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Design thinking to help fix urban challenges

business Updated: Mar 15, 2013 23:20 IST
Bhavya Dore

Solid waste disposal, shrinking place for pedestrians, disregarded public spaces: India's urban challenges are myriad. But sharper approaches through the paradigm of "design thinking" can be applied to understand and fix these, said speakers at the India Design Forum in Mumbai on Friday.

The forum is a two-day conclave for designers, planners, architects on design related concerns, featuring national and international speakers. "We don't really take care of our roads, forests, beaches, rivers," said Shammy Jacob, of THNK, the Amsterdam School of Creative Leadership, in a panel discussion on "design thinking for India". "How do we get together to take care of our country as a whole?"

Jacob and colleague Dinesh Sonak are at the start of a project to address the problem of waste disposal on railways. "There is a great railway network, but the journey has become less romantic because of the waste generation," said Sonak. "We want to restore the beauty of train journey."

Rail isn't the only mode of transport under siege, mobility overall faces challenges. "Roads have enlarged but pedestrian spaces are being annihilated," said Ton Venhoeven, an Amsterdam-based architect who is also part of an Indo-Dutch collaboration working to make Delhi a sustainable, world-class city. "Grown economies have started the battle against cars… It is very important to be clear that the pedestrian is very important especially in combination with the public transport system."