Posted February 3rd 2014 at 4:21 pm by
in Tracing Public Space

Tracing Public Space: Malwani, Mumbai

Malwani, Mumbai (India) January, 2014

Partner institution: Teach for India (Zafar Bhatri and Swapneel) and Rahee Foundation (Rafique Ansari)

Malwani is located in Malad, a suburb on north-east Mumbai. There is a transit camp originally built as a temporary site and services development with an urban grid that consists of 60 x 60m blocks equipped with basic infrastructures such as electricity, water supply, and a public toilet building at the center in an open courtyard. Over fifty years, it has developed into a dense and compact settlement. It is now a vibrant mix-income community that has all the basic utilities a city needs: schools, mosques, temples, churches, shops, medical facilities, open grounds and markets. Sadly, critical sanitary conditions as well lack of maintenance of its infrastructure threatens the livelihoods of its community. (e.g. a remaining creek has been filled with waste instead of water)

For this workshop we focused on understanding the intermediate spaces between domestic life and public space: the courtyards. These courtyards serve as backyards to approximately one hundred houses and accommodate activities such as laundry, artisanal work, children’s play, and even small business (recycling industries, farms, etc.) Throughout the workshop we did a thorough survey of each courtyard by photographing, geo-tagging (using an app called Fulcrum) and taking measurements. After six days of work, we shared our findings in a large map and a selection of images in an exhibit in one of the courtyards.

After this workshop we plan to transform one of the courtyards by designing and building a prototype of a multifunctional space where children can play and women can do their work. Most importantly, it can be a space to harvest water or work with recycled materials. The most compelling question for Tracing Public Space is how much of this prototype design will come from the architect and how much of it will come from the children making decisions and customizing the design for their own need.

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Post by Ana Vargas

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