. Since this is the least preferred path, the chances of encounters and assembly are also less.

Scale 1:500 Plan showing depth of entry for various access


The farm is completely visible to the non-users from the VISIBILITY north and west side. The south has a compound wall with a steel wire mesh on top and the east has a high solid wall disconnecting it from the neighbour. The affordance of maintaining a visual connection creates opportunities for chance encounters and assembly between outsiders and users. It also increases interaction between the nonusers of the old age home and the chapel. When the sisters of the old age home open their windows, they can directly see the farm and its activities. It makes them feel involved and interested in the farm. This leads to encounters and assembly between them and the users. From outside when the gates are open, the outsiders can see the hustle and bustle of farm and the market/ exhibition space. The steel mesh on top of the compound wall also affords a visual connection between the outside and the inside. This makes them curious enough to come inside and talk to the users. All these potential encounter are made possible because the envelope of the space affords transparency between the public street and the private space of the farm.

Scale 1:100 Section showing visibility of enclosure

Scale 1:250 Plan depicting visibility of enclosure


The compound wall on the edge of the street is only 1m PERMEABILITY high and after that is a 1.5m steel diamond wire mesh. One side of the farm shares a compound wall with the neighbour. This wall is a completely solid 2.2m wall. The rest of the two sides are completely open with no boundaries. The porous nature of the south enclosure encourages a connection between the inside and outside unlike the east enclosure which blocks off any connections possible. Generally perforations in the enclosure afford visual connections but since farming is done while sitting down, outsiders cannot actually see the users but can hear them. Even this leads to a possible encounter between outsiders and users. The steel mesh also affords physical exchange between the inside and the outside. In this case, the pan shop and the tea stall near the entrance support various interactions and assemblies upon supplying tea and cigarettes through the mesh. There have been instances where the mango tree branching out of the porous mesh has stimulated a conversation and an exchange of mangoes between the two. This leads to an off chance encounter between an outsider and a user.

Scale 1:100 Section showing exchange near the Mango tree

Scale 1:100 Section showing exchange through the tea shop


The farm has certain developed spaces, which are built DENSITY and fixed permanently. The rest of the spaces are undeveloped which are used for circulation, movement and gathering. The planters at the farm are so compact that the undeveloped space does not offer opportunities for assembly. The spaces around the butterfly patch and the fish tank near the entry offer some relief in this dense space and these are the spaces with the most potential for assembly or encounter. Since only focused farming work happens in this space, the less dense areas also are used for only one to one interaction at the most. In the exhibition/ market space, the density is comparatively less and so the space affords to hold more number of gatherings. Contrastingly, even though the workshop space is a bit tight, it affords focused learning and interaction to take place. The partially dense areas have sitting spaces, which then become potential gathering spaces. Areas where composting and preparation like turning leaves is done are also sparse so that a large number of people can gather there. As indicated in the diagram below, the spaces, which are sparse, afford more assembly than the spaces, which are dense.

Scale 1:250 Plan showing Density


The entry being near the exhibition/market space allows PROXIMITY for more outsiders to encounter with the space. It is also closer to the workshop and the viewing gallery, making it easier for outsiders to interact with the users. Since this space is also in path of the non-users, it acts as a potential encounter and assembly space for non-users, users and outsiders alike. The storage and the leaves turning space being closer to the farm than to the market/exhibition space do not afford for outsiders or non-users to interact with users but it affords interaction between only focused users. The viewing gallery being closer to the other functions of the site affords for the non-users to participate in the interactions taking place in that space. Since the farm space is further away from the more public oriented functions, more user encounters are frequented there. The more resource oriented functions like composting and gathering leaves are also kept away from the public leading to more user encounters and less of the other two. The close proximity of workshop space and the viewing gallery allows surveillance and so the chances of encounters between outsiders and users also increase drastically.

Storage 8 sqm

Preparation 13 sqm

View 10 sqm

Workshop 10 sqm

Display 21 sqm Compost 28 sqm

Farm 105 sqm

Water Point 1.3 sqm

Attn. 8 sqm

Entry 17 sqm

Spatial Adjacency Diagram Public Functions Utility Based Functions


The pavement has two different paver blocks creating a MATERIAL hierarchy for the pedestrians and cyclists. There is no level difference between the two just a change in material. Upon entering the farm, there is a transition from paver blocks to hard RCC paving. This RCC paving continues through the market/ exhibition space, the viewing space and goes up right to the chapel. Meanwhile, the workshop space and the compost area are paved with tiles. The ground where farming occurs and leaves are prepared for composting is covered with dry leaves to control evaporation. The tiling done in the workshop area makes it easy to maintain and clean. This encourages people to sit on the floor for the workshops and gather there for a long time. The directionality of the RCC paving leads the users and the outsiders directly to the market/ exhibition space and to the viewing space from where they can get a look at the farm and its activities without disturbing them. The composting area is also tiled because the activity of composting requires people to sit on the floor. The space of the farm is generally not preferred for long sit down sessions because of the dry leaves on the ground. Thus, it does not give opportunities for assembly.

Scale 1:250 Plan showing material differences


The huge trees growing on its campus mostly shade the SHADE farm. The non-shaded parts are the spaces where farming takes place and where sunlight is needed. In the climate of Mumbai, people generally prefer the shaded spaces for protection against the harsh sun. Most of the large assemblies, which take place for a long time, are in the shaded areas. The diagram below shows the shaded areas between 9 to 12 pm, which is when most of the farming takes place. The Jamun tree, the Mango tree and the Coconut trees adjoining the space mostly shade the market/ exhibition space. The chairs in the viewing space are also kept under the shade of the Ferns and the Coconut tree. The shade of the large Jack fruit tree is used for covering the leaves while turning and shredding them. The leaves prepared for composting are also kept under the shade of the Mango and Badam tree. These shaded areas afford people to gather under them and meet each other.

Scale 1:250 Plan showing shaded areas


Flexible spaces have a potential for creating multiple FLEXIBILITY spatial practices. The market/ exhibition space has movable tables and fixed seating for display, which can be arranged in various ways for different sizes of gathering. The workshop space has limited flexibility due to its compact size but when needed, the viewing space is also arranged in a way that multiple workshops can be held at the same time. The movable chairs are shifted under the Jack fruit tree around its parapet. The patches of plants are also kept flexible and they are changed from season to season. The flexibility in the farm space allows for more people to meet and work in the monsoon when there is more ground work to be done. The patches are arranged in a much less compact manner so that more people can be involved in the soil turning process. The intense farming activities are kept in less flexible spaces like the storage and composting area. This creates routines of working pattern amongst the users, which then becomes a potential point of encounter.

In the farm, the relative proportions of each space respond PROPORTION to the human scale and the spatial practice of the space. These proportions also afford for certain practices and social processes to unfold. For example, there are tall trees flanking both sides of the exhibition space. This makes it appear to be much taller and narrower. The elongated proportion of the space guides movement from entry to the exhibition / market space. The linear axis encourages people to move towards the market and since the space seems taller it can hold more people. On the other hand, the farm space has shorter trees and plants. For a compact dense space, the overall proportion becomes shorter and wider. This makes the space seem larger than it is encouraging more people to work and farm. In order to break the monotony of the high compound wall and bring it down to human scale, sitting spaces have been provided next to the entry. This makes it a major gathering point for outsiders and users.


After analysing each parameter individually, it is evident FINDINGS that not all parameters work objectively to give rise to potential Encounters and Assemblies in the social space of the farm. The possibilities of encounters and assemblies in a space depend on a combination of these parameters and in some cases; they take place despite these parameters also. When compared to the activity maps of spatial practices as recorded and observed on site and through interviews, certain findings come forward. There are two ways in which possibilities of encounter or assembly may arise. One is a direct affordance of the space due to its physical characteristics and the other is a chance of encounter or assembly due to its cognitive affordance. For outsiders, the location of the farm on the edge of COGNITIVE AFFORDANCE LOCATION the street and the direct access from the street are the most ACCESS favourable for encounters with users and non-users. The lack of PATHS DEPTH OF ENTRY any physical or psychological control points makes the farm more VISIBILITY accessible for pedestrians from the southeast entrance. Moreover, PERMEABILITY a threshold space is given for transitioning from a public space to a private space. This encourages people to take a pause while stepping in the farm to engage with the activities without any restrictions. This changes the perception of the farm to the public eye making it more welcoming and approachable. Even the visibility and permeability of the enclosure of the farm regulates interaction between inside and outside. More transparent and permeable the boundary, more people would be intrigued by the activities of the farm leading to encounters between users and outsiders. When the paths of the non-users and outsiders lead them near the farm and if the farm is visible and accessible from that point, chances of encounter are more. The largest assembly and encounter point in this case is PHYSICAL AFFORDANCE DENSITY the Market/ Exhibition space. The relatively low density of the PROXIMITY space affords to hold a large gathering. Moreover, the space MATERIAL remains shaded for most of the time it is used. The space also SHADE PROPORTION affords sitting on the parapets leading to smaller assemblies on FLEXIBILITY the periphery. Its close proximity to most of the public functions like the entry, viewing gallery, workshop and the directionality and grandness it achieves due to its proportion lead to encounters between users, non users and outsiders. The space is also flexible enough to hold various sizes of assemblies and encounters at the same time. The second largest assembly and encounter point is the Entry. Even though the space is partially shaded, its close proximity to public functions like the Attractions, market/ exhibition space,


workshop and its low density encourages more encounters and assemblies of outsiders. The depth of entry for this access is the least and by putting chairs near the pan shop, it has become a pause point. The subtle change in the flooring material marks a threshold space, which is large enough to hold a gathering of people transitioning to the public street. Paths of the users and non-users also coincide in this space with the paths of the outsiders, which is immediately visible from the street. The intersecting space of the workshop and the viewing space holds the third largest assembly and encounter point. Even though the space is relatively dense, it remains completely shaded and it also affords for people to sit on chairs and on the floor. The close proximity of the space to the old age home, the chapel and the entry makes it potential encounter point for users, non-users and outsiders. Paths of non-users also pass through this space increasing chances of interaction with the users in the workshop and those viewing it. The farm space does not afford assembly because of its density but due to its compact nature, proximity to other utilitarian functions and its wider proportion; it encourages one to one interactions between users. The space near the attractions is not as dense as the farm space around and so it allows for smaller gatherings of people. The storage is kept closer to the farm and is in a permanent place so that a fixed routine of the users can be maintained. This daily pattern entices interactions amongst regular users. Despite the relatively small size of the storage, people still gather here because it is a shared resource. The composting and preparation areas afford large gatherings of people due to its sparse density. The partially shaded spaces do not encourage a lot in interaction except when promoted as a group activity. Its close proximity to other utilitarian functions encourages only users to engage in the space. The water point at the far end of the farm space also encourages encounters between users appointed with the task of watering the farm. The sitting space nearby allows the users to interact with each other under the shade of the Saptaparni tree while controlling the flow of water. For any discussion about the social process of continuity, it is important to understand the lived space of the people, even though its analysis out of scope. The regular participation and familiarity with a space gives a sense of ownership which fosters interaction. Many times, community participation is also brought


about by the associations formed during the spatial practice. This has been inferred from the information obtained during the interview. Structured interviews of various user groups were done to generate the data which is presented henceforth. The farm was visited 4 times in a period of 2 months during weekends, weekdays and also a special occasion like a festival. On an average 50 people happen to be present in that space out of which 12 were interviewed personally over the time of 4 visits. Focussed group discussions were held with around 20 more. The farm was visited mostly in the morning evening hours when the space is active. It was visited once during harvesting season and thrice during composting and planting season. Besides recordings and observations done on site, accounts of lived experience were generated by inferring from the interviews. The user group in this case consisted of mainly the initiators, the drug rehabilitation programme patients, students from nearby schools and their parents, the nuns residing in the old age home, the sisters of the convent and certain enthusiastic volunteers. Each had their own reason for joining the farm and for continuing to come there. For Mr. Lobo, a recovering drug addict, the activities at the farm changed his life forever and helped him overcome his addiction. He started coming to the farm as a part of a compulsory exercise but his involvement in the interactions at the farm made his health better. For him the farm is not just a place to come and grow plants and hang out with other people. It holds a symbolic meaning in his life for the time that his life turned around. It reminds him of the struggle that he undertook and invokes in him a deep sense of victory. It has been a year since his discharge from the centre but he continues to come to the farm. For Christopher, one of the initiators of the farm, the idea of giving back to the community and to mother nature was sacrosanct,. With the help of the sisters of his daily church, he set up the community farm to involve all interested people. While growing up, he had a small little garden where he used to grow plants with his grandfather. When urbanisation and land crisis arose, his small little garden was chopped off and a building took its place thus disconnecting him from his childhood. This sense of loss remained with him throughout until he decided to set up the farm for people like him. For Mrs. Priscilla, one of the nuns at the old age home, the farm is her go to place when she needs some quiet time and


also when she wants to meet new people. Even though she does not participate in the farming activities, she still likes to spend time at the farm because it reminds her of a different happier time of her youth. She thinks of the trees and plants at the farm as her own children and looks after them when nobody is present at the farm. These are just a few examples of the lived experiences obtained from the interview. From this it is evident that the space of the farm holds certain associations and meaning fro its participants and non participants alike which facilitate the continuity. From the above discussions of cognitive and physical affordances , the following maps of potential assembly and encounter can be generated. The map at the bottom of the next page shows the actual spatial practice as observed on site. By comparing the two, we can infer that most of the assumptions of physical parameters coincide with the actual practice.

Assembly Encounter Applicable Non- Applicable



Depth of Entry




Scale 1:250 Plan showing potential Assembly and Encounter points

Scale 1:250 Plan of Spatial Practice as observed on site




Established in 2012, the community farm at Our Lady’s Home is located in Dadar, the heart of city of Mumbai. Our Lady’s home is a boarding school for young boys in need of care and shelter on the campus of St. Paul’s Church. The church sits on the edge of a market street separating Dadar and Parel in a medium density residential neighbourhood. The farm was started by an organization called Green Souls with a vision to build Mumbai’s largest sustainable rooftop farm. The boys of the school are the major participants in the farm along with interested and enthusiastic teachers of the school. Volunteers associated with the organization also help out in the farm on a regular basis. The long-term volunteers run the farm with help from the students and teachers. Initially, the farm was developed in a garden patch on the ground floor of the boarding school. When the school underwent renovation, the kitchen garden was converted into a play area and the farm was shifted to the terrace of the 3-storey building. The only access to the farm is through the staircase of the school. The farm has been retrofitted on top of an existing building and so certain precautions have been taken to ensure no water leakage takes place. Plants are potted in waste buckets and cardboard boxes bound together by waste paper and dry coconut leaves. These patches of plants are then watered through drip irrigation method where the dry leaves and coconut shells help in absorbing and retaining moisture. The farm was developed progressively by collecting and recycling waste from around the campus. The farm mostly grows medicinal plants and vegetables. A separate area has been assigned for flowering plants that attract butterflies and bees, important for pollination. Kitchen waste and dry leaves from around the campus are collected and used to make compost. The produce is consumed in the kitchen to cook for the children of the school. The main aim of the farm is to harvest organic herbs and vegetables for the consumption and nutrition of these children and to create an oasis for them, providing an outdoor learning environment that is safe, creative and healing. The farm is maintained by the Green Souls organization that raises funds by holding workshops for outsiders and students of nearby schools. They also encourage donations in terms of resources or finances to the farm. A caretaker has been employed by the school who looks after the farm in times of holidays or vacations. The volunteers guide the caretaker from the Green Souls Organization. In times of need, the farm also sells composted soil and potted plants to the visitors of the church. But this event does not happen very frequently. The farm is a agency managed type of model where the organization plays a major role in the decision


making process and in the maintenance of the farm with the help of students and teachers. They still encourage visitors to volunteer at the farm on specific days. At the beginning of school year, all the students and teachers are trained to contribute to the activities of the farm in their spare time. Outdoor classes are taken in the farm where students are taught the importance of preserving nature and biodiversity by some hands on experience. But with time, only the ones who have developed passion and interest stay back and continue in the farm. The other students and teachers do not come up to the farm regularly but use the space for educational purposes and to spend some time in nature. Even the Father from the church without whose guidance and constant support this project wouldn’t be possible visits regularly to see the progress and the influence of the farm on his students. These people are henceforth referred to as non-users (non participating). The students and the teachers who involve themselves in the farm develop a keen sense of responsibility for the farm and take up ownership. They attend to the farm in their spare time and in between classes. Students also use the space of the farm to do some quiet reading. A few of the teachers who have a green thumb use the sprawling terrace to fulfil their hobbies of gardening which they cannot do in their compact houses. Long term volunteers from the Organization who have been involved with the farm since its initiation come once or twice every week. A few of the neighbours who donate waste and resources to the farm also volunteer here. These are henceforth referred to as users. A system has been devised which informs the volunteers about the work to be done. Though, the farm is a very informal place where there are no fixed timings for the users, most of the work happens in the morning. In some very rare instances, church going people get interested in the farm and come up to visit it. If interested, they also start volunteering at the farm. A group of old men who do not help in the farm but keep an eye out for its security sits near the main entry of the church every afternoon. These people are referred to as outsiders from here on. The farm was devised as a teaching space where handson learning and exposure to nature have profound effects on children and adults of all ages. This is achieved through volunteer engagement, training workshops, corporate and school programs, and setting up of your own garden. It encourages participation from not only the students of that school, but also others who are interested genuinely in doing well for the society. It is a social space where people of different ages and different groups meet each


other frequently. Since it is managed by n external agency, the spatial practice and community engagement in this case are very different than the previous one. Nonetheless, physical parameters that encourage people to meet and gather again and again still apply here because the farm is a social space. As discussed previously one of the parameters is the size of the farm. The total farming area as of January 2017 is 180 sq m on a terrace area of 500 sq m. The terrace is quite large and can hold a large number of people. But since the farm is being developed gradually; parts of the terrace are still not being used. This provides a good gathering space for the users during workshops. The farming patches are quite compact and dense because of the drip irrigation system. The closed pack arrangement of the patches ensures interaction between users except for while classes are being taken when the undeveloped portion of the terrace is used. The size of the farm in comparison to the rest of the terrace makes sure that such distribution of activities is possible.


Scale 1:2000 Context Plan


Scale 1:500 Ground Floor Plan

Scale 1:500 First Floor Plan


Scale 1:500 Second Floor Plan

Scale 1:500 Long Section through Courtyard


Scale 1:250 Plan

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11.

Staircase to 2 floor Podium Water Tank Entry Space Market Space Workshop Space Space for taking classes Storage Space Meeting Space Composting Space Attractions


The farm is on the terrace of a 3-storey building, at the LOCATION end of the courtyard of the school. The location of the farm is strategic with respect to its vision of benefiting the students of the boarding school. Initially when the farm was developed on the ground floor next to the courtyard, it saw more participation from students and outsiders. It seemed more accessible and open for community engagement because it was near the entry of the school with direct access. But later on the farm was shifted to the terrace on top of the student dormitories near the staircase. From the viewpoint of the students, this is still a central location because it is near to their dormitories and they can visit the farm in their spare time in the evenings also. The location of the farm is unfavourable for outsiders and other users like the teachers because it is situated so deep in the site that it loses connection with the street and the main entry to the site. Majority of the users who enter the site do not get a chance to encounter with outsiders because of lack of awareness. Here, not only is the farm on a rooftop it is also on the periphery and so only people with a goal of reaching the farm cross the courtyard and the staircase. This decreases the possibilities of chance encounters between interested outsiders and users.

Scale 1:2500 Plan showing location of various user groups


Scale 1:200 Plan and Section of Main Entrance

The entry to the community farm from the street is indirect. ACCESS After stepping off the street, one has to cross a slight slope to reach the main gate of the campus. As indicated in the diagrams, at the first checkpoint, there is a gate operated by a watchman from his cabin. A small bump in the road deters vehicular and pedestrian traffic making it a pause point. Right next to the watchman’s cabin, a group of old men gather every afternoon. This increases the chance of random encounters between outsiders visiting the church and the non-users. There is another small gate at the entrance of the school, which is usually unmanned. From here, one has to cross the entire length of the courtyard and reach the staircase at the farthest end of the school. Since it is tucked away and not visible form the entry, it deters random encounters and social interaction between people who are not typically associated with the farm like outsiders. Also, there is a door at the end of the staircase block on the third floor, which closed at night. This is to control the entry of the students who are not permitted to be on the terrace without adult supervision. The farm is on the terrace so one has to climb three flights of stairs to reach there. Since there is only one way to reach up, this entry is used by the users and the non-users.

Scale 1:750 Plan showing various access routes


Since the farm has only one point of entry through the PATHS staircase, paths of many people cross in that space. The staircase is the only element, which connects the dormitories on the second floor, the staff room and classrooms on the first floor and the courtyard. Repeated use of the staircase increases possibilities of interaction between different groups of users and non-users. There are instances when the staircase has become the point of reference and meeting for users. The paths of visitors of the church also intersect with the paths of the users since the entry is controlled at the main gate. Outsiders generally come to visit the church. Their paths may intersect with the gathering of the nonusers at the main gate leading to a potential assembly.

Scale 1:750 Plan showing path of various user groups


The depth of entry from the street to the farm is DEPTH OF ENTRY approximately 120m not considering the vertical rise. It takes an average person 400 steps or 300 seconds to reach the farm from the street. If we consider just the students then the depth of entry is only 24m. For a farm, which intends to serve the boarding school only, this depth of entry is favourable because it increases the chances of encounters between users and non-users. But for outsiders this depth of entry is not very encouraging and the number of random encounters between the users and outsiders decreases. Even though the physical distance and the total time taken to reach the farm increases thereby increasing the potential points for encounters, very few people pause to meet each other on the way up. The absence of potential pause points from the entry to the farm space decreases the chances of encounters thereby making the entry very deep and monotonous.

Scale 1:750 Plan showing depth of entry for various access


The farm is completely transparent from all sides due to VISIBILITY the 1m high parapet wall. But since it is located on the terrace, visual connections are very difficult to establish. If one is standing in the courtyard below one can a little activity on the terrace and hear the sound of the hustle and bustle. This lack of visual connection leads to a decrease in outsider encounters because if there is no perception of the farm then no one will get curious enough to join. Also, because the farm has no visual connection with the ground floor, students are discouraged from going to the top without any supervision. This control over access also decreases the possibility of encounters between users and nonusers.

Scale 1:250 Section showing visibility from ground floor


The farm is surrounded by a 1m high parapet wall on all PERMEABILITY the sides. Since the farm is located on top of a terrace its enclosure is a parapet wall. So there is no question of permeability between inside and outside. In this case, there is a mango tree, which rises out of the courtyard and reaches out in the farm space. This mango tree spurs social processes between the students and the volunteers when its mango falls on the podium underneath. As soon as a mango falls down, students quickly bring it to the farm and put it in the harvest pile meeting the people in the farm and getting acquainted in the process. The fact that the enclosure is permeable enough to allow an outside element to grow within its space thus gives rise to many random encounters between the non-users and the users.

Scale 1:250 Section showing exchange near the Mango tree


Since the farm has been retrofitted on an existing DENSITY building, most of the structure is temporary and movable. Only the storage and meeting space has a permanent structure made out of bamboo. the arrangement of planters is more loose and movable and so 2-3 people can gather around them to discuss and learn from each other fostering social interaction. The farm has smaller pockets of spaces of varying sizes for varying number of people. The planters near the mango tree are kept as compact as possible but away from the parapet, with enough circulation space around them. Such a concise arrangement ensures that while working only one or two people can move about the planters but if a workshop or class for students is held they can all still gather around. The density of planters also decreases on the northern edge of the farm where workshops and classes are held. The density of planters near the composting area is also less so that it can afford a gathering of large number of people required for the task. The area near the flowering plants and fish tank also is intentionally kept sparse which encourages the kids to play about and engage with the biodiversity. This makes it a potential point for assemblies.

Scale 1:250 Plan showing Density


The entry of the farm is near the attractions of the farm like PROXIMITY the fish tank and the flowering patch. This creates opportunities for encounters between non-user students and users who come up to play. One of the workshop and class areas are kept near to the entry so that they don’t disturb the other users when focused farming activities are going on. The storage and meeting space have been put together so that when meetings of the organization are going on, other users are encouraged to gather around and participate. The compost area is also kept close by for this very reason so that the hierarchical difference between the students, teachers and the organization gets blurred when they all gather in the same place. The close proximity of the other workshop and class area to the space where saplings are grown passing by the farming patch ensures that whenever sporadic users come for workshops or to buy some saplings they have to cross the farm thus increasing chances of encounters.

Workshop 27 sqm

Class 21 sqm

Attractions 34 sqm

Entry 17 sqm

Farm 98 sqm

Meeting 10 sqm

Market 14 sqm

Compost 15 sqm

Storage 10 sqm

Spatial Adjacency Diagram Public Functions Utility Based Functions


The terrazzo flooring of the terrace affords people to sit MATERIAL down and gather throughout the space. It also makes it easier to clean and maintain. In the storage and meeting space, the floor is covered with green carpet so that it does not heat up and users can use that space for a longer time. The composting area, which is a wet area, has been covered partially with a tarpaulin so that it does not spill on the sides and people can gather around the area. This creates opportunities for users to interact with each other. Very subtle differences in the flooring material create opportunities for assembly like the covering of the terrace with green carpet when workshops or classes are conducted.

Scale 1:250 Plan showing material differences


SHADE Most of the farm is unshaded and receives sunlight at anytime of the day due to the absence of big shady trees. This is good for the farm in a way because plants are potted according to the amount of sunlight required and the orientation. But this lack of shaded areas means that people cannot gather for a long time. The storage, meeting area and the composting area are the only shaded places where people gather and meet each other. The shade under the foliage of the Mango tree is enough for a gathering of 5-6 people. When workshops or classes are conducted, temporary shelters are out up on the northern edge so that the assembly takes place in a sheltered space.

Scale 1:250 Plan showing shaded areas


Since most of the farm has been made organically out FLEXIBILITY of waste during hands on workshops, the spaces are very flexible. The storage and the meeting space are the only two areas, which have permanent structures as shelter. Rest of the farm space changes according to requirement and seasons. When a large group of people is expected during workshops or training classes, temporary shelters are put up at the northern edge. Sometimes even the plants are moved around to create space for composting workshops. Since the shelters are made out of bamboo and are erected in a day by volunteers, it also increases the chances of encounters during construction. The fact that the space affords multiple arrangements and quick installation by the users themselves adds to the social processes and increases interaction between the users.

Since the volunteers and a few helpers via hands on PROPORTION workshops have made most of the farm space, the space has a human scale to it. The structure covering the storage and meeting space is barely 2.3m tall at the highest point. This makes the space seem smaller than it is. Due to this, the space cannot hold assemblies greater than 8-10 people. For larger assemblies, the space next to the mango tree is used where the plants on the edge of the planter are shorter and have less foliage and the ones in the centre are taller with larger foliage. This makes gatherings around the patch possible because the presence of the shorter plants scales down the entire space. The space near the attractions has also been scaled down in proportion to kids so that they can gather there and play. The trellises in this area are shorter than the rest of the farm.


FINDINGS As discussed before, a map of potential encounter and assembly spaces a can be generated by objectively studying the parameters and applying them to the collected data. When compared to the actual spatial practice of the site, constructed from first hand observation and interviews, certain findings come to light. COGNITIVE AFFORDANCE For outsiders, the location of the farm on the rooftop of an LOCATION interior building with no external access is an inconvenience. ACCESS This drastically reduces the cognitive affordance of the space, PATHS DEPTH OF ENTRY which might lead to less community participation. Moreover, the VISIBILITY number of control points on the way to the farm is too high, which PERMEABILITY might also discourage encounters between users and outsiders. But the presence of potential assembly point near the entrance of the church and the school and the intersection of various paths near the staircase block, make them the largest encounter points for users, outsiders and non-users. The paths of outsiders do not take them in vicinity of the farm and so it becomes difficult to establish a visual connection with its activities. This also reduces the cognitive affordance of the space. The fact that the farm is overlooking a courtyard and the sports ground make it a suitable platform for exchange between students working in the farm and the ones outside. Since there is no other activity on the roof except the farm, even though the enclosure of the farm is completely permeable it is not entirely visible. This is another drawback, which reduces random encounters between users and non-users. PHYSICAL AFFORDANCE The largest assembly point in this case is the intersecting space of DENSITY the farm and the classroom near the Mango tree. The relative low PROXIMITY MATERIAL density of the space affords to hold a large gathering. Moreover, SHADE the space remains shaded for most of the time because of the PROPORTION huge Mango tree. Its close proximity to the farm space and the FLEXIBILITY market is another factor that makes it a suitable space to hold informal workshops and conversations. The space is also closer to the classroom and the Mango tree acts as a bridge between the students on the podium and the students on the terrace. The planters near this space are also designed to scale down the space by keeping the periphery plants short and compact causing more people to gather around them. This becomes the largest assembly and encounter point for students engaging in the farm and for students who are playing in the courtyards below. The second largest assembly point is the space near the main attractions. The density of the planters in this space is lower than the rest of the farm. Moreover, this space has been developed to attracts kids and make it into a playful zone in the far. This makes


it potential assembly and encounter point for users and non-users. Moreover it is close to the entry visually connected to the farm and so many students who come up to play eventually end up engaging in the farm also. Despite the fact that it is not shaded, the space has become a popular playing and relaxing spot for not only this boarding school but also people from other nearby schools. The meeting space, storage and the compost area is another major assembly point for users. The close proximity of these utility oriented functions and the flexibility of the space makes sure it a designated spot for gathering people during workshops and classes. The users themselves have developed the space over the years with each adding their own touch to the space. The floor of the space has been covered by green carpet so that when a large gathering takes place, people can sit on the ground also. The space affords various places to sit in the shade for a long period of time. More over, the space has been made by the users of the farm themselves, which gives them a sense of ownership making the space a potential encounter point as well. Even though the purpose of the workshop space is to gather people, it is seldom used as such. When workshops are held, this space is activated and people gather there under the shade of the shelter. But even then, its distance from the main activities of the farm and its disconnectedness from the rest of the space discourage people from using it often. Informal gatherings then end up being taken under the shade of the Mango tree. The market space is also disconnected from the entry and relatively less shaded. This makes it defeat the purpose because it reduces the cognitive affordance and thereby chances of more people gathering around. Even though the idea of putting the market so deep within the farm is valid so that people cross the farm and look at its activities before buying saplings, the market still doesn’t become a potential gathering pint. Also its inaccessibility to outsiders plays an important role in its failure to gather people. For any discussion about continuity as a social process, it is important to understand the lived space of the people, even though its analysis out of scope. When the feeling for responsibility for community is inculcated in children, the associations formed are so strong that they subsequently reflect in their lifestyle also. The regular participation and familiarity with a space gives a sense of ownership which fosters interaction. This has been inferred from the information obtained during the interview. Structured


interviews of various user groups were done to generate the data which is presented henceforth. The farm was visited 3 times in a period of 2 months during weekends, weekdays and also a special occasion like a holiday for the boarding school. On an average 40 people happen to be present in that space out of which around 30 are students of the school and the rest are volunteers from Green Souls or nearby schools. Out of these around 15 students were interviewed personally and 4 of the founding members of Green Souls were also interviewed. Focussed group discussions were held with 3 batches of students in classes and workshops. The farm was visited mostly in the morning hours when the school is active. It was visited once during harvesting season and twice during composting and planting season. Besides recordings and observations done on site, accounts of lived experience were generated by inferring from the interviews. Exercises were given to the children to draw from memory their favourite spot on the farm. The user group in this case consisted of mainly the students, the teachers and the fathers of the boarding school, students from nearby schools, the volunteers from Green Souls. Each had their own reason for joining the farm and for continuing to come there. For Mr. Prince, a 5th standard student and a resident of the boarding school, the farm was a constant reminder of home. His vacation days were spent among the fields at Nagpur and being this close t nature in the city constantly takes him back there. He has been active in the activities of the farm since he was introduced to it in his 3rd standard. He not only participates in the farm during his class hours but also takes utmost interest after hours. Taking special permission from his teacher to study there, he spends hours sitting and taking care of his spot. He even comes up to play in the evening preferring the natural beauty of the farm to the hard-scape of the sports ground below. When asked to draw his favourite spot, he drew the patch near the flowering plants but importantly he drew mountains and rivers around the farm instead of the concrete jungle that is the city of Mumbai. This lived space of his may be completely imaginary but it has formed certain associations in his mind about the farm that will remain with him even outside the farm. For Abhay, the key volunteer at Green Souls, the farm is much more than a social responsibility. Taking a break from his hectic career as a software engineer, he now has dedicated his entire life to the cause of preserving nature. The community farm for him is a place to meet like minded people and to share


knowledge of sustainable living with young minds. He fondly remembers the terrace garden he had when he was in school and the times he had spent listening to the birds chirp and the winds blow. For him, the space of the farm does not just stop at the physical boundaries of the terrace but extends much beyond it. And precisely for this reason, he also teaches the students and the participants of the workshops about how to live s greener and more sustainable life. He has changed the practices of the school where all kitchen waste is now composted. These are just a few examples of the lived experiences obtained from the interview. From this it is evident that the space of the farm holds certain associations and meaning fro its participants and non participants alike which facilitate the continuity. From the above discussions of cognitive and physical affordances , the following maps of potential assembly and encounter can be generated. The map at the bottom of the next page shows the actual spatial practice as observed on site. By comparing the two, we can infer that most of the assumptions of physical parameters coincide with the actual practice.

Assembly Encounter Applicable Non- Applicable



Depth of Entry




Scale 1:250 Plan showing potential Assembly and Encounter points

Scale 1:250 Plan of Spatial Practice as observed on site




Certain design strategies encourage and enhance certain kinds of social processes like assembly and encounter while continuity is a social processes, which cannot be influenced directly by the built environment. As we saw in the case studies before, a lot of the lived experience has a bearing on conducting the social process of continuity. The first six aspects of physical space : Location, Access, Paths, Depth Of Entry, Visibility and Permeability have a lot of control on the cognitive affordance of space to facilitate social processes. Location of the space within the community controls the accessibility to the space creating a specific kind of social space. For example, in Case 2 the space is located too deep in the site and so it does not warrant as much community participation as Case 1 which has a very urban interface. The number of linkages or connections also creates a sense of connectedness, which fosters interaction. Case 2, being a terrace farm, has no real connections to any activities on that floor which makes its very difficult to establish visual connections even if the edge is permeable. Admission in any space can also be controlled through suggestion of the built environment or psychological thresholds. Truly social spaces are accessible to all kinds of social groups. The level of interaction between the inside and the outside is manifested by the articulation of the edge of the space. The enclosure of space is not an planar element but it has depth. Its characteristics in terms of connectivity and level of permeability establish a relationship between the urban reality and the daily reality. It defines a public and private domain and established a zone of transition. For example, the public edge that Case 1 has, is a very important factor in its cognitive affordance supported by the fact that the depth of entry is also less and that there are no thresholds to cross while entering. The second six aspects of physical space: Density, Proximity, Material, Shade, Proportion and Flexibility have a lot of control on the physical affordance of a space to facilitate social processes. Public space rights including public access and opportunities for change and appropriation over time are important factors in encouraging social interaction. The ability to transform some part of the environment defines the central relationship between humans and the built environment. Since there is a higher degree of flexibility in Case 2, a lot of smaller and larger assemblies are possible. Allowance for user control and participation also defines the kind of social space that is brought about. From the scale of the individual to the space of the collective, the society comprise of various groups of people. Each group and its corresponding


social process have an ideal range of scale of space. The scale of space has a direct relation with our bodily dimensions implying a relationship between the individual and the collective in a social space. The internal cohesiveness of small spaces are effective as a social space for smaller groups Density of the space, that is the built vs. the unbuilt, decides the size of assembly afforded in that space but the chances of encounters increases in tight spaces. As seen in Case 1 and 2, lower density spaces are more likely to hold assemblies but in tights paces the chances of encounters increase. Articulation of materials and textures in the space give an indication of what kinds of assemblies and encounters are afforded giving rise to continuity in that space. Another important factor in designing for social processes is comfort. Adequate and comfortable sitting spaces, access to water and protection from sun, wind and rain determine where and when social processes are played out. In both the cases, most of the larger and longer assemblies take place either under the shade or near sitting spaces. The proximity of public functions and utility oriented functions also determines the level of public penetration which is encouraged. In Case 1, the public functions are at the core and the utility functions are on the periphery. This move makes the entry more inviting for the public and also increases chances on encounters while crossing over from one utility function to the other. While in Case 2, the utility is at the core and the public functions are at the periphery. This entirely defeats the purpose of a public function because it becomes an inaccessible space for outsiders. Thus, we can infer that if these design strategies are kept in mind while conceiving a space, it facilitates social processes and might lead to production of space.




Adjective | Ä“-mik |

Of, relating to, or involving analysis of cultural phenomena from the perspective of one who participates in the culture being studied Etic:

Adjective | Ä“-tic |

Of, relating to, or involving analysis of cultural phenomena from the perspective of one who does not participate in the culture being studied As defined in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary


Studies done on production of space have both an epic and emic orientation to get a wholesome and richer understanding. The importance of getting emically significant information about the environment cannot be understated. As Christian Schmid (2008) says The materiality in itself or the material practice per se has no existence when viewed from a social perspective without the thought that directs and represents them, and without the lived experienced element, the feelings that are invested in this materiality. Thus, an understanding of the socio-spatial dialectic is important for the designer who conceives space, thereby providing a platform for certain spatial practices and social processes. But this also does not mean that the built environment can dictate social process nor does it work the other way round.. In fact, all the three branches of Lefebvre’s spatial triad, spatial practice, representation of space and spaces of representation, have no linear causal relationship. It is also not necessary that all three have to exist simultaneously. Even though it may seem like a characteristic of production of space because of the limitations and connotations of linear writing, lived space is actually not a derivation of perceived space and conceived space. The point of Lefebvre’s spatial triad is not so much as its correctness but that as soon as it is posited one has to acknowledge that there are multiple and conflicting force fields, which affect spatial production of which architectural practice, is jut one small part. The role of the designer then is not to just “ push around bits of space” but to understand the vast implications each design decision has on the other affordances. Though these design strategies have been developed by a case of community farms, the inferences can be applied to all kinds of social processes so that a social space is produced. These strategies are not guarantees for production of space but a little ways on which a designer can conceive spaces to assist these social processes. In the end a lot of these parameters also depend on other social, political, economical factors. Well, as Jeremy Till concluded, Architecture Depends.




The following is the structure used for interviews of users, non-users and outsiders in both case studies: • • • • • • • • • • • •

How long they have been here for? When do they come here? What do they do when they come here? For how much time have they been coming here? Why do they return here again? How and why did they pick up community farming? How many people do they meet on an average? How do they maintain the relationships developed on the farm outside it? What are their favourite memories of the farm? How do they associate with the activities of the farm? What were the major lifestyle changes brought about by their participation in community farming? Does the work they do here reflect anywhere else in their life?

• What was the original design of the space when it started? • How does the activity transform the space? • Does it change between seasons or when the number of participants increases? • What are the different ways in which the space is used when the activity demands change? • Is there any other space where they practice farming independently? • Does anything else remind them of this space outside? • What are their motivations and aspirations regarding community farms? • How many new people do you meet on an average and where do you meet them? • How many chances do you get to interact with the non users of the space? • How do you reach the space and how many times do you pause in between? • Do people from outside take interest in the farm? How do you interact with them? • Where do people gather in large numbers, in groups? DO you gather for non function related activities?


The following explains the methodology followed in the thesis and the development of the theoretical framework:




Evolution of the Concept of space in Architectural Discourse

Spatial practice and Social process in a Social space

Classification of community farms according to structure

Hegel, Nietzsche, Bachelard, Merleau-Ponty

Henri Lefebvre Mark K George

The Production of Space

Encounter, Assembly and Continuity

Henri Lefebvre Lukasz Stanek

Community farms as a social space Claire Nettle

Henri Lefebvre

Affordances of Built environment for Social Interaction James Gibson Jo Williams

ANALYSIS OF CASE STUDY Framework – Parameters – Case Study – Potential sites of Encounter, Assembly, Continuity Observations on site – Mapping and Documentation CONCLUSION Inferences are derived by comparing and validating the two maps in the two case studies.


IDEAS OF SPACE BEFORE LEFEBVRE: Space as Voids and Volumes Space as Enclosure Space as Intuition of Bodily Sensations Space as Continuum Space as a Spatial Construct Space as Reversal of Form ABOUT HENRI LEFEBVRE: 1991 - Henri Lefebvre - space being produced as a dynamic relationship between the bodily senses, symbolic meanings, social organization and scientific representation. A version of dialectics - not binary but triadic – space as CONCRETE ABSTRACTION THEORY OF LANGUAGE


Spatial Practice

Perceived Space

Representation Of Space

Conceived Space

Spaces Of Representation

Lived Space





Perceived Space Routes, Networks, Patterns

SOCIAL SPACE Conceived Space Planners and Urbanists





Lived Space Users and Inhabitants


Cognitive Affordance

Physical Affordance





Encounter Assembly Continuity


Community Urban Farm




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Unpublished Thesis: Desai, Renu. Meaning in the built environment communication through physical cues in the environment. CEPT University. Thacker, Prerna. Social interaction and the buit form. CEPT University. Talsania, Isha. Housing : a setting for social behaviour : a study of the community spaces in high-rise housing as effective environment for social interactions. CEPT University.

Illustration Credits: All images/ illustrations/drawings are original works by the author.