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Overgrowth - e-flux
"Architects and urban practitioners, toiling daily at the coalface of economic expansion, are complicit in the perpetuation of growth. Yet they are also in a unique position to contribute towards a move away from it. As the drivers of growth begin to reveal their inadequacies for sustaining life, we must imagine alternative societal structures that do not incentivize unsustainable resource and energy use, and do not perpetuate inequality. Working on the frontline of capitalism, it is through architecture and urban practice that alternative values, systems, and logics can be manifest in built form and inherited by generations to come.

Editors
Nick Axel
Matthew Dalziel
Phineas Harper
Nikolaus Hirsch
Cecilie Sachs Olsen
Maria Smith

Overgrowth is a collaboration between e-flux Architecture and the Oslo Architecture Triennale within the context of its 2019 edition."

[See also: https://www.e-flux.com/architecture/overgrowth/221902/editorial/ ]

[including:

Ateya Khorakiwala: "Architecture's Scaffolds"
https://www.e-flux.com/architecture/overgrowth/221616/architecture-s-scaffolds/
The metaphor of grassroots is apt here. Bamboo is a grass, a rhizomatic plant system that easily tends towards becoming an invasive species in its capacity to spread without seed and fruit. Given the new incursions of the global sustainability regime into third world forests to procure a material aestheticized as eco-friendly, what would it take for the state to render this ubiquitous material into a value added and replicable commodity? On one hand, scaffolding offers the site of forming and performing the subjectivity of the unskilled laborer—if not in making the scaffolding, then certainly in using it. Bamboo poles for scaffolding remain raw commodities, without scope for much value addition; a saturated marketplace where it can only be replaced by steel as building projects increase in complexity. On the other hand, bamboo produces both the cottage industry out of a forest-dwelling subject, on the margins of the state, occupying space into which this market can expand.

Bamboo is a material in flux—what it signifies is not transferable from one scale to another, or from one time to another. In that sense, bamboo challenges how we see the history of materials. In addition to its foundational architectural function as scaffolding, it acts as a metaphorical scaffolding as well: it signifies whatever its wielders might want it to, be it tradition, poverty, sustainability, or a new form of eco-chic luxury. Bamboo acts more as a scaffolding for meaning than a material with physical properties of flexibility and strength. Scaffolding, both materially and metaphorically, is a site of politics; a space that opens up and disappears, one that requires much skill in making.

Edgar Pieterse: "Incorporation and Expulsion"
https://www.e-flux.com/architecture/overgrowth/221603/incorporation-and-expulsion/
However, what is even more important is that these radically localized processes will very quickly demand spatial, planning, and design literacy among urban households and their associations. The public pedagogic work involved in nurturing such literacies, always amidst action, requires a further institutional layer that connects intermediary organizations with grassroots formations. For example, NGOs and applied urban research centers with knowledge from different sites (within a city and across the global South) can provide support to foster these organizational literacies without diminishing the autonomy and leadership of grassroots movements. Intermediary organizations are also well placed to mediate between grassroots associations, public officers, private sector interests, and whoever else impinge on the functioning of a neighborhood. Thinking with the example of Lighthouse suggests that we can think of forms of collective economic practice that connect with the urban imperatives of securing household wellbeing whilst expanding various categories of opportunity. The transformative potential is staggering when one considers the speed with which digital money systems and productive efficiencies have taken off across East Africa during the past five years or so.

There is unprecedented opportunity today to delink the imperatives of just urban planning from conventional tropes about economic modernization that tend to produce acontextual technocracy. We should, therefore, focus our creative energies on defining new forms of collective life, economy, wellbeing, invention, and care. This may even prove a worthwhile approach to re-signify “growth.” Beyond narrow economism there is a vast canvas to populate with alternative meanings: signifiers linked to practices that bring us back to the beauty of discovery, learning, questioning, debate, dissensus, experimentation, strategic consensus, and most importantly, the courage to do and feel things differently.

Ingerid Helsing Almaas: "No app for that"
https://www.e-flux.com/architecture/overgrowth/221609/no-app-for-that/
Conventionally, urban growth is seen in terms of different geometries of expansion. Recent decades have also focused on making existing cities denser, but even this is thought of as a process of addition, inscribed in the conventional idea of growth as a linear process of investments and profits. But the slow process of becoming and disappearance is also a form of growth. Growth as slow and diverse accretion and shedding, layering, gradual loss or restoration; cyclical rather than linear or expansive. Processes driven by opportunity and vision, but also by irritation, by lack, by disappointment. In a city, you see these cyclical processes of accretion and disruption everywhere. We just haven’t worked out how to make them work for us. Instead, we go on expecting stability and predictability; a city with a final, finished form.

Peter Buchanan: "Reweaving Webs of Relationships"
https://www.e-flux.com/architecture/overgrowth/221630/reweaving-webs-of-relationships/

Helena Mattsson and Catharina Gabrielsson: "Pockets and Folds"
https://www.e-flux.com/architecture/overgrowth/221607/pockets-and-folds/
Moments of deregulations are moments when an ideology of incessant growth takes over all sectors of life and politics. Returning to those moments allows us to inquire into other ways of organizing life and architecture while remaining within the sphere of the possible. Through acts of remembrance, we have the opportunity to rewrite the present through the past whereby the pockets and folds of non-markets established in the earlier welfare state come into view as worlds of a new becoming. These pockets carry the potential for new political imaginaries where ideas of degrowth reorganize the very essence of the architectural assemblage and its social impacts. These landscapes of possibilities are constructed through desires of collective spending—dépense—rather than through the grotesque ideas of the wooden brain.

Angelos Varvarousis and Penny Koutrolikou: "Degrowth and the City"
https://www.e-flux.com/architecture/overgrowth/221623/degrowth-and-the-city/
The idea of city of degrowth does not attempt to homogenize, but rather focus on inclusiveness. Heterogeneity and plurality are not contrary to the values of equity, living together and effective sharing of the resources. Difference and plurality are inherent and essential for cities and therefore diverse spatial and social articulations are intrinsic in the production of a city of degrowth. They are also vital for the way such an idea of a city could be governed; possibly through local institutions and assemblies that try to combine forms of direct and delegative democracy.
]
growth  degrowth  architecture  overgrowth  2018  nickaxel  matthewdalziel  phineasharper  nikolaushirsch  ceciliesachsolsen  mariasmith  ateyakhorakiwala  edgarpieterse  ingeridhelsingalmaas  peterbuchanan  helenamattsson  catharinagabrielsson  angelosvarvarousis  pennykoutrolikou  2019  anthropocene  population  sustainability  humans  civilization  economics  policy  capitalism  karlmarx  neoliberalism  systemsthinking  cities  urban  urbanism  urbanplanning  urbanization  ecology  consumption  materialism  consumerism  oslo  bymelding  stability  change  predictability  design  africa  southafrica  postcolonialism  ethiopia  nigeria  housing  kenya  collectivism  dissensus  experimentation  future  learning  questioning  debate  discovery  wellbeing  intervention  care  technocracy  modernization  local  grassroots  materials  multiliteracies  ngos  autonomy  shigeruban  mumbai  bamboo  burkinafaso  patrickkeré  vikramadityaprakash  lecorbusier  pierrejeanneret  modernism  shivdattsharma  chandigarh  india  history  charlescorrea  scaffolding 
november 2018 by robertogreco
EyeMyth
"Exploring present and future cases of immersive storytelling and new media, EyeMyth brings together pioneering artists, performers and experts at the forefront of these fields. 

EyeMyth’s 2017 edition, Future As Fiction, traversed multiple locations in Mumbai to create, discover and engage with new elements in the digital space. The festival featured an array of exhibitions, workshops and performances that explored various forms of expression through new media."

[via: "Cool to see our comrades in Mumbai doing strange and interesting things in the futures/fiction/festival space: https://eyemyth.unboxfestival.com/ "
https://twitter.com/justinpickard/status/914105328266022912 ]
mumbai  designfiction  speculativefiction  future  futurism  storytelling  newmedia  technology  vr  ar  augmentedreality 
september 2017 by robertogreco
The Future of Cities – Medium
[video (embedded): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xOOWk5yCMMs ]

"Organic Filmmaking and City Re-Imagining

What does “the future of cities” mean? To much of the developing world, it might be as simple as aspiring to having your own toilet, rather than sharing one with over 100 people. To a family in Detroit, it could mean having non-toxic drinking water. For planners and mayors, it’s about a lot of things — sustainability, economy, inclusivity, and resilience. Most of us can hope we can spend a little less time on our commutes to work and a little more time with our families. For a rich white dude up in a 50th floor penthouse, “the future of cities” might mean zipping around in a flying car while a robot jerks you off and a drone delivers your pizza. For many companies, the future of cities is simply about business and money, presented to us as buzzwords like “smart city” and “the city of tomorrow.”

I started shooting the “The Future of a Cities” as a collaboration with the The Nantucket Project, but it really took shape when hundreds of people around the world responded to a scrappy video I made asking for help.

Folks of all ages, from over 75 countries, volunteered their time, thoughts, work, and footage so that I could expand the scope of the piece and connect with more people in more cities. This strategy saved me time and money, but it also clarified the video’s purpose, which inspired me to put more energy into the project in order to get it right. I was reading Jan Gehl, Jane Jacobs, Edward Glaeser, etc. and getting excited about their ideas — after seeing what mattered to the people I met in person and watching contributions from those I didn’t, the video gained focus and perspective.

If I hired a production services outfit to help me film Mumbai, it would actually be a point of professional pride for the employees to deliver the Mumbai they think I want to see. If some young filmmakers offer to show me around their city and shoot with me for a day, we’re operating on another level, and a very different portrait of a city emerges. In the first scenario, my local collaborators get paid and I do my best to squeeze as much work out of the time period paid for as possible. In the second, the crew accepts more responsibility but gains ownership, hopefully leaving the experience feeling more empowered.

Architect and former mayor of Curitiba Jaime Lerner famously said “if you want creativity, take a zero off your budget. If you want sustainability, take off two zeros.” It’s been my experience that this sustainability often goes hand-in-hand with humanity, and part of what I love about working with less resources and money is that it forces you to treat people like human beings. Asking someone to work with less support or equipment, or to contribute more time for less money, requires a mutual understanding between two people. If each person can empathize for the other, it’s been my experience that we’ll feel it in the work — both in the process and on screen.

Organic filmmaking requires you to keep your crew small and your footprint light. You start filming with one idea in mind, but the idea changes each day as elements you could never have anticipated inform the bigger picture. You make adjustments and pursue new storylines. You edit a few scenes, see what’s working and what’s not, then write new scenes. Shoot those, cut them in, then go back and write more. Each part of the process talks to the other. The movie teaches itself to be a better movie. Because organic is complicated, it can be tricky to defend and difficult to scale up, but because it’s cheap and low-resource, it’s easier to experiment. Learning about the self-organizing, living cities that I did on this project informed how we made the video. And looking at poorly planned urban projects reminded me of the broken yet prevailing model for making independent film in the U.S., where so many films are bound to fail — often in a way a filmmaker doesn’t recover from — before they even begin.

Jane Jacobs said that “cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.” I’ve worked on videos for companies, for the guy in the penthouse, for nobody in particular, in the developing world, with rich people and poor people, for me, for my friends, and for artists. I’m so thankful for everybody who allowed me to make this film the way we did, and I hope the parallels between filmmaking and city building — where the stakes are so much higher — aren’t lost on anyone trying to make their city a better place. We should all be involved. The most sustainable future is a future that includes us all.

“The Future of Cities” Reading List

(There’s a longer list I discovered recently from Planetizen HERE but these are the ones I got into on this project — I’m excited to read many more)

The Death and Life of American Cities by Jane Jacobs
The Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier, and Happier by Edward Glaeser
Cities for People and Life Between Buildings by Jan Gehl
The Well-Tempered City: What Modern Science, Ancient Civilizations, and Human Nature Teach Us About the Future of Urban Life by Jonathan Rose(just came out — incredible)
Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time by Jeff Speck
The City of Tomorrow: Sensors, Networks, Hackers, and the Future of Urban Life by Carlo Ratti and Matthew Claudel
Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design by Charles Montgomery
Dream Cities: Seven Urban Ideas That Shape the World by Wade Graham
Connectography: Mapping The Future of Global Civilization by Parag Khanna
Delirious New York by Rem Koolhaas
Low Life and The Other Paris by Luc Sante
A History of Future Cities by Daniel Brook
Streetfight: Handbook for the Urban Revolution by Janette Sadik-Khan and Seth Solomonow
Tactical Urbanism: Short-term Action for Long-Term Change by Mike Lydon & Anthony Garcia
Living In The Endless City, edited by Ricky Burdett and Deyan Sudjic

“The Future of Cities” Select Interviewees:
David Hertz & Sky Source
Vicky Chan & Avoid Obvious Architects
Carlo Ratti: Director, MIT Senseable City Lab Founding Partner, Carlo Ratti Associati
Edward Glaeser: Fred and Eleanor Glimp Professor of Economics, Harvard University Author of The Triumph of the City
Helle Søholt: Founding Parner & CEO, Gehl Architects
Ricky Burdett: Director, LSE Cities/Urban Age
Lauren Lockwood, Chief Digital Officer, City of Boston
Pablo Viejo: Smart Cities Expert & CTO V&V Innovations, Singapore
Matias Echanove & Urbz, Mumbai
Janette Sadik-Khan: Author, Advisor, & Former NYC DOT Commissioner
Abess Makki: CEO, City Insight
Dr. Parag Khanna: Author of Connectography
Stan Gale: CEO of Gale International, Developer of Songdo IBD
Dr. Jockin Arputham: President, Slum Dwellers International
Morton Kabell: Mayor for Technical & Environmental Affairs, Copenhagen
cities  urban  urbanplanning  urbanism  bikes  biking  cars  singapore  nyc  losangeles  janejacobs  jangehl  edwardglaeser  mumbai  tokyo  regulation  jaimelerner  curitiba  nantucketproject  carloratti  vickchan  davidhertz  hellesøholt  rickyburdett  laurenlockwood  pabloviejo  matiasechanove  urbz  janettesadik-khan  abessmakki  paragkhanna  stangale  jockinarputham  slumdwellersinternational  slums  mortonkabell  urbanization  future  planning  oscarboyson  mikelydon  anthonygarcia  danielbrook  lucsante  remkoolhaas  dayansudjic  rickyburdettsethsolomonow  wadegraham  charlesmontgomery  matthewclaudeljeffspeck  jonathanrose  transportation  publictransit  transit  housing  construction  development  local  small  grassroots  technology  internet  web  online  communications  infrastructure  services  copenhagen  sidewalks  pedestrians  sharing  filmmaking  film  video  taipei  seoul  santiago  aukland  songdo  sydney  london  nairobi  venice  shenzhen  2016  sustainability  environment  population  detroit  making  manufacturing  buildings  economics  commutes  commuting 
december 2016 by robertogreco
WHY I HATE BOMBAY. - YouTube
"It's been over 10 years since I moved to Bombay and it was about time I told you a little story about it. Here's a small film about how Bombay hit me in the face like a train hurtling down a hill and how I learned to love that train.

If you like it, make your friends, mothers, bais and everyone else watch it. Don't forget to share it with your Bombay friends and say "Omg same!"

Comment below or tweet to me at @kittyzenkane if you want to say nice/nasty things about it.

By Siddharth Sathyajit,
Shot and edited by: Siddharth Sathyajit/Siddharth Bandal.
Highway/airplane hyperlapses: Aakash Mehta, Ayush Om Wal."
bombay  film  cities  2016  siddharthsathyajit  documentary  classideas  people  mumbai 
december 2016 by robertogreco
Life at an Incredible Height - The Morning News
"In Mumbai, paltry regulation means hundreds of new skyscrapers bring more lows than highs.

Photographs of new construction, with titles named after the buildings’ advertising slogans.

Alicja Dobrucka is a Polish photographer interested in the passage of time, cultural identity, and how one culture influences or appropriates elements of another. Alicja’s work has appeared in exhibitions in various cities, including Lisbon, Venice, Poznan, and her current base London. While visiting Mumbai, Alicja observed how a lucrative real estate sector and poorly regulated construction are pushing the skyline to grow taller and taller and transforming the city into a hazard for people and the environment. Her series “Life is on a high” confronts this explosive construction by juxtaposing photos of the buildings with the ad copy promising a life of luxury for their future occupants.

Studio-X Mumbai will exhibit selections from “Life is on a high” in the latter half of 2014."

[photographs with captions]

"The Morning News:
What brought you to Mumbai in the first place?

Alicja Dobrucka:
I first came to Mumbai at the end of 2011 for a residency and an exhibition, and honestly I didn’t dare pull out my camera. I find India is rather difficult to photograph, as it’s just too photogenic. I kept coming back to the city, and it wasn’t until two years later, in 2013, that this series actually came about.

TMN:
Tell us about the trickiest part of making these images.

AD:
Shooting the series was not an easy task, considering that I chose to execute it with a large format camera, so the process became much slower. The most demanding, trickiest, and time-consuming part was actually receiving permission as each building has a guard downstairs. It is not a problem to walk around with any digital equipment, but as soon as you pull out a tripod the problem starts.
There are some areas, like Worli Naka, where people are very aware of photographers and are requested to report anyone taking pictures to the police. It’s an aftermath of the 2008 attacks as there were white photographers doing mapping for Pakistani bombers.

TMN:
What surprised you during the process?

AD:
My assistant Omrita Nandi and I had many adventures while shooting. Mumbai is a place where as a woman you cannot go many places alone. Once when we visited an inhabited building and while asking for permission to photograph, the man we were speaking to—the head of security of that building—unzipped his fly. I wasn’t quite sure whether that really was happening as we did feel we weren’t alone there. We ran a floor down and, in panic, tried to ask the family who were living there who was the secretary. Each building in Mumbai has someone like a director of the decision-making panel, called the secretary. The people refused to speak to us.

This was not the only case of such behavior, which is actually more shocking rather than surprising.

TMN:
Could you replicate this series in another city? Let’s say, in London where you live?

AD:
Yes, that would definitely be possible in many developing Asian cities. I have recently visited Hong Kong and Istanbul, where I saw some amazingly horrendous construction, and I’m sure I would have a lot of joy capturing them. I’m not sure about London, as the system of centralized urban planning is highly organized there.

TMN:
The writer George Saunders, discussing the art of fiction, said art starts with intention and “our intention is to crack life open for just a second.” In what ways have you experienced this through photography?

AD:
Ha! I think for me this happens in the process: research, experimenting, and when it all starts coming together. It has to do with the vulnerability caused by the uncertainly of whether it’s going to work out.

TMN:
What will this city look like in 10 years?

AD:
I’m very interested to know that. I presume that the photographed buildings will look much worse once they have lived a little in the moist Mumbai climate.

Mumbai is definitely becoming a vertical city slaved to the car and in which the pavements are bound to disappear. The island city is rapidly expanding onto the mainland.

The way things look like at the moment is that if the small number of people who are aware of the world heritage of the city fail to protect it, all the charming post-colonial architectural leftovers will have disappeared and be replaced by the modern structures with more chain restaurants and coffee shops.

TMN:
Where are you taking your camera next?

AD:
Just got back from a residency in Sivas, Turkey, organized by the Tandem program participants: Kasia Sobucka, Merja Briñón, Talat Alkan, and Serra Özhan Yüksel. I was working with the local crafts people, as well as on sculptures and paintings and with a local musician on a video piece.

When it comes to photography, the next destinations are Turkey and India. But who knows, things may change. I like to keep an element of spontaneity."
mumbai  india  construction  architecture  photography  alicjadobrucka  urban  cities  skyscrapers 
april 2016 by robertogreco
A Too-Perfect Picture - The New York Times
"You know a Steve McCurry picture when you see one. His portrait of an Afghan girl with vivid green eyes, printed on the cover of National Geographic in June 1985, is one of the iconic images of the 20th century. McCurry’s work is stark and direct, with strong colors, a clear emotional appeal and crisp composition. His most recent volume of photographs, “India,” is a compendium of the pictures he took in that country between 1978 and 2014, and it also gives us the essential McCurry. There are Hindu festivals, men in turbans, women in saris, red-robed monks, long mustaches, large beards, preternaturally soulful children and people in rudimentary canoes against dramatic landscapes.

In McCurry’s portraits, the subject looks directly at the camera, wide-eyed and usually marked by some peculiar­ity, like pale irises, face paint or a snake around the neck. And when he shoots a wider scene, the result feels like a certain ideal of photography: the rule of thirds, a neat counterpoise of foreground and background and an obvious point of primary interest, placed just so. Here’s an old-timer with a dyed beard. Here’s a doe-eyed child in a head scarf. The pictures are staged or shot to look as if they were. They are astonishingly boring.

Boring, but also extremely popular: McCurry’s photographs adorn calendars and books, and command vertiginous prices at auction. He has more than a million followers on Instagram. This popularity does not come about merely because of the technical finesse of his pictures. The photographs in “India,” all taken in the last 40 years, are popular in part because they evoke an earlier time in Indian history, as well as old ideas of what photographs of Indians should look like, what the accouterments of their lives should be: umbrellas, looms, sewing machines; not laptops, wireless printers, escalators. In a single photograph, taken in Agra in 1983, the Taj Mahal is in the background, a steam train is in the foreground and two men ride in front of the engine, one of them crouched, white-bearded and wearing a white cap, the other in a loosefitting brown uniform and a red turban. The men are real, of course, but they have also been chosen for how well they work as types.

A defender of McCurry’s work might suggest that he is interested in exploring vanishing cultures. After all, even in the 21st century, not all Indians go to malls or fly in planes. Should he not be celebrated for seeking out the picturesque and using it to show us quintessential India? What is wrong with showing a culture in its most authentic form? The problem is that the uniqueness of any given country is a mixture not only of its indigenous practices and borrowed customs but also of its past and its present. Any given photograph encloses only a section of the world within its borders. A sequence of photographs, taken over many years and carefully arranged, however, reveals a worldview. To consider a place largely from the perspective of a permanent anthropological past, to settle on a notion of authenticity that edits out the present day, is not simply to present an alternative truth: It is to indulge in fantasy.

What a relief it is to move from Steve McCurry’s work to that of someone like Raghubir Singh. Singh worked from the late ’60s until his untimely death in 1999, traveling all over India to create a series of powerful books about his homeland. His work shares formal content with McCurry’s: the subcontinental terrain, the eye-popping color, the human presence. Within these shared parameters, however, Singh gives us photographs charged with life: not only beautiful experiences or painful scenes but also those in-between moments of drift that make up most of our days. Singh had a democratic eye, and he took pictures of everything: cities, towns, villages, shops, rivers, worshipers, workers, construction sites, motorbikes, statues, modern furniture, balconies, suits, dresses and, sure, turbans and saris.

The power of Singh’s pictures lies in part in their capacious content. But it also lies in their composition, which rises well beyond mere competence, as he demonstrated in books like “River of Colour,” “The Ganges” and “Bombay: Gateway of India.” Singh has cited Edgar Degas and the American photographer Helen Levitt as influences, and you can see what he has learned from their highly sophisticated approaches (Degas’s casual grace, Levitt’s sympathetic view of urban oddity and the way both of them let in messiness at the edges of their images — a messiness that reminds us of the life happening outside the frame as well as within it). A photograph like the one Singh made of a crowded intersection in Kolkata in 1987 draws a breathtaking coherence out of the chaos of the everyday. The image, of which the key elements are a green door, a distant statue, an arm and a bus, is slightly surreal. But everything is in its right place. It reads as a moment of truth snipped from the flow of life.

I love even more a photograph Singh made in Mumbai a couple of years later. Taken in a busy shopping district called Kemps Corner, this photograph has less-obvious charms. The picture is divided into four vertical parts by the glass frontage of a leather-goods shop and its open glass door, and within this grid is a scatter of incident. The main figure, if we can call her that, is a woman past middle age who wears a red blouse and a dark floral skirt and carries a cloth bag on a string. She is seen in profile and looks tired. Beyond her and behind are various other walkers in the city, going about their serious business. An overpass cuts across the picture horizontally. The foreground, red with dust, is curiously open, a potential space for people not yet in the picture. The glass on the left is a display of handbags for sale, and the peculiar lighting of the bags indicates that Singh used flash in taking the shot. The image, unforgettable because it stretches compositional coherence nearly to its snapping point, reminds me of Degas’s painting “Place de la Concorde,” another picture in which easy, classically balanced composition is jettisoned for something more exciting and discomfiting and grounded.

How do we know when a photographer caters to life and not to some previous prejudice? One clue is when the picture evades compositional cliché. But there is also the question of what the photograph is for, what role it plays within the economic circulation of images. Some photographs, like Singh’s, are freer of the censorship of the market. Others are taken only to elicit particular conventional responses — images that masquerade as art but fully inhabit the vocabulary of advertising. As Justice Potter Stewart said when pressed to define hard-core pornography in 1964, “I know it when I see it.”

I saw “it” when I recently watched the video for Coldplay’s “Hymn for the Weekend.” The song is typical Coldplay, written for vague uplift but resistant to sense (“You said, ‘Drink from me, drink from me’/When I was so thirsty/Poured on a symphony/Now I just can’t get enough”). Filmed in India, with a cameo by Beyoncé, the video is a kind of exotification bingo, and almost like a live-action version of Steve McCurry’s vision: peacocks, holy men, painted children, incense. Almost nothing in the video allows true contemporaneity to Indians. They seem to have been placed there as a colorful backdrop to the fantasies of Western visitors. A fantasy withers in the sunlight of realism. But as long as realism is held at bay, the fantasy can remain satisfying to an enormous audience. More than a hundred million people have watched the Coldplay video since it was posted at the end of January.

Are we then to cry “appropriation” whenever a Westerner approaches a non-Western subject? Quite the contrary: Some of the most insightful stories about any place can be told by outsiders. I have, for instance, seen few documentary series as moving and humane as “Phantom India,” released in 1969 by the French auteur Louis Malle. Mary Ellen Mark, not Indian herself, did extraordinary work photographing prostitutes in Mumbai. Non-Indians have made images that capture aspects of the endlessly complicated Indian experience, just as have Indian photographers like Ketaki Sheth, Sooni Taraporevala, Raghu Rai and Richard Bartholomew.

Art is always difficult, but it is especially difficult when it comes to telling other people’s stories. And it is ferociously difficult when those others are tangled up in your history and you are tangled up in theirs. What honors those we look at, those whose stories we try to tell, is work that acknowledges their complex sense of their own reality. Good photography, regardless of its style, is always emotionally generous in this way. For this reason, it outlives the moment that occasions it. Weaker photography delivers a quick message — sweetness, pathos, humor — but fails to do more. But more is what we are."
tejucole  photography  2016  stevemccurry  appropriation  india  culture  authenticity  raghubirsingh  drift  betweeness  democracy  diversity  composition  edgardegas  prejudice  censorship  markets  popularity  nationalgeographic  exotification  realism  outsiders  louismalle  maryellenmark  mumbai  katakisheth  soonitaraporevala  raghurai  richardbartholomew  complexity  reality  sweetness  pathos  humor 
april 2016 by robertogreco
Tiffin | Board Game | BoardGameGeek
"Every day in Mumbai, the bustling financial capital of India, hot lunches are hand-delivered to employees in workplaces across the city. These home-cooked meals, packed in tins called tiffins or dabbas, are picked up from the customer’s home, whisked off by bicycle to a sorting facility, loaded onto carts and wheeled to the train station, loaded onto a train car, unloaded, resorted, routed, and delivered (again, by bicycle) to recipients at work. Each tiffin is carried by multiple dabbawallas (delivery people) along the way. Despite more than 250,000 lunch deliveries every day, mistakes are rare.

In Tiffin, players represent dabbawallas working to deliver tiffins and earn rupees by starting tiffins on a route and contributing to successful delivery of their tiffins and those of other players. The more tiffins delivered on a single route, the higher the payout for each player participating in the deliveries.

Shortcuts speed things up, flat tires slow things down, and an ever-present competitor might get there first. The game ends when all delivery routes are complete and the player with the most rupees is the winner."
games  boardgames  raeldornfest  jonathanhager  2016  toplay  mumbai 
february 2016 by robertogreco
Martin Roemers - Metropolis | LensCulture
"Dutch photographer Martin Roemers won the 1st prize in the LensCulture Street Photography Awards 2015 for his series, Metropolis, which documents street life in "mega-cities", defined as urban areas that are home to more than 10 million inhabitants. Here we present an extended slideshow of this project, as well as an interview with the photographer."

[via: http://globalvoices.tumblr.com/post/133898896954/archatlas-metropolis-martin-roemers ]
martinroemers  photography  streetphotography  2015  cities  urban  urbanism  global  kolkata  lagos  pakistan  bangladesh  cairo  nigeria  egypt  karachi  dhaka  mumbai  india  guangzhou  china  istanbul  turkey  jakarta  indonesia  buenosaires  argentina  manila  philippines  basil  brazil  riodejaneiro  mexicocity  mexicodf  mexico  nyc  sãopaulo  london  tokyo  japan  df 
november 2015 by robertogreco
The Classrooms Hidden in Mumbai’s Seams — Bright — Medium
"Educators are bringing the classroom to the thousands of Mumbai’s children out of school — in school buses, treehouses, and beyond."



"Educating children in a city of more than 18 million people — of which at least 1.7 million are children under 6 years old, according to the national census — is a daunting task. Mumbai, India’s financial hub, is a dense metropolis of almost inconceivable disparity, where multi-story homes of business tycoons cast shadows over tiny fishermen communities and crowded informal settlements stretching to absorb thousands of new migrants every week. About 40 percent of the city’s families live in slums, defined as compact, congested areas with poor hygiene and infrastructure.

Mumbai’s education system has fallen gravely short of absorbing its children. Only 400,000 children were enrolled in municipal schools in 2014, according to a report by Praja, a non-partisan research and advocacy organization. That number actually dropped 11 percent since 2009, despite increased government spending on education.

That leaves more than half of the children in Mumbai either out of school or learning in private institutions. At least 37,000 kids in Mumbai live on the streets and work with their parents to earn a few cents a day, according to advocacy organization Action Aid.

In response, community members, activists, and educators have carved out classrooms between the hidden folds and seams of the city. They offer safe and regular learning spaces to students who can easily fall throughout the gaps. Some you have to literally climb into to access, while others are built on wheels. For thousands of students across Mumbai, these classrooms have become tiny oases, a place to call their own for a few hours every day.

Manasvi Khasle walked up and down a narrow aisle. She called out even numbers and waited for her class to say the next one. The 22-year-old teacher knows how to command the attention of the 20 students sitting in neat rows in her unusual classroom: a yellow school bus parked near a smoky crossroad of factories and railway tracks in south Mumbai.

“In the beginning I had to go to their homes and call them to class,” she said. “Now they see the bus pull up and just come.”

Khasle has been teaching for eight years with Door Step, an organization founded in 1988 that runs classes for more than 10,000 students, in school buses and tiny community centers. The buses can only hold 20 students, most of them between six and twelve years old, without much space to wiggle around or store books. But they have unique benefits — like their ability to reach many of Mumbai’s poorest migrants who live on illegal plots of land where schools can’t be built.

The students who come to Door Step are as mobile as their classrooms. Many of them work during the evenings or weekend, walking miles down busy roads to peddle toys or newspapers. Most are the first in their families to receive any type of education.

“I like coming here because we sing songs, we study things,” said Gopal, an 11-year-old who attends class in one of the buses parked close to his home in the Byculla neighborhood. His family migrated to Mumbai from rural Maharashtra. He has yet to be enrolled in a local school full time. “On weekends I walk to the temple and sell lemons. Here I can play.”

***

To get to one learning center at the southern end of Mumbai, you have to walk through a maze of narrow pathways filled with open drains, women scrubbing laundry, and jumbled electrical wires that hang between buildings like knotted shoelaces. Then you climb two ladders — one wooden and painted blue, the other metal — to find a small entryway in the ceiling, which leads to an open platform surrounded by railings and trees.

This is the journey that Kirthna Rai, a volunteer teacher, and her 18 students — mostly slight, lanky teenagers — make five days a week to learn spoken English, math, and general knowledge. It is also the uppermost floor of the home of one student, Harsha Vade. Rai’s organization, a small non-profit called Down to Earth, rents the rooftop by the hour.

“We like it that the kids are so close by,” said Arti Bharat Vade, Harsha’s mother, as she filled buckets of water from a communal pipe. “We want them to do well and make a name for themselves.”

Vade said the center has made a powerful impact on her daughter, who had recently scored strong grades on her tenth grade exams — the make-or-break year in the Indian school system — making her eligible to go to a mainstream college. Harsha’s English is fluid and confident, and Rai has guided her through tough exams and career decisions.

When asked if it was hard to concentrate in this treehouse-like classroom during Mumbai’s scorching summer or heavy monsoon season, the students looked around quizzically before Rai, their teacher, eventually spoke up: “This is just like their homes, it’s what they’re used to.”

***

Some miles north of the Down to Earth Center, a different tiny classroom was buzzing. The Dharavi Art Room was started by educator Himanshu S. in a particularly entrepreneurial neighborhood called Dharavi. The area is home to over 600,000 people — about the same as Baltimore — packed into less than one square mile.

Dharavi Art Room is not yet a registered non-profit, but has been operating with community support and donations from friends to teach painting, drawing and other mediums of expression to children in the area. On one sunny summer Sunday, there were trays of paint and paper strewn along the floor. Fifteen students intently focused on depicting their family, or copying a painting from the famed Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo.

“It used to be hard for me to paint because I didn’t know how, but now it’s not so hard,” said 12-year-old Lovesh Chilveri, a student at the center, as he carefully shaded a window he was drawing.

Himanshu said the art room is particularly important in Dharavi, where young people are caught in the aggressive atmosphere that can pervade the neighborhood. Sitting on the floor near a student, a book of small paintings by his side, he said the room gives them a relaxed and free space they might not otherwise access.

“Some kids just like to come sit here,” he said. “This is a space where they can be themselves.”

***

"For many of the educators in these informal classrooms, creating a comfortable place is as important as what they teach. Many low-income children in Mumbai deal with very harsh realities of life — going to bed hungry, falling sick from the rain, helping their parents make ends meet — and a classroom can become like a second home.

“Education has to be holistic approach,” said Vrushali Naik, a program coordinator with Mumbai Mobile Creches, a non-profit organization that has reached more than 100,000 children by building temporary education and daycare centers near the construction sites where migrant laborers live.

One center in eastern Mumbai is housed in the same corrugated metal sheds where the migrant families live in neat, Spartan rows. There are three rooms for the children — ranging from infants to teenagers — and educators who teach, play, and help distribute meals throughout the day.

Food is an important part of many of these classrooms. The Action Aid study found that 25 percent of the children in poor Mumbai neighborhoods skipped meals due to lack of money.

At Mumbai Mobile Creches the children eat eggs, lentils and milk, and at Angel Xpress the students line up for packages of sandwiches and snacks at the end of their tutoring sessions.

“We have to look at the bigger picture — do children feel safe, are they understood? Are their stomachs full?” said Reshma Agarwal, an education specialist with UNICEF. “I don’t think these programs have come because of a shortage of classrooms in Mumbai — these programs have come in for specific needs.”

Even so, Agarwal said, the classrooms cannot replace the school system in the city, however weak it may. Most programs agree. Door Step buses, for example, drive kids to municipality schools after they’re admitted. And teachers like Rai help students tackle the exams and papers to get through the critical years of school.

For now, though, the teachers continue to climb ladders, board school buses, and cut through the howling winds of the Mumbai monsoon. And thousands of students willingly follow.

“We don’t walk here,” said 10-year-old Kerketta, referring to Angel Xpress. “We run.”"
mumbai  nkitarao  education  schools  popupschools  interstitialplaces  cityasclassroom  2015  dharavi  mobile  mobility  mobileschools  wherestudentsare  teaching  howweteach  india  mumbaimobilecreches  unicef  resgmaagarwal  doorstep  manasvikhasle  bandra  lcproject  openstudioproject  tcsnmy  cv 
august 2015 by robertogreco
The phone app challenging violence against women in a Mumbai slum | KumKum Dasgupta | Global development | The Guardian
"Domestic abuse is rife in Dharavi slum, but a new project uses a smartphone app and trained community workers to improve the reporting of violence"



"The app, SNEHA believes, encourages increased reporting of violence, lets community members know what assistance is available, and helps NGOs understand more about the prevalence of violence in Dharavi. The interaction is two-way: sometimes sanginis come to know about a case and approach the survivor; at other times, survivors seek out sanginis to report incidents.

“Our volunteers are trained to advise survivors on [the] availability of medical help and also on how to approach the police.” Once cases are brought to SNEHA’s centre, counsellors help survivors file police reports and offer legal support, says Daruwalla.

Earlier this year, SNEHA promoted its work at the inaugural Dharavi biennale. Using scrap denim pieces and discarded objects, sanginis created an art project called Mapping the Hurt, an innovative visualisation of gender violence in the slum.

But if tracking and reporting violence is one part of the challenge, the next big hurdle is getting the police to act.

“Whenever we go to the police to report on domestic violence, they are reluctant to file a case. They say such issues should be settled at home,” explains Bhanuben. Even if a case is lodged, low conviction rates strengthen the impression that there is little point in reporting the crime. Further, a lack of understanding of gender issues, violence and entrenched views about women’s status among lawyers and judges often encourages outcomes that favour reconciliations, overlooking a woman’s needs and demands.

Data collected from July to December last year by SNEHA showed that of the 345 cases analysed, only 19% were reported to the police."
dharavi  violence  technology  mobile  phones  smartphones  2015  india  sneha  mumbai 
june 2015 by robertogreco
The “Urbanologists” Who Want You to Think About Steve Jobs’ Garage Next Time You Say the Word “Slum” – Next City
"If the critics are any indication, MoMA’s architecture exhibition, “Uneven Growth: Tactical Urbanisms for Expanding Megacities,” won’t be missed when it closes next week on May 25.

New York’s Justin Davidson panned the show in November before it even opened , followed by Tactical Urbanism co-author Mike Lydon’s two-part critique disputing its entire premise, including the title. The final insult arrived in March when Harvard’s Neil Brenner demolished the show’s assumptions on MoMA’s own website. But if you need a reason to see “Uneven Growth” before it’s gone, perhaps the best is becoming better acquainted with the work of Brenner’s favorite team, the Mumbai-based “urbanologists” of URBZ.

Practically speaking, URBZ is a research, design, and activist group led by Matias Echanove and Rahul Srivastava, who have spent the last six years working in Dharavi, the world’s most infamous slum. They refuse to call it that, however, and so do its residents. The pair titled their 2014 e-book “The Slum Outside” as a nod to this disavowal — the Dharavi they know is a middle-class neighborhood. “The slum” is always outside, somewhere else.

The slum, of course, is the hottest button in urbanism. Beneath the cliché that half the world’s population lives in cities — and that urban populations will double by 2050 — is the fact that only bottom-up informal settlements, or slums, can absorb several billion new residents in the timeframe. The debate is whether these places are engines of hope and upward mobility (i.e. the prosperity gospel of Stewart Brand, Ed Glaeser, and, to a lesser extent, Robert Neuwirth) or places where relentless entrepreneurialism belies the hopelessness of ever escaping (a point made in various polemics by Mike Davis, George Packer, and Daniel Brook).

In Dharavi, this debate matters more than ever due to the Dharavi Redevelopment Project, a controversial government proposal to swap residency rights for apartments outside the slum as well so that developers can build new, high-rise apartment towers on the land once occupied by Dharavi’s single-family homes. This, depending on who you ask, is either vital to accommodating as many as a million incoming Mumbai residents, or a government plot to trap them in high rises, separated from their communities, while developers raze their former homes for luxury buildings.

URBZ is notable in that it offers a third way at looking at Dharavi — as both a failure and a better path to success than stillborn smart cities or other attempts at top-down instant urbanism. “We haven’t exhausted urban possibility,” says Srivastava. “But because we’ve taken a certain norm — the post-World War II city — and that norm has become so expensive to maintain, you have these spillovers of people who cannot fit into that very tight definition of the city. And so they become part of a dysfunctional narrative, ‘the slum.’” Dharavi as it exists is no triumph of the city — not with one toilet per thousand people, and water provisioned from private taps. But a large part of that failure stems from insisting the city is something that must be given to residents — e.g. the current plan for free apartments in exchange for wholesale demolition and redevelopment — rather than something they can build for themselves.

As an example of the latter, Echanove and Srivastava return again and again to the notion of the “tool-house,” which they consider the emblematic urban form of Dharavi and other Mumbai slums such as Shivaji Nagar. These homes doubling as workshops enable residents to make the most of scarce space. They’re also absent from the zoning codes of most cities. As Echanove points out, “we fetishize the fact that Steve Jobs started from his garage, but it was totally illegal.” (One could argue the entire “sharing economy” is a networked version of the tool-house, with bedrooms doubling as hotel rooms and private cars serving as cabs.)

URBZ understands tool-houses as small, flexible, and networked at both the level of the neighborhood and global supply chains, a definition that underscores the parallels between a slum economy and the model making Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky a very rich man. In his recent Baffler essay, Daniel Brook mocks the oft-quoted statistic that Dharavi’s GDP approaches $1 billion, noting this breaks down to less than $1,000 per person. But as Echanove and Srivastava note in their book and elsewhere, Japan’s post-war rise to industrial prowess was due largely to the networks of small-scale factories emerging from the fire-bombed slum that was Tokyo. Although culturally distinct from Dharavi for obvious reasons, Tokyo’s resurgence represents one path South Asia’s slums could take. So do Sao Paulo, Barcelona, and Perguia — all of which URBZ have mashed-up in Photoshop with Dharavi to illustrate various trajectories.

So how do they get there? Unfortunately, you won’t find many answers at the MoMA show. By their own admission, the pair had a falling-out with their nominal teammates, MIT-POP Lab, in what even the exhibition catalogue described as a “creative and sometimes troubled collaboration.” You can find their unfiltered recommendations in “Reclaim Growth,” URBZ’ submission to the Urban Design Research Institute’s “Reinventing Dharavi” competition. Their plans call for granting residents occupancy rights rather than property rights (to discourage speculation), more carefully adding infrastructure, preserving pedestrian paths, and dignifying residents’ efforts to improve, expand, and use their homes.

“We’re not saying things should stay the way they are,” says Srivastava, “only that residents are highly involved in the changes.” The biggest difference between Dharavi as it is and the government’s plans, adds Echanove, is that the former retains the ability to evolve, sprouting new forms and functions, “unlike housing blocks that never improve over time.”

In their focus on process — Dharavi is always becoming — URBZ also describes the impulse behind such bottom-up movements and projects as Build a Better Block, Renew Newcastle , and yes, tactical urbanism, all of which aim to harness the energies of residents to improve their neighborhoods. That someone as smart as Glaeser could look at Dharavi and write, “there’s a lot to like about urban poverty,” speaks to just how much work there is left to do."
2015  greglindsay  slums  cities  urbanism  urban  justindavidson  tacticalurbanism  mikelydon  neilbrenner  mumbai  matiasechanove  rahulsrivastava  stewartbrand  edglaeser  mikedavis  georgepacker  danielbrook  robertneuwirth  informalsettlements  informal  dharavi  urbz 
may 2015 by robertogreco
The secret to the Uber economy is wealth inequality - Quartz
"There are only two requirements for an on-demand service economy to work, and neither is an iPhone. First, the market being addressed needs to be big enough to scale—food, laundry, taxi rides. Without that, it’s just a concierge service for the rich rather than a disruptive paradigm shift, as a venture capitalist might say. Second, and perhaps more importantly, there needs to be a large enough labor class willing to work at wages that customers consider affordable and that the middlemen consider worthwhile for their profit margins.

Uber was founded in 2009, in the immediate aftermath of the worst financial crisis in a generation. As the ride-sharing app has risen, so too have income disparity and wealth inequality in the United States as a whole and in San Francisco in particular. Recent research by the Brookings Institution found that of any US city, San Francisco had the largest increase in inequality between 2007 and 2012. The disparity in San Francisco as of 2012, as measured (pdf) by a city agency, was in fact more pronounced than inequality in Mumbai (pdf).

Of course, there are huge differences between the two cities. Mumbai is a significantly poorer, dirtier, more miserable place to live and work. Half of its citizens lack access to sanitation or formal housing.

Another distinction, just as telling, lies in the opportunities the local economy affords to the army of on-demand delivery people it supports. In Mumbai, the man who delivers a bottle of rum to my doorstep can learn the ins and outs of the booze business from spending his days in a liquor store. If he scrapes together enough capital, he may one day be able to open his own shop and hire his own delivery boys.

His counterpart in San Francisco has no such access. The person who cleans your home in SoMa has little interaction with the mysterious forces behind the app that sends him or her to your door. The Uber driver who wants an audience with management can’t go to Uber headquarters; he or she must visit a separate “driver center.”

There is no denying the seductive nature of convenience—or the cold logic of businesses that create new jobs, whatever quality they may be. But the notion that brilliant young programmers are forging a newfangled “instant gratification” economy is a falsehood. Instead, it is a rerun of the oldest sort of business: middlemen insinuating themselves between buyers and sellers.
All that modern technology has done is make it easier, through omnipresent smartphones, to amass a fleet of increasingly desperate jobseekers eager to take whatever work they can get."
economics  poverty  inequality  uber  middlemen  2014  leomirani  thomaspiketty  mumbai  sanfrancisco  sharingeconomy 
december 2014 by robertogreco
Cities in motion: why Mumbai's new air terminal has gone off the rails | Cities | theguardian.com
"The difference between the two terminuses demonstrates just what's going wrong with Mumbai. After two decades of economic liberalisation, its middle class has been so brainwashed into believing privatisation is the solution for all their problems that the city seems to have forgotten what public actually means. As art historian Rahul D'Souza points out: "Richer residents are quite willing to accept the idea that an art exhibition can be public, even if it can accessed only by people who have bought an international air ticket." This attitude will surely have a profound effect on Mumbai's politics in the near future.

The middle-class aspiration for exclusivity is a jarring disjuncture with the mythology and history of a city that lives the best part of its life in full view of its neighbours, with one of the highest population densities in the world (it packs 22,937 people into each square kilometre, compared to 5,285 people in London). The size of the average Mumbai family is 4.5 people, and the average home size is 10 square metres, so some of their most private moments transpire in the midst of a crowd.

Much of Mumbai's easy urbanity has been forged in the sweaty confines of its public transport system, by far the most extensive in India. In its compartments, people of different castes and communities are forced to share benches and be wedged together in positions of daring intimacy. This is only to be expected when 5,000 commuters are stuffed into trains built to carry 1,800 – a density that the authorities describe as the "super-dense crushload". The commonplace negotiations of the commute – such as the convention of allowing a fourth traveller to sit on a bench built for three, but only on one buttock – force an acknowledgement of other people's needs that characterises Mumbai life.

The Mumbai commute, in addition to being compacted, is very long – for some, it could involve a journey of two hours each way. This has given rise to the institution of "train friends", people who travel in a group in the same section of the same compartment every morning, sharing stories of their triumphs and disappointments and even celebrating their birthdays by bringing in sweets for their companions.

Despite the enormous effort they sometimes entail, the accommodations of the commute are barely perceptible to the outsider. Because of the unavoidable press of bodies at peak hours, women travel in separate carriages – but every so often, couples who cannot bear to be parted or a clueless out-of-town pair will blunder into the "general compartment". When this happens, the other men will strain to provide the woman a millimetre or two of space around her, creating a cocoon in which she is magically insulated from the accidental nudge of limbs and torsos.

This isn't to suggest that life on the rails is all smiles and sunshine. As is to be expected on a long, sweaty journey, arguments do break out, mostly over trivial matters involving the placement of a limb or a bag in awkward proximity to a fellow passenger's face. But these exchanges rarely culminate in fisticuffs. The crowd around the belligerents can be counted on to defuse the tension quickly, usually with the remark, "These things happen. You have to adjust".

Sadly, though, the spirit of compromise so evident on the trains is evaporating on the streets outside. To watch Mumbai traffic in motion is to see the ferocious sense of entitlement in which India's moneyed classes have wrapped themselves. Mumbai's vehicles refuse to give way to ambulances, and honk furiously at old people and schoolchildren trying to cross the street. They never stops at zebra crossings, frequently jump red lights, and routinely come down the wrong way on no-entry streets. Because an estimated 60% of cars are driven by chauffers, more than in most other parts of the world, car owners have the fig-leaf of pretending that they aren't responsible for transgressions they actually encourage. And this sense of self-importance is pandered to by the government's budgetary allocations. Though the vast majority of Mumbai residents use the overburdened public transport system to get around, a disproportionate amount of development money has been poured into road projects.

The city has built approximately 60 flyovers and elevated roadways in recent years – facilities that have paradoxically made the congestion on the roads far worse. As incomes expand, traffic is growing at a rate of 9% a year, with an estimated 450 new vehicles being added to Mumbai's narrow streets every day. As a result, peak-hour traffic crawls ahead at an average of 10kmh – less than half the speed clocked by winners of the city's annual marathon. It merely proves the adage so beloved of planners around the world: "Building more roads to prevent traffic congestion is like a fat man loosening his belt to prevent obesity."

The imbalance so apparent between Mumbai's transport system and its airport seem sure to polarise political attitudes in the city even more sharply. The city's middle classes have become so enamoured of their privatised comforts, they are forgetting that great cities get their reputation not from the access-restricted pleasures they afford the few, but the public amenities that are available to all. The chasm between the elite and the working classes has long been the playground for populist politicians, here and elsewhere. But over the last few years, such divisions in Mumbai have literally been reinforced by concrete. Unless this changes, my city will lose the common ground on which to make common cause."
2014  mumbai  publictransportation  publictransit  transportation  privatization  publicspace  cities  urbanism  urban  nareshfernandes  commuting  class  segregation  exclusivity  community 
february 2014 by robertogreco
One billion slum dwellers - The Big Picture - Boston.com
"One billion people worldwide live in slums, a number that will likely double by 2030. The characteristics of slum life vary greatly between geographic regions, but they are generally inhabited by the very poor or socially disadvantaged. Slum buildings can be simple shacks or permanent and well-maintained structures but lack clean water, electricity, sanitation and other basic services. In this post, I've included images from several slums including Kibera slum in Nairobi, Kenya, the second largest slum in Africa (and the third largest in the world); New Building slum in central Malabo, Equatorial Guinea; Pinheirinho slum - where residents recently resisted police efforts to forcibly evict them; and slum dwellers from Kolkata, Mumbai and New Delhi, India. India has about 93 million slum dwellers and as much as 50% of New Delhi's population is thought to live in slums, 60% of Mumbai."
dharavi  pakistan  islamabad  haiti  port-au-prince  phnompenh  cambodia  informalcity  urbanism  urban  urbanization  cities  bigpicture  photography  newdelhi  pinheirinho  africa  malabo  equatorialguinea  brasil  sãopaulo  nairobi  kibera  mumbai  kolkata  via:lukeneff  kenya  india  slums  brazil 
february 2012 by robertogreco
Tobias Revell / New Mumbai 2045
"In 2045, a synthetic biology research corporation, suspecting that its technology has been leaked, send out a research party to the slum city of New Mumbai to investigate. They find that the appalling living conditions of the city, coupled with the ingenuity and collective knowledge of the residents has spawned huge ingenuity in the synthetic fungi the corporation had been working on.

The residents have adapted the huge fungal structures to absorb sunlight and they use them as living power stations for their homes. They also absorb moisture from the air which can be drained off for consumption. Some of the genetic alterations making the fungi super-strong have even allowed them to be used as structures for living and growing crops on."
urbanism  urban  cities  newmumbai  sciencefiction  scifi  bioconstruction  slums  structures  syntheticbiology  biology  architecture  2045  fungi  mumbai  tobiasrevell 
february 2012 by robertogreco
Nokia: Teddy Bears and Talking Drums -- A Connecting People film - YouTube
"From Rio to Nairobi, Berlin to Mumbai, and everywhere in between, mobile technology continues to change our world in exciting and unpredictable ways. People all over are embracing the possibilities that are emerging from this ongoing revolution, shaping -- and being shaped -- by it in the process. At Nokia, this is what gets us out of bed in the morning."
nokia  technology  mobile  communication  2011  riodejaneiro  brasil  berlin  mumbai  smartphones  personaldevices  change  adaptation  instabiity  identity  socialnetworking  global  local  socialmedia  africa  self  instability  brazil 
november 2011 by robertogreco
URBZ | user generated cities
"…facilitates production & exchange of info, knowledge, ideas & practices towards better cities for all.

We organize participatory workshops, designs adaptable structures & develop web tools for urban communities & practitioners.

User-generated Cities!

URBZ believes residents are experts in their neighborhoods. Their everyday experience of places where they live & work constitute essential knowledge for planning & urban development.

For policy-makers, urban planners, architects & real-estate developers, accessing this knowledge is best possible way to enhance quality & impact of their work. Understanding a locality from point of view of those who inhabit it improves the chances of success of a project at several levels:

identifies local stakes & playersopens multiple communication channelsgenerates new ideas & solutions

provides deep assessment of ground-level situationimproves social impact & environmental sustainabilitylifts up image of project & increases support"
design  technology  culture  architecture  cities  urbz  urban  urbanism  urbanplanning  india  mumbai  goa  nyc  santiago  geneva  switzerland  usergenerated  local  sustainability 
september 2011 by robertogreco
urbanology: bazaarchitecture, streetlife, hoodism, i-city, & more
"The Institute of Urbanology aims at learning from its environment while contributing to its improvement. Its research is intended to be directly relevant to the localities where it works as well as anyone interested in urban development and neighborhood life.

Urbanology is defined as the understanding of incremental developmental processes and daily practices in any given locality through direct engagement with people and places. The institute contributes to the debate on urban development by engaging with local community groups, creating new concepts, implementing projects and recommending strategies and policies.

The Institute sharpened its methodology through years of fieldwork in New York, Bogota, Tokyo, Istanbul, New Delhi, Goa and Mumbai. It has offices in Dharavi, Mumbai and Aldona, Goa. In Dharavi, the Institute studies homegrown practices in the fields of housing, artisanship and trade, and physical and theoretical spaces where these fields converge…"
urbanology  bogotá  mumbai  nyc  tokyo  urban  urbanism  urbanplanning  design  art  culture  architecture  goa  newdelhi  istanbul  dharavi  aldona  economics  ecology  systems  matiasechanove  rahulsrivastava  urbz 
september 2011 by robertogreco
KNOTS: the architecture of problems « LEBBEUS WOODS
"we should not let the lack of a ready answer be a reason to avoid asking a question. Indeed, the only questions worth asking are those for which we do not already have an answer. In this seminar we will not shy away from looking at the most daunting problems.

The approach we will take is based on a way of breaking down—analyzing—problems in terms of three components of every problem we as architects confront: the spatial, the social, and the philosophical. Certainly there are other possible categories we could employ, but I have chosen these based on my experiences and also to work well within the structure of our seminar and its time-frame. The following presentation is an example of how the three chosen categories work in attempting to formulate a particularly intractable ‘knot’ confronting us today: the problem of slums:"
architecture  problemsolving  slums  lebbeuswoods  philosophy  theory  infrastructure  knots  mcescher  stanleykubrick  theshining  cities  poverty  riodejaneiro  sãopaulo  social  society  mumbai  nyc  singapore  manila  design  community  gatedcommunities  wealth  disparity  thomashobbes  human  johnlocke  magnacarta  history  declarationofindependence  capitalism  socialism  adamsmith  socialmobility  communism  karlmarx  marxism  friedrichengels  aynrand  objectivism 
october 2010 by robertogreco
March 8, 2010 - Dharavi District Redevelopment: A Symbol of the Future and a Celebration of Cultural Heritage | The 3rd Teacher
"Education across the globe is transforming from a pedagogy that trains children to be information receptors to a pedagogy that trains future generations to be knowledge seekers. An environment that supports “multiple intelligences” is imperative—it must provide a diversity of teaching and learning spaces to support a wide range of learners. Flow and agility will be intrinsic in these spaces so that the knowledge sharing and relationship between teacher and learner is constantly enhanced."
education  schools  schooldesign  pedagogy  learning  lcproject  design  thirdteacher  india  mumbai  dharavi  reggioemilia  tcsnmy 
march 2010 by robertogreco
The City Is A Battlesuit For Surviving The Future - Future metro - io9
"If you'll excuse the spoiler, the zenith of Hawksmoor's adventures with cities come when he finds the purpose behind the modifications - he was not altered by aliens but by future humans in order to defend the early 21st century against a time-travelling 73rd century Cleveland gone berserk. Hawksmoor defeats the giant, monstrous sentient city by wrapping himself in Tokyo to form a massive concrete battlesuit.

Cities are the best battlesuits we have.

It seem to me that as we better learn how to design, use and live in cities - we all have a future."
design  mattjones  technology  urbanplanning  architecture  urbanism  scifi  postarchitectural  psychology  cities  archigram  comics  urban  future  danhill  adamgreenfield  janejacobs  warrenellis  christopherwren  psychogeography  kevinslavin  detroit  nyc  dubai  mumbai  masdrcity  fiction  film  spacesuits  battlesuits 
september 2009 by robertogreco
Charles declares Mumbai shanty town model for the world | Art and design | The Guardian
"The Mumbai shanty town featured in the film Slumdog Millionaire offers a better model than does western architecture for ways to house a booming urban population in the developing world, Prince Charles said yesterday. Dharavi, a Mumbai slum where 600,000 residents are crammed into 520 acres, contains the attributes for environmentally and socially sustainable settlements for the world's increasingly urban population, he said. The district's use of local materials, its walkable neighbourhoods, and mix of employment and housing add up to "an underlying intuitive grammar of design that is totally absent from the faceless slab blocks that are still being built around the world to 'warehouse' the poor".

[see also: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/feb/06/prince-charles-architecture ]
dharavi  mumbai  india  architecture  design  poverty  slums  sustainability  urban  urbanism  density  economics  politics 
february 2009 by robertogreco
Dharavi: User-Generated City | airoots/eirut
"Why is it that Dharavi exercises so much fascination for architects, urbanists, researchers, students and journalists from all over the world? Is it because it is the “largest slum in Asia”? Is it because it is under imminent threat of being redeveloped? Is it because it is worth billions? Is it because the global media loves to recycle stereotypes of victimhood and third world poverty? These tired clichés and false alarms have filled the news for some time. But it is time to reload our browsers."
mumbai  india  cities  user-generated  usergenerated  dharavi  asia  slums  post-industrial  hybridspace  place  design  architecture  self-development  ingenuity  capitalism  knowledge  wikipedia  growth  typology  streets  authenticity  development 
january 2009 by robertogreco
Archinect : News : Mumbai's Hidden Heart
"A view of Dharavi, the real slum where part of the story of "Slumdog Millionaire" plays out. Via the Los Angeles Times Slideshow and Video

Via Airoots a related post which argues that it makes total sense to understand Dharavi as a self-generating post-industrial city."
mumbai  india  slums  cities  urban  urbanism 
january 2009 by robertogreco

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