One of Mumbais high-density zones,C Ward,has been chosen as a subject of study by a group of students from the College of Architecture at the Chicago-based Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT). The group,in association with students of the Sir JJ college of Architecture and Rizvi College of Architecture at Bandra,is working on a self-sponsored plan to design redevelopment of the area.
Eighteen students from Chicago were in the city last week to survey and analyse the C ward site. For the next four months,they will work on the redevelopment project back home in the USA.
Students from JJ and Rizvi colleges assisted IIT students in helping them understand not just the physical aspects of the area,but also the cultural ethos of the Indian community residing there. The visiting students experienced a socio-cultural shock. Though Chicago and Mumbai are quite similar with respect to high density of population,standard of living,traditions,etc.,differ drastically. When it comes to redevelopment,the local interests need to be kept in mind. The IIT students were very keen on studying Mumbai,especially the C Ward as part of their assignment, said Rajiv Mishra,principal,JJ College of Architecture.
All the observations that the Chicago-based students made through their interaction with the residents of the C Ward,will be considered while working on the redevelopment plan.
Sonam Ambe,fourth year student of JJ College student who was part of the project,said: The C Ward is characterised by its closely-built structures,extremely narrow lanes,dilapidated buildings,haphazard garbage disposal,water shortage etc. Besides,its has a rich culture of festival celebrations and heritage buildings. We explained to the foreign students about problems like shortage of water and electricity and the significance of festivals like Ganpati,Diwali,Holi which are celebrated outdoors.
All the students were divided into six groups which handled six different agendas including schools,recycling waste,art and culture,health and cottage industries. While the IIT students were of the opinion that building tall structures would help accommodate more people and create open spaces for social gatherings,they were also concerned about tackling water and electricity shortage,Ambe said.
Incidentally,the Chicago-based students were supposed to come for the project in December last year,but they had to postpone their visit due to the 26/11 terror attacks.