February 11, 2008
Participatory Urban Design & the Future of Alternative Communities
Dharavi is known as Asia’s largest slum. This workshop is an experiment in participatory design. It takes place in one specific part of Dharavi called Koliwada which is a fisher folk community who settled there about 400 years ago. Once on the outskirts of the city Dharavi is now in the center of greater Mumbai. The whole area is going to be redeveloped and the Kolis are interested in getting ideas about how the new development could address their specific needs and history.
The Urban Typhoon workshop is a global experiment in participatory design. It is directly connected to the various communities of Dharavi and its grassroots community groups.
The objective is to produce creative alternatives for the future of a neighborhood threatened by a redevelopment plan of the government as well as a multimedia testimony to the unique spirit of Koliwada. The workshop itself is a joyous and participatory takeover of the neighbourhood. It combines the city’s historic spirit of activism with the celebratory, independent and culturally dynamic traditions that the Kolis of Mumbai have always demonstrated. The plan builds on these impulses in the best traditions of a festive exchange with visitors, guests, strangers and locals of all shades and hues.
The workshop is multicultural, multidisciplinary and multimedia. We invite students, urban planners, architects, designers, artists, sociologists, media artists, political activists, utopists, and other nomads to imagine the future of Koliwada.