IN 15- AN EXPLORATION OF OUR NEIGHBOURHOODS , SURGE/THE INQUIRY

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IN 15

AN EXPLORATION OF OUR NEIGHBOURHOODS

THE INQUIRY


PREFACE Surge- The Inquiry is a student collaboration that was formed as a medium to explore various aspects of the built environment. The group is formed of students across all the batches and aims to speculate and reflect on the topics. The scope of our work restricts to exploration and documentation and expand our knowledge base beyond the academic curriculum. The way the explorations are conducted, involves us going out and observing real world scenarios that architects and designers engage with. Since this is the first volume put out by the group, there was a lot of trial and error that went into deciding various aspects of the project. But ultimately, the takeaway from this exercise was a valuable experience and an eternal knowledge gained on the concept. The fun and curiosity while collaborating with the group is what motivated us to produce the end result


CONTENTS • Preface 1. Introduction

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2. Stage 1: The Cases • • • • • • •

Marine Drive, South Bombay Shivaji Park, Dadar Mount Mary, Bandra Barrister Nath Pai Nagar, Ghatkopar Khao Galli, Ghatkopar Tawri Pada, Kalyan Chakradhar Nagar, Nalasopara

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3. Stage 2: Study • • • •

Evolution of the Model Interview 1 - Prof. Vilas Ramteke Interview 2 - Ar. Apurwa Kumbhar Relevance of the Model in our context

• Bibliography • The Inquiry Team

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Heading to work after a doctor’s appointment?

Going for the park with your friends after work?

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Picking up groceries while coming back from a jog?

All of this about a 15 minute walk away?

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“Cities are the most complex systems created by humans. And one of the characteristics of a complex system is the non-possibility of predicting its evolution. We need to consider cities as complex systems and imagine new ways to generate adaptable solutions. This is how I came to propose the living city instead of the smart city. We need to abandon this idea of the city controlled by technology.” -Carlos Moreno

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INTRODUCTION One of the essential realisations that the pandemic conjured, is the importance of the quality of our built enviorment. This quality can be looked at a personal as well as an urban scale. How do our cities respond to the growing needs of modern lifestyle? And do the urban models of the city develop with time? While starting out with this idea, we wanted to analyse the urban design model of ‘the 15 minute city’ as its popularity grows. The 15 minute city model is one where all the daliy essentials, education, safety and livelihood possibilities are available within a 15 minute walk or cycle ride or public transit trip from our house. Taking clues from the ‘Neighbourhood’ concept, the model was developed by sceintist Carlos Moreno and is being profusely propagated by the Mayors of cities across the world. The model poses a solution to many of the urban issues that affect us. Not only does it increase the quality of life at an individual level but also reduces the use of vehicles, which leads to a positive climate impact as well. With this project, we wanted to explore the concept of a 15 minute city in our own context, that is, in the city of Mumbai. This was done by going out and about our own neighbourhoods, taking 15 minute walks, and observing everyday things we might have ordinarily overlooked. And to document this process of exploration, we created a set of mind maps to portray the various emotions of the neighbourhood, thus assessing the quality of life at a personal level. We conducted region wise surveys to infer the course of their development along with a brief look at the evolution of the model. We also conducted a couple of interviews to gather views of professionals in the field. The final article then talks about our views on the studies conducted and how our perception of the concept developed.

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STAGE 1: THE CASES

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The first stage of our project looked at the exploration and survey of our own localities. For this purpose, seven localities of our group members were selected. All the localities fall under the MMRDA region, where the scope of the project would be restricted to. In this stage, we started out by creating mind maps or experience drawings, to map out the activities, sensory qualities and experiential qualities within a 15 minute walk in the respective neighbourhoods. This could be considered a personal level feedback of the neighbourhood. We conducted surveys to get a better understanding of the areas in question, by knowing how they cater to people in that area or people coming from outside of that area[floating population]. A Google Form survey was circulated across the people living in these demarcated areas to understand the growth and development that has happened in the past few decades. We also had some in-person conversations about their perception of the locatility to add to the survey. Most of the towns and settlements in Mumbai region were society and community centric, giving rise to a cluster of neighborhoods. All of these neighborhoods had their different character, which were getting developed based on their usage and user group residing there. In the Business and Industrial boom in Mumbai, many people from different parts of India came and settled in and around it. Certain locations became majority settlements for certain groups of people, and we got a huge network of suburbs in Mumbai. This survey focuses on qualities of spaces, commute and ease of getting basic necessities within a quarter of an hour.

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CASE 1:SOUTH BOMBAY

MARINE DRIVE,

By Sakhi Mishra, Ayushi Jadhao, Rucha Kowale

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A cursory glance through the hustle of the promenade through the course of a day.

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Region of Mind Map

Conversation with one of the residents in person1. From how many years you have been residing here and what changes have you found in this area? Answer- I have been living here for the past 25 years along with my husband who is a former IAS officer. And so we previously resided in the Goverment Officer’s building which quite close to here. Since 1997, the changes i have in this area are not much. Some basic changes like the development of the promenade and footpaths. 2. Can you tell the drastic changes in your locality or in your life during and after the pandemic? Answer- Since no one from my house was infected with Covid-19, we did not experience much changes inside the household other than the ones brought by the lockdown regulations on movement. 3. In your region are the services and basic needs achieved? Answer- Yes, everything is there in the vicinity that is groceries, basic necessities, the schools for our children and also hospitals.During the pandemic, our house helpers used to bring the groceries and health care items and we never felt a shortage of these things as our helpers stay with us.

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SURVEY ANALYSIS Demographic condition of the locality on the basis of the survey conducted in neighbourhood with 33 participants. Gender

Age group

Duration of stay in area

Occupation

Everyone who took part in the survey, 1. Agreed that in the South Mumbai region it’s very easy to just walk for 15 minutes in any direction to find basic necessary items like food, medicines, grocery and markets. 2. About 33.3% of people agreed that their localities/streets get flooded with vehicular and pedestrian traffic in peak time hours i.e. morning and late evening. About 16.7% people think that their Locality is fairly quiet all around and there’s very less surge in traffic. Remaining people were not sure about the intensity of the traffic (50%). 3. 80% of people think that their localities are well defined for way finding and finding locations easily. 4. 100% of people think that all major public transportation spots are within 15 minutes walkable/cycling distance. 5. 60% of people said that their Workplace/school/college is within the walkable/public transport commute distance of 15 minutes. 6. Everyone is agreeing that localities in South Mumbai are well connected with other parts of Mumbai and Suburbs via public transport. 7. 60% of people would like to affirm that in case of emergency where you need assistance from Fire Engine, Ambulance, Police it’s easily connected to the area via road within 15 minutes travel time. 8. 80% of people suggest that there’s good infrastructure in place for recreation purposes of all age groups in their locality within 15 minutes walkable/cycling distance. INFERENCE South Mumbai the place from where it all started. An ideal example of constantly changing systems of a city and its functions, today’s South Mumbai is more of a commecial and business hub retaining it’s old charm of living in still some pockets. A very good example of how evolution of city can change the perspective of what is needed within 15 minutes walking distance.

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CASE 2: DADAR

SHIVAJI PARK,

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By Saumya Kenkare

Understanding the connectivity of various historical and culturally important landmarks that are integrated amidst the fabric of the modern life. 17


Region of Mind Map

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SURVEY ANALYSIS Demographic condition of the locality on the basis of the survey conducted in neighbourhood with 35 participants. Gender

Age group

Duration of stay in area

Occupation

Everyone who took part in the survey, 1. Agreed that in the Dadar region it’s very easy to just walk for 15 minutes in any direction to find basic necessary items like food, medicines, grocery and markets. 2. About 60% of people agreed that their localities/streets get flooded with vehicular and pedestrian traffic in peak time hours i.e. morning and late evening. About 40% people think that their locality is fairly quiet all around and there’s very less surge in traffic. 3. 80% of people think that their localities are well defined for way finding and finding locations easily. 4. Major public transportation seems to be within the radius of 15 minutes walk/cycling distance for everyone. 5. 40% of people said that their workplace/school/college is within the walkable/public transport commute distance of 15 minutes. 6. Everyone is agreeing that localities in Dadar are well connected with other parts of Mumbai and Suburbs via public transport. 7. 80% of people would like to affirm that in case of emergency where you need assistance from Fire Engine, Ambulance, Police it’s easily connected to the area via road within 15 minutes travel time. 8. All of the people suggest that there’s good infrastructure in place for recreation purposes of all age groups in their locality within 15 minutes walkable/cycling distance. INFERENCE It suggests that the settlement of Dadar was an uprising of a network of residential spaces to accommodate a huge population. In and around it all necessary infrastructure started creating layers of commercial and market zones making it a crowd magnet.

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CASE 3: BANDRA

MOUNT MARY,

By Ruchita Punwat

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Understanding the connectivity of various historical and culturally important landmarks that are integrated amidst the fabric of the modern life.

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Region of Mind Map

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SURVEY ANALYSIS Demographic condition of the locality on the basis of the survey conducted in neighbourhood with 37 participants. Gender

Age group

Duration of stay in area

Occupation

Everyone who took part in the survey, 1. Agreed that in the Bandra region it’s very easy to just walk for 15 minutes in any direction to find basic necessary items like food, medicines, grocery and markets. 2. About 35% of people agreed that their localities/Streets get flooded with vehicular and pedestrian traffic in peak time hours i.e. Morning and Late evening. About 23.5% people think that their Locality is fairly quiet all around and there’s very less surge in traffic. Remaining people were not sure about the intensity of the traffic. 3. 89% of people think that their localities are well defined for way finding and finding locations easily. 4. 88% of people think that all major public transportation spots are within 15 minutes walkable/cycling distance. 5. 43% of people said that their Workplace/school/college is within the walkable/public transport commute distance of 15 minutes. 6. Everyone is agreeing that localities in Bandra are well connected with other parts of Mumbai and Suburbs via public transport. 7. 82% of people would like to affirm that in case of emergency where you need assistance from Fire Engine, Ambulance, Police it’s easily connected to the area via road within 15 minutes travel time. 8. 82% of people suggest that there’s good infrastructure in place for recreation purposes of all age groups in their locality within 15 minutes walkable/cycling distance. INFERENCE Bandra now is more of a unit of commercial and recreational spaces integrated within residential spaces making it a dense high yield area.

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CASE 4: GHATKOPAR

Barrister Nath Pai Nagar,

By Darpan Shah and Anagha Nair

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Exploring the explicit zones of the local streetscape, an undefined transition of environment, people and development catalysed by realtive time.

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Region of Mind Map

Conversations with various user groupsBuilding Watchman Uncle: Keshav Pimple Location: Kamraj Nagar, Ghatkopar East 1. From how many years you have been residing here and what changes have you found in this area? Answer- I am from Raigad and have been doing duty here since the last 11 years, there hasn’t been any significant change here, as this colony has been quiet and calm, there has been an increase in the number of construction projects in the past year, but no significant change as such. 2. Since 1877, many people especially the Sindhi and the Gujarati community have been settling down in Ghatkopar, for trade, work and residence. How have the demands changed because of this mix of culture through the decades and the generations? Do give an example. Answer- I don’t think there has been much difference in the way things were and how they are going, yes there is more variety available now not just in terms of food and culture, but in residences also, now there are a less number of people staying in one place for long, and keep shifting. 3. In the new world of technology, and the stressful environment, there is a need for recreational spaces, in what way do you think has Ghatkopar accommodate these spaces into the regular areas Answer- There have been fewer people going out because of availability of online goods, and food, even groceries can be ordered online now, however because of the re-building of the nearby municipal park, there has been a significant increase in the number of people going out and exploring during the morning and the evening times.

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4. Are the essential services such as food, medicine, in your proximity? Answer- Yes, since the last 20 years, due to the opening of many small shops and vendors coming near Kamraj Nagar there has been an easier and quicker access to essential services such as food and medicine in a matter of 5 minutes, earlier we had to go to Tilak Road to buy our essentials and that is quite far.


Working Professional: Chaitanya Shah Location: Vidhya Bhavan Marg, Ghatkopar East 1. From how many years you have been residing here and what changes have you found in this area? Answer-Since my birth in 1964 I am living in Ghatkopar and have seen transformation of this suburban area from a relatively subdued to a lively area. This suburb has grown in its wealth and have seen increased high rise buildings and luxurious apartments as well as variety of eateries as well as food joints catering to entire spectrum of population. Shopes transforming in to super market format and then entry of Malls indicates the transformation of population needs and its opulence. 2. Since 1877, many people especially the Sindhi and the Gujarati community have been settling down in Ghatkopar, for trade, work and residence. How have the demands changed because of this mix of culture through the decades and the generations? Do give an example. Answer- This suburban area has seen a change through actively pursuing education upgrades. Quality School Education coupled with Trading community have been instrumental in growth of wealth of Gujarati population. Support system to manage through crisis has been the mainstay of communities of Gujarati and Sindhi culture. It has been a Melting pot for having best of both communities which we can see over the Food and Festivities which have become a hallmark for Ghatkopar area 3. In the new world of technology, and the stressful environment, there is a need for recreational spaces, in what way do you think has Ghatkopar accommodate these spaces into the regular areas Answer- Many parks and gardens were present in Ghatkopar area and their numbers have grown with the growth of this area in its population. However, many of these are not always maintained properly and need good care and support. Further, resident flora and fauna need to be preserved and children in school must be made aware of these natural beauty. It would be a great idea to create a centre with Nature related activities to support and maintain the balance. 4. Are the essential services such as food, medicine, in your proximity? Answer- Yes, these are available in walking distance of 500 metre radius 5. Was there a drastic change in the way of living before, after and during the pandemic, and the way of Ghatkopar as a whole? And how did it affect/affect your daily activities? Answer- Did not see any drastic change in living - before, during and after pandemic. It actually brought awareness and support to the community in the local area. Commendable efforts and contribution from youths with the resources provided by the government as well as local outfits (Political and Religious) ensured that every needy family was taken care of in these tough times. During this time, all the businesses in this area are flourishing - most brisk business has been the eateries and the building and construction (along with its ancillary and supporting businesses). Yes, people have decided to go all out and have the best of their time in life to live NOW.

School Going Student: Riya Shah Location: Vidhya Bhavan Marg, Ghatkopar East 1. From how many years you have been residing here and what changes have you found in this area? Answer- Since the last 12 years (born in 2009), New buildings have been constructed, old buildings are having a lot of structural issues, and have been going for redevelopment and people are shifting to the newer buildings. Shops have been shifted due to the ongoing construction process. In the last two years vehicular pollution has reduced, whereas noise pollution has increased tremendously. 2. Since 1877, many people especially the Sindhi and the Gujarati community have been settling down in Ghatkopar, for trade, work and residence. How have the demands changed because of this mix of culture through the decades and the generations? Do give an example. Answer- A lot has changed, I love eating and trying out new foods, there has been an incorporation of different cuisines, and different tastes in terms of lifestyle of people has also been noticed, there has been an increasing influence of all different types of cultures and languages, and is not just limited to its prolonged ‘Gujarati’ or ‘Sindhi’ identity. 3. In the new world of technology, and the stressful environment, there is a need for recreational spaces, in what way do you think has Ghatkopar accommodate these spaces into the regular areas Answer- In Ghatkopar there are different parks with unique names, and are usually well maintained, and many kids along with their grandparents come and enjoy themselves here, it being a good way to relax and rejuvenate yourself after a long hectic day, not all of them are always clean and hygienic especially the Municipal parks. All in all they do help in rejuvenating and relaxation spaces, these parks create an opportunity for street food vendors to set up their food stalls and reach out to a wider audience. 4. Are the essential services such as food, medicine, in your proximity? Answer- Yes, there are many shops and daily markets, we are also located very closeby to the highway, and a vegetable truck comes early in the morning directly, and we can get fresh vegetables. There are also many chemists and hospitals located very close by between all the residential areas, and the local market is also great as it entertains bargaining. 5. Was there a drastic change in the way of living before, after and during the pandemic, and the way of Ghatkopar as a whole? And how did it affect/affect your daily activities? Answer- Ghatkopar became a lot cleaner and greener during the pandemic, the usual hustle and bustle was reduced, giving us a quieter time and allowed us to listen to nature. As for my daily life, I enjoy playing a lot outside, and during the lockdown, all of it stopped, and i grew bored, and one major drawback was that I had grown very addicted to the technology, now I am trying to reconnect with my hobbies, focus on myself and trying to detach myself from the technology.

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Economics Professor: Kalyani Vinod Location: Garodia Nagar, Ghatkopar East 1. From how many years you have been residing here and what changes have you found in this area? Answer- I have been living in Ghatkopar since the last 17 years and 6 months, there have been significant developments and changes that I have observed in the surroundings since then, for instance there is a metro in the vicinity, and there have been broader roads and the infrastructure has changed for the better. The kirana stores have remained however their activity has reduced because of the advent of the online stores which offer flashy discounts and supposedly better quality products. However the most important factor is that the focus of the people earlier had been about being able to attain their needs, whereas now it is all about their wants. There are shopping malls such as the R-City mall which have come up and many people go there for shopping. 2. Since 1877, many people especially the Sindhi and the Gujarati community have been settling down in Ghatkopar, for trade, work and residence. How have the demands changed because of this mix of culture through the decades and the generations? Do give an example. Answer- In my locality there are a lot of people from the Gujarti and South Indian community, there is difficulty in procuring non veg items here, and even eggs are difficult to get. The demands of the community has changed through the decades and the generations that earlier around 2004 or so, people were more focussed on getting their needs now the people want their ‘wants’ to be fulfilled because it is available and they have the purchasing power to do so, this has lead to the shift of focus from sustaining and preserving and leading us to become the inevitable victims of consumerism. 3. In the new world of technology, and the stressful environment, there is a need for recreational spaces, in what way do you think has Ghatkopar accommodate these spaces into the regular areas Answer- I don’t think Ghatkopar accommodates spaces for recreation across the age groups of the residents. Yes there are multiple parks for children to come and play, by rarely is there one for the senior citizens who have lived their life working hard and slogging for us, and finally need some time to relax and rejuvenate. One fantastic example if that of a ‘Nana-Nani’ association in Borivali where in it is a member lead fun initiative of a sort of a ‘club’, where the charges are low, unlike some exclusive clubs which run on money, and has an increased involvement and participation of the older age group, increasing their happiness and relaxation quotient. 4. Are the essential services such as food, medicine, in your proximity? Answer- Yes, I have around 3 to 4 medical facilities in my lane, and vegetable market is also available closeby, however, I tend to purchase a lot of things, especially medicines online as huge discounts are offered and it gets delivered at the doorstep. 5. Was there a drastic change in the way of living before, after and during the pandemic, and the way of Ghatkopar as a whole? And how did it affect/affect your daily activities? Answer- Back then I wouldn’t have even imagined in my wildest dreams that I would have to teach online, the live interaction with the students would be missing, however, now that we look back at it, we have come a long way not just in the way we adapted to the new technology and the medicine but also the way our lifestyle has changed. In the start of the lockdown, many people purchased a lot of unnecessary things because they had the purchasing power and did not predict that their income flow could face a drastic cut. Later on when the lockdown continued and many people faced the issue of unemployment and pay cuts, there was a deliberate shift to reduce the propensity to consume, as their disposable income reduced significantly. The pandemic has brought about a lot of change economically as the demands of people have changed drastically, which has affected the socio-cultural and the built environment of the landscape as well, as many shops and firms have shut down, which were earlier quite popular and functioning well.

Sabzi Wala: Lata Vegetables Location: Hingwala Lane, Ghatkopar East 1. From how many years you have been residing here and what changes have you found in this area? Answer- : I have been here for the last 20 years, my vegetables are of a very good quality and have developed a good bonding with my customers and they don’t go to the other vendors. Earlier I had a lot of customers. Now I get very few customers because of online food availability and now grocery online. I have tried changing my business tactics to exchanging the goods, and improving my product quality, which has helped me retain a lot of my customers, but not to the original level. 2. Since 1877, many people especially the Sindhi and the Gujarati community have been settling down in Ghatkopar, for trade, work and residence. How have the demands changed because of this mix of culture through the decades and the generations? Do give an example. Answer- Over the last 20 years, the demand for vegetables has reduced, as the family size has reduced and most of them eat outside food around once or twice a group on an average. This may seem like a small thing for you, however even a day of people not purchasing vegetables and fruits leads to huge losses. Also now there is an increase in the demand for imported vegetables such as Avocado and Zucchini, and other exotic vegetables, which weren’t seen in local markets like ours a few years ago. 3. In the new world of technology, and the stressful environment, there is a need for recreational spaces, in what way do you think has Ghatkopar accommodate these spaces into the regular areas Answer- There are parks in the radius of half a metre where we can go with the children, however due to the increase in the number of highrise buildings, and access to cars, some of the lanes are very congested and people find it difficult and chaotic to explore the market. 4. Are the essential services such as food, medicine, in your proximity? Answer- Yes, this was not there a few years ago, this has increased the amount of competition as there were very few markets and vendors in the locality, but now with the increased number of markets and vendors in every nook and corner of the locality, there has been an increase in availability but also a significant increase in the competition. 5. Was there a drastic change in the way of living before, after and during the pandemic, and the way of Ghatkopar as a whole? And how did it affect/affect your daily activities? Answer- Thankfully my service was considered under the essential services, and I have my own tempo, which allowed me to carry out home delivery services and deliver vegetables at their doorstep, however, soon when companies such as Amazon, and Flipkart started selling groceries at higher discounts but with no as such guarantee of the quality ad the safety, people started to purchase that and that has also reduced my business quite a lot.

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SURVEY ANALYSIS Demographic condition of the locality on the basis of the survey conducted in neighbourhood with 42 participants.

Gender

Age group

Duration of stay in area

Occupation

Everyone who took part in the survey, 1. Agreed that in the Ghatkopar region it’s very easy to just walk for 15 minutes in any direction to find basic necessary items like food, medicines, grocery and Markets. 2. About 69% of people agreed that their localities/streets get flooded with vehicular and pedestrian traffic in peak time hours i.e. Morning and Late evening. About 8% people think that their Locality is fairly quiet all around and there’s very less surge in traffic. Remaining 23% of people were not sure if the streets were extremely flooded or moderately flooded with traffic. 3. Everyone seems to agree that their localities are well defined for way finding and finding locations easily. 4. Major public transportation seems to be within the radius of 15 minutes walk/cycling distance for everyone. 5. 54% of people said that their Workplace/school/college is within the walkable/public transport commute distance of 15 minutes. 6. Everyone is agreeing that localities in Ghatkopar are well connected with other parts of Mumbai and Suburbs via public transport. 7. 92% of people would like to affirm that in case of emergency where you need assistance from Fire Engine, Ambulance, Police it’s easily connected to the area via road within 15 minutes travel time. 8. 92% of people suggest that there’s good infrastructure in place for recreation purposes of all age groups in their locality within 15 minutes walkable/cycling distance. INFERENCE It suggests that the settlement at Ghatkopar is characterized by the vast residential area and in turn all the necessary required spaces were on its own created within it.

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CASE 5: GHATKOPAR

KHAO GALLI,

By Neel Oswal

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Tracking the lanes through the sense of taste. A reprive of food amongst the urban chaos.


Region of Mind Map

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CASE 6: KALYAN

TAWRI PADA,

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By Harshali Dhavas

Observing the change in the frequency of population and the amplitude of activity throughout the day. 33


Region of Mind Map

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SURVEY ANALYSIS Demographic condition of the locality on the basis of the survey conducted in neighbourhood with 42 participants.

Gender

Age group

Duration of stay in area

Occupation

Everyone who took part in the survey 1. Agreed that in the Kalyan region it’s very easy to just walk for 15 minutes in any direction to find basic necessary items like food, medicines, grocery and Markets. 2. About 40% of people agreed that their localities/streets get flooded with vehicular and pedestrian traffic in peak time hours i.e. morning and late evening. About 40% people think that their locality is fairly quiet all around and there’s very less surge in traffic. Remaining people were not sure about the intensity of the traffic. 3. 70% of people think that their localities are well defined for way finding and finding locations easily. 4. 90% of people think that all major public transportation spots are within 15 minutes walkable/cycling distance. 5. 90% of people said that their Workplace/school/college is within the walkable/public transport commute distance of 15 minutes. 6. Everyone is agreeing that localities in Kalyan are well connected with other parts of Mumbai and Suburbs via public transport. 7. 90% of people would like to affirm that in case of emergency where you need assistance from Fire Engine, Ambulance, Police it’s easily connected to the area via road within 15 minutes travel time. 8. 72% of people suggest that there’s good infrastructure in place for recreation purposes of all age groups in their locality within 15 minutes walkable/cycling distance. INFERENCE Kalyan-Dombivali small towns kept on taking the shape and developing into big cities because of all the crowd from Mumbai -Thane shifting for cheaper lands. It will progress furthermore.

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CASE 7: NALASOPARA

CHAKRADHAR NAGAR,

By Sameeksha Ghag

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Mapping the changing landscape of a neighbourhood through the course of a decade.


SURVEY ANALYSIS Demographic condition of the locality on the basis of the survey conducted in neighbourhood with 31 participants from the Nalasopara/ Vasai outskirts region. Gender

Age group

Duration of stay in area

Occupation

Everyone who took part in the survey 1. Agreed that in the Nalasopara/Vasai region it’s very easy to just walk for 15 minutes in any direction to find basic necessary items like food, medicines, grocery and Markets. 2. About 25% of people agreed that their localities/streets get flooded with vehicular and pedestrian traffic in peak time hours i.e. morning and late evening. About 50% people think that their locality is fairly quiet all around and there’s very less surge in traffic. Remaining people were not sure about the intensity of the traffic (25%). 3. 75% of people think that their localities are well defined for way finding and finding locations easily. 4. 100% of people think that all major public transportation spots are within 15 minutes walkable/cycling distance. 5. 25% of people said that their Workplace/school/college is within the walkable/public transport commute distance of 15 minutes. 6. Everyone is agreeing that localities in Nalasopara/Vasai are well connected with other parts of Mumbai and suburbs via public transport. 7. 75% of people would like to affirm that in case of emergency where you need assistance from Fire Engine, Ambulance, Police it’s easily connected to the area via road within 15 minutes travel time. 8. 50% of people suggest that there’s good infrastructure in place for recreation purposes of all age groups in their locality within 15 minutes walkable/cycling distance. INFERENCE These satellite towns emerged as an alternative option to the upward moving crowd from Mumbai and slowly developing into their own managed system.

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STAGE 2: THE STUDY

“For longtime urbanists, the 15-minute city seemed to merely repackage the historic urban pattern of development: walkable, mixedused districts. Old wine, new bottle, as the saying goes. But for a new framing to ignite a global urbanism movement, clearly there’s more going on.” -Lisa Chamberlain

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To understand the 15 minute city model, we studied the evolution of it through the decades. We also conducted interviews with professionals in the field to gain their perspective on the concept. We then compiled the study and the inferences from stage 1 and talk about the relevance of the model in our context, that is of the city of Mumbai.

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a chronology.

EVOLUTION OF THE MODEL Clarence Perry

Ebenezer Howard Garden Cities of To-morrow outlines a selfsufficient utopian city with equal opportunities, freedom and happiness for its residents. The plan is aligned along concentric ring roads with axial avenues cutting the circle into wedges. Each wedge comprises segments which are prioritised by necessity and frequency of use for residents. The centre has the common retails spaces. This was followed by residences and then a green belt known as the Grand Avenue. Public buildings are interspersed among the growing spaces, the latter providing climatic and visual relief. It also separates the outermost industrial belt from the housing section.

1898

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The Neighborhood Unit Theory was proposed by Clarence Perry. For residential developments in metropolitan regions, he proposed an ideal community size and architectural requirements. It was suggested that a residential neighbourhood be built on 160 acres of land with 5,000 (up to 9,000) inhabitants. The worth of 160 acres is determined by a five-minute walking distance (quarter- to halfmile radius) to a neighborhood’s major elementary school. A population of 5,000 persons is thought to be sufficient to support one primary school and organise neighbourhood voluntary associations (Perry 1929; Lawhon 2009). A 5,000-person population could have come from medieval quarters (neighbourhoods) with 1,500 to 6,000 people and a church in the middle.

1929

1920

1949

Mackenzie

Clarence Stein

The discussion of ideal neighborhood models continued in the United States around the 1920s. In 1920, MacKenzie proposed the ‘‘Industrial Housing’’ model that has a similar composition to traditional neighborhoods with systematic greens, preserved rural lands, a neighborhood center, and main street (Rogers 2001). MacKenzie describes the residential part that also has the neighborhood center or independent central business area as a neighborhood; a series of these creates a town or a village. This neighborhood is consistent with a residential neighborhood due to a composition of land uses: a neighborhood center and townhouses, single-, and multifamily housing. The 1,350-foot radius (a quarter mile) encompasses a neighborhood, which is about 131 acres of land (Nolan 1927).

The elementary school was positioned in the centre of the community unit, within a 14-mile radius of all homes, according to Clarence Stein. Near the school is a small shopping store with basic necessities. To avoid through traffic, most residential roadways are suggested as cul-desac or ‘dead-end’ roads, while park space is distributed around the neighbourhood in a manner reminiscent of the Radburn Plan. He went on to broaden the meaning of neighbourhood centre by tying together communities to become towns. The diagram depicts a cluster of three neighbourhood units fed by a high school and one or two large commercial hubs, with a one-mile walking radius between them.


L N.L. Engelhart

Weng

N.L. Engelhardt, Jr. developed a comprehensive structure of neighbourhood units grouped by school levels. He advocated a maximum walking distance to the elementary school of 12 miles. For the families in the community, playgrounds and nursery schools are suggested within a 14-mile walking radius. He believed that the best education comes from a well-thought-out community plan and is crucial in integrating citizens’ daily lives.

Weng, et al. investigate the importance of 15-minute walkable neighbourhoods that meet the needs of all groups. The authors suggest this as a means to improve inhabitants’ health, particularly in terms of preventing noncommunicable diseases like obesity. The authors were concerned, however, that the 15-minute walkable neighbourhoods would show some social inequalities based on factors like age and economic position. That instance, they believe that the fundamental amenities that younger people like children may be interested in (such as sports facilities and playgrounds) may be different from those that elderly people may be interested in, and that urban planners should be aware of these differences.

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2019

2016 Carlos Moreno The 15-Minute City is built on the notion of “chronourbanism,” which posits that the quality of urban life is inversely related to the amount of time spent commuting, notably by car. This idea came from the original author, Carlos Moreno, who argues for an urban environment in which residents may get all of their basic necessities in less than 15 minutes on foot or by bicycle. Moreno believes that citizens will be able to have a higher quality of life by being able to properly fulfil six fundamental urban social functions in order to maintain a decent urban existence under the current “15-minute” model.Those include (a) living, (b) working, (c) commerce, (d) healthcare, (e) education and (f) entertainment. He then proposed “modified 15-Minute City” framework, depicting the four identified dimensions that could be incorporated with the already existing one proposed by Moreno. These are (a) Density, (b) Proximity, (c) Diversity and (d) Digitalization.

2019 Denise Capasso Da Silva Bicycling, walking, and public transportation are all very accessible as evident in the American city of Tempe, which is a classic suburban community with broad roads and single-family homes that was developed around the automobile.

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INTERVIEW 1-

PROF. VILAS RAMTEKE

1. What is the post pandemic scenario of the 15 minute city model? We need to look at the psychological dimension of the people or the inhabitants of a city. Human beings are not made of any components which can be fitted into any big machine, because they have feelings,emotions,temperament, attachment, social security, and apart from the physical infrastructure, they have a degree of relationship within the family, the society and within the community. For example, a mother would prefer having some visual accessibility or visual security over their child if his/her school is closer to home. After globalisation, many people began selling products and services and so physical needs can be satisfied- but there needs to be human interaction. The Covid Pandemic made us realise the urgency of that our psychological and physical condition is improved by interaction with the surrounding open and natural environment. 2. A huge downside of the 15-minute city model could be in the formation of exclusive clusters and lack of interaction between people across two neighbourhoods of this kind. While proposing a better framework, how do we account for connectivity between nodes across the ‘cities’? As cities grow, municipal corporations are unaware of the scale at which they are growing leading to urban sprawl. Areas can be divided into districts, then divided into smaller zones. These zones are a collaboration of different neighbourhoods, these neighbourhoods are formed from various clusters and the final smallest part of the cluster is a building unit. This is, however, the physical zoning of cities.What really makes a neighbourhood or a community is a sense of belonging, a sense of social security and trust. People within a neighbourhood get close to each other, leading to an increased participation and are affiliated with each other. There must be a network of social infrastructure like religious places, gyms, shopping, hospitals etc and physical infrastructure- telephone lines, gas lines, etc. and these two components work together within a city. Planners cannot divide neighbourhoods based on calculated areas but rather, zones are demarcated based on the common affiliation of people and this can be done through socio-anthropological studies. Common social facilities and amenities enjoyed by people can help define the neighbourhood. People penetrate into other neighbourhoods by interest, attachments, affections, emotions.They should have access and a right to the city , be able to roam freely and the urban fabric must be accessible with connected open spaces, and ‘The People’s Streets’ initiative in Mumbai is a great example of the same. 3. How can the 15 minute city model be interpreted in the Indian context where we already have an organic growth of self-sustaining small neighbourhoods ( like neeche dukan upar makaan)? There needs to be a change in attitude of people towards each other. For this there must be a network of social infrastructure like religious places, gyms, shopping, hospitals etc and physical infrastructure- telephone lines, gas lines, etc. and these two components work together within a city. Planners cannot divide neighbourhoods based on calculated areas but rather, zones can be demarcated based on the common affiliation of people and this can be done through socioanthropological studies.

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INTERVIEW 2-

AR. APURWA KUMBHAR

1. What is the post pandemic scenario of the 15 minute city model? Answer: The usage of many spaces and structures has changed significantly, our focus should now be on creation of more multifunctional spaces which cater to different situations and age groups to aptly adapt and be used to the fast changing dynamic environment that we are living in. It is also more about the psychology of people that is changing. People are now recognising the importance of open spaces more. Now the offices have also started in a hybrid mode, where people have realised that work can be done from home, so that the work-life balance which had been earlier missing, is now compensated for. Even though a lot of change was seen during the pandemic, now that there are fewer restrictions, and everything has started like before, life is back to normal. 2. Could you tell us a little bit about your work? Is there any project similar to this that you are working on / have worked on? Answer: Yes, we have worked on a few research projects which deal with betterment of neighbourhoods. 3. How can participatory planning be included in the 15 minute city model? And is it being used by policy makers? Answer: There should be networking and interdependency between the 15 min cities and a bifurcation of the open spaces should be done so that spaces are demarcated as that would help in rooting the 15 min city bubble and help in establishing an interrelationship between the extraspecial features that are wanted and required by the public, the 15 minute city model is everchanging, and thus it is important that these spaces are multifunctional to aptly suit the needs of people at different points of time. 4. While keeping in mind the major income groups as well as the diverse culture in India. How can we work towards having a more inclusive model? Answer: Make room for informalities that occur in the Indian context. Like hawkers and street vendors which add to the value of each locality but are not well accommodated for. 5, How can we retrofit our present neighbourhoods into the 15min city model, for a more resilient future? Answer: It is important that we bring about a sense of inclusivity in our neighbourhoods among all the age groups and create spaces for public interaction. The existing structure of our cities in India does cater to the 15 minute city system, but what we can improve on it is the existing infrastructure to make it more efficient and apt for the cities. The focus should be to increase public interaction and participation, to facilitate an exchange of ideas and thoughts and grow together.

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RELEVANCE OF THE MODEL IN OUR CONTEXT As a nation develops aggressively to meet the constant needs of urbanization, it might also lose its homogeneity and create divides in the social fabric. This is very intrinsic to some parts of Indian metro cities, where the scene of a quality public life gets dissolved in the ever-bustling city culture. The city of Mumbai, for instance, started off from a very small group of seven islands which, for some period, had home and livelihood, for many, in close proximity. The population surge and human migration further expanded the city limits northward to create a huge gap in the form of suburbs; a place to sleep and the main city of dreams. In India, the essence of a 15-minute model might not necessarily focus on reducing this physical gap between work and home but majorly caters to transforming urban areas to become more ‘liveable’ and enhancing public spaces to have easier accessibility by all. A glimpse of this model can be seen across many Indian cities showcasing some very distinctive elements in a unique way. ‘The Walled City of Jaipur’ is already an outstanding example of this concept developed around 294 years ago. The essential services and recreational facilities along with workplaces in the walled city are accessible within 15 minutes from housing. Further, the citizens in these cities have a tendency to dedicate the ground floor for commercial and upper floors for residential uses. Hence, mixeduse development and ultimately the ‘15-minute city’ concept has already been in Indian roots. An umpteen number of such examples are visible throughout the urban planning of cities in India. As part of the C40 global initiative, five cities from India namelyDelhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Chennai have pledged to emerge as a ‘green and just city’ while enforcing the idea of ’15-minutes’. The editions of master plans of cities like Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Bhopal, Nagpur and Pune have accessibility and inclusive growth as their fundamental principles. A common factor across Indian cities like these is their circular planning with comprehensive city cores that get connected to similar sub-nodes distributed along the fringes. Since ancient times, the majority of natives and inhabitants of this vast country have always preferred walking as a primary commute for short trips and for longer trips bicycles have been a popular choice. With the emergence of motorised transport, private vehicles and cab services, this notion might have faded somewhere down the years but it surely must be considered and even encouraged to also boost the transformation of streets to be more public oriented. There have been a lot of initiatives in the country along these lines and one such initiative is the introduction of bicycle rental stands. While it might not be as common, if it gains popularity, it can also help solve the problem of last mile connectivity. With such bicycle rentals dispersed at convenient locations across the city one can easily rent a cycle and park it at a facility near their destination to be used by others. These kinds of small practices definitely add to the ’15-minute city’ movement and slowly aid in the transformation.

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Image 1: Mumbai as it was in 1860

Source: Maps on the Web

Image 2: Indian neighbourhood having shops on the ground floor and apartments above.

Image 3: Public bicycle sharing system. Source: Hindustan Times


The public transport in India has been a huge boon for all the city dwellers, out of which the majority of beneficiaries are people commuting for work or education. Decreasing this commute gap poses a huge challenge for the country, since job fields here are so diverse that it’s hardly possible for everyone to have the luxury of having home and workplace close-by. However, as a partial solution to this issue, there has been the introduction of co-working spaces that decentralises a strict one-office culture and provides more flexible spaces for meetings and desk-jobs. The construction of metro lines throughout major cities in India also strives to become an additional backbone to already existing transport options and invites people to experience a quality public transport system. This concept of a multimodal transport hub is catching up across India to provide a wider connectivity and shorter commutes. Thus, most cities, which have already been broken down into smaller words can be organically converted to form small, well connected 15-minute neighbourhoods that offer a healthier lifestyle. Across our country streets are one of the most interesting public spaces that present such diverse kinds of spatial interactions. For instance, in Chennai, Ranganathan Street is known for its astonishingly high foot traffic and its variety of roadside stalls, small stores and storeyed shops which offer almost everything one can buy. It’s this unique amalgamation of small enterprises, arcades and huge air-conditioned outlets, the striking contrast of differently-sized shops positioned so close to one another that characterizes the street. With access to a railway station, the street dissolves into a vegetable bazaar on one end and connects to a bus terminus on the other. At the juncture of so many functions, it often stays overburdened with huge crowds, especially during the evenings. While this street encapsulates the concept of a ‘15-minute city’, it isn’t the most efficient one. It definitely has emerged as a striking identity for the neighbourhood and the city as a whole, with people thronging here in huge numbers each day to experience its offerings. With some additional tweaking, these street designs could become a model to be implemented in other localities to ensure uniform distribution of crowds besides retaining their unique characters.

Image 4: Metro and water taxis as means of public transit. Source: Majooran

Image 5: Ranganathan Street: almost a kilometre long stretch of retail that remains mostly pedestrian. Source: Folomojo

A 15-minute city isn’t a restrictive urban settlement but instead it shares a very reciprocal nature with its adjoining neighbourhoods to allow for mutual sharing of each other’s burden. While beginning with the exploration we started with identifying elements of a 15-minute city within our own neighbourhoods. With most of us living in proper cities/towns, only 2-3 accounts described an experience of living in a ‘gated community’. The concept of gated communities seems very similar to that of a 15-minute city and it is something that attracts a lot of house-buyers in India due to its in-built amenities. However, a major striking difference between the two is that unlike a 15-minute city, a gated community is often characterised by exclusivity with strict gate security and vigilance over people entering and exiting the complex. One of the student accounts also mentioned that since all facilities and amenities were available within their complex, they hardly felt the need to ever go outside and thus missed the chance of exploring their own city. Contrastingly, a 15-minute city is supposed to have a true public centric design that has an unbiased accessibility. Although fundamentally the same, every 15-minute city can have its own sort of identity or a USP, which is the reason that all 15-minute cities are linked efficiently with each other. While the metro cities have a very established urban fabric, they can be certainly altered to meet the standards of a 15-minute city. As for the tier-2 and tier-3 cities, they have a better advantage at adapting and transforming themselves to follow this concept. It is just a matter of taking a step back and observing our own surroundings to search for hidden cues that reiterate the fact that 15-minute city isn’t entirely a foreign concept for India, perhaps one might already be living in an akin settlement unknowingly?

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BIBLIOGRAPHY • Sarika,C. ,Benjamin, M.J., ‘Demystifying the 15-minute city: Its applicability in Indian context’ (07,21) from downtoearth: https://www.downtoearth.org.in/blog/urbanisation/demystifying • Piyush,S., ‘Revisiting India’s own ‘15-minute city’ mixed-use planning concepts, town planning schemes’ (09,20) from Observer Research Foundation: https://www.orfonline.org/expert-speak/ revisiting-india-own-15-minute-city-mixed-use-planning-concepts-town-planning-schemes/?amp • Lisa C. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2022/03/15-minute-city-stickiness/

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