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BMW GUGGENHEIM LAB

MARS IN MUMBAI

Prototypes of change developed for the BMW Guggenheim Lab

 

Informal settlements dominate much of the world’s emerging cityscape. The tense social and spatial conditions they bring forth render most urban strategies ineffective. Neither top-down planning, defined by a technocratic approach of ever larger infrastructure, nor bottom-up efforts, in the form of increasingly sophisticated community level projects, seem able to meet the challenges at the scale the developing metropolis demands. Can micro-scale interventions be designed to achieve citywide strategies?

 

This conceptual divide is further exacerbated in Mumbai, where slums that make up two-thirds of the population cut through the entire island city in a sharp spatial divide. Attempts to address the dire challenges from, water security to pollution and severe congestion, are limited to either the formal or informal settlements. MARS Architects has produced a vision for a United Mumbai, the starting point for incorporating informal settlements as fully integrated parts of the formal city.

 

Over the coming weeks, stakeholder meetings will be held at the Guggenheim Lab Mumbai to discuss our ten proposed technologies, from wall systems to transport systems. Follow us as an expanding system of architectural interventions turns slums into sustainable settlements, which in turn become the backbone of a United Mumbai.

 

PART 1: SPI MODEL

The foundation of this project is an in-depth study of Mumbai’s population density. Not merely mapping Mumbai’s infamous conditions in abstract terms but introducing a new methodology that better represents the experience on the ground. The new metric, called the Stacked Population Index (SPI), measures the density of people per amount of available floor surface. Suddenly the true extents of Mumbai’s informal settlements can be observed: a yellow forest of towering densities covers the entire urban landscape. The harsh reality; the city accommodates two thirds of its population on less than a quarter of its residential surface, and yet urban plans for Mumbai mostly ignore their existence.

 

Follow the project: MARS Architects Facebook page

 

Event details: BMW GUGGENHEIM LAB

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Taken on May 12, 2012