«previous pageANALYSIS & PLANNING CATEGORY
MUMBAI: Infrastructure as Architecture
University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
faculty advisor: Anuradha Mathur
Optimizing infrastructure as an urban resource, each component of the proposed water capture system is also a civic space and is strategically located along the existing network of streets, paths and plazas that run between the abandoned quarry and the wetlands. These new urban spaces connect fragmented parts of the existing path network and serve a host of civic, recreational, commercial and social functions while supplying domestic and commercial water for 25,000 people.
Studio Mumbai: The Edge of the Forest
The western edge of the Sanjay National Forest intersects the city of Mumbai, creating one of the largest natural preserves in the world within a major urban area. The opportunities presented by this intersection of wilderness and urbanization intrigued me and so I selected it as a studio project.
Our first task was to select a terrain along this boundary and analyze it using google earth, historical maps and written texts. Followed by a 10 day site visit and a series of lectures and reviews with guest critics, we were asked to situate a design proposal within our chosen terrain.
Given the extreme social and environmental conditions in Mumbai: a city of incredible poverty, thick traffic and air pollution and little or no infrastructure; my challenge was to leverage the edge of the forest by pairing opportunities for preservation and conservation with increased accessibility and social support, to be implemented with under-utilized and un-exploited resources.
The mandate, as I saw it, was to develop a scheme that would support and strengthen local communities, better serve the city-wide population as a major public park and nature preserve, and extend the potential of the national forest management team as stewards of an integrated series of ecological processes currently severed by the existing park boundaries and the limits of its mission.
To serve these civic, social and environmental objectives, I selected the northern-most terrain of the park where the forest edge is closest to the creek system and shrinking mangrove areas of the estuary. Here a mosaic of high-end residential towers interspersed with tarp-roofed villages and informal settlements occupy the terrain between the forest and the sea. The National Forest lands have been quarried extensively for basalt, and the confluence of two watersheds flows directly through the abandoned quarry to the edge of highway.
The Objectives of My Proposal
- To develop a cooperative relationship between new and existing settlements, instead of displacing one for the other, and in turn, to develop a cooperative configuration of new settlements within existing and new wetlands systems, providing an alternative to the current trend of consuming wetland areas with new development.
- To provide basic social services for local residents who currently have no public or private toilets, domestic water or other basic washing facilities.
- To leverage the quarry's position within the watershed to capture and direct monsoon rains for domestic, aquacultural, agricultural and ecological uses.
- To broaden the ecological work of the National Forest by extending its range to the mangroves, connecting them physically and as custodians of Mumbai's fragile wetlands assets.
- To create a recreation area for the National Forest that embraces the history of the landscape and reoccupies the quarried terrain in a new way.
Optimizing Water Systems
My proposal outlines a scheme to optimize the resource of the monsoon rains with the lowest volume of construction, and maximize the utility of the water before releasing it to the mangroves.
Intertwining infrastructure and civic space provides an explicit system of public access and stewardship to support social, ecological and environmental connectivity. The system allows the urban environment to adapt to the wet/dry season, making the most of each season and maximizing water by taking full advantage of the terrain as the seasons change.
Each component of the water-capture system serves a role as a civic space and is strategically located along the existing streets, paths and plazas that run between the abandoned quarry and the wetlands. These new urban spaces connect fragmented parts of the path network and serve a host of civic, recreational, commercial and social functions.
This system accommodates the seasons and encourages sequent occupation of the landscape as water volumes ebb and flow. It is designed to reflect and articulate these changes, that they be better understood and appreciated, as the rising and lowering waters reveal and conceal their nature.
"Fantastic hand graphics, especially the water system section. Very well done."
— 2009 Student Awards Jury