Faizan Jawed Siddiqui, a young architecture graduate, has used his Norman Foster travelling scholarship to make a film which shows how travelling can be improved and made cheaper with a little imagination.
The film shows men and women cycling through Europe and the BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) in Latin America with its special bus lanes and wide footpaths that has made the poor more mobile. It has been made by Drishtikon Mediaworks in collaboration with Ashok Mundkur and Himanshu Upadhyaya.
Faizan, a graduate of the Rizvi College of Architecture, screened the film at the 11th international conference on human habitat, organised by his college in Bandra last week. Rizvi is the only architectural institution that has been annually conducting an international conference on architecture with emphasis on improving the life of the common man, thanks to the initiative by its director, Akhtar Chauhan.
Martina Spies of the University of Vienna presented a socio-economic profile of the Dharavi slum based on fieldwork done along with students of the college. Presentations were also made by a number of other architects including Abha Narain Lamba, Ashish Ganju, Harshad Bhatia, Jagdeep Desai, Vineet Nikumbh. There were architects from Iran, Britain and the Czech Republic too.
Pushkar Kanvinde of Pune supported Lamba's call for saving our heritage by pointing out that a people's movement could make a huge difference. He cited that in Pune, 53,000 objections were filed by concerned locals to a government notification and helped save hills from being vandalised by builders.
In Mumbai, 14 acres of precious land has been allotted for an indoor cricket academy in the Bandra-Kurla complex. A visit to the site located next to the diamond market, proves that the academy is only a small part of the complex that is essentially a luxury club which uses only imported goods.
Sharad Pawar, BCCI boss and Union Agriculture Minister, recently inaugurated the lush green premises. Membership to the club is Rs 20 lakh (plus taxes) for corporates and Rs 12 lakhs (plus taxes) for individuals. There will be annual outgoings as well. The indoor academy is not open to members and cannot be viewed through the closed glass door. The club would be justified if the premises is opened to the aam janta for hosting bashes for free since it is on public land reclaimed through public money.