As many of the older buildings and precincts in the inner city prepare for redevelopment, a four-day workshop organised by voluntary organisation URBZ offers citizens a chance to participate in a debate about what shape that reinvention could take.
As Swiss-born architect Matias Echanove remarks, “The real estate development in Mumbai is top-down where the residents have little say. The workshop is our attempt to make residents reclaim their space and have a say in the way they want the development.”
Geeta Mehta, urban designer and faculty at Columbia University in the US, will be leading a team studying the bazaar — Chor Bazaar, Nul Bazaar, Crawford Market and Bhendi Bazaar.
Mehta is horrified by some of the cluster development proposals. “The real city happens between the building and the road where people of different hues rub shoulders and interact. If you bulldoze these avenues of interaction, you will destroy the city’s fabric,” she says.
Kaiwan Mehta, architect and author of Alice in Bhuleshwar, a book that explores Mumbai’s well-known neighbourhood said: “Clusters of communities or neighbourhoods can be developed in a manner that the social, cultural and economic benefits can be maximised,” says Mehta, who will be guiding a group to “record the biography of the streets of old Mumbai”.