Colaba, Mumbai (India) August, 2013
Partner institutions: Urban Design Research Institute and My Dream Colaba
Colaba, located in the southern tip of Mumbai, has a combination of parks, shopping areas, landmarks, and expensive real estates while simultaneously serving as home for old mill workers (chawls) and informal settlements. Tracing Public Space collaborated with The Urban Design Research Institute who is working on a proposal to redevelop some of Colaba’s public spaces together with My Dream Colaba, a local NGO. We organized a workshop that focused on identifying Colaba’s main public spaces, possible spaces to reclaim, and one walking trail that could include most of them. With the help of local schools, eight children were chosen to participate in a two-week long workshop where they learned about photography and mapping.
One of the best things about the workshop was looking at open spaces that had a sea view. Despite the fact that Colaba is a peninsula mostly surrounded by water, opportunities to look at it are scarce. One of the most beautiful places is Sasoon Docks, where most of the children had never been and have restricted access. Another amazing view was inside one of the fishermen’s village, where a rectangular plaza serves as a football or cricket field with benches looking over the water.
We also looked at pedestrian connectivity in the area and learned that Colaba could be more pedestrian friendly. There are two main streets that go north south but few east-west connections, so we identified two pedestrian-friendly small alleys that connect them. Children participants proposed various types of use for these alleys and together we made three poster fabric maps where we embroidered possible walking trails. We made an exhibition at an art gallery and showed the photographs and maps. We also offered maps for visitors to trace our walking trail and traverse through it themselves. Through this exhibition, several residents were surprised to discover places they had never visited.
For more information, see http://tracingpublicspace.org/
Post by Ana Vargas