DWELL: Protect - Belong

Brent Haynes
The Manchester School of Architecture, Manchester

Project idea

To dwell means to belong to a given place, and places that have a sense of belonging must be protected. There is a difference between a house and a home. There is a difference between a district and a community. This proposal suggests using housing as the infrastructure to protect the indigenous Koliwada community in Mumbai. Connected foundations of shoreline buildings act as a protective barrier/berm for the rising water levels while also providing the necessary infrastructure for a growing community - without damaging the existing urban fabric. Newcomer’s home’s and lifestyle contribute to the peninsula’s future protection and further integrate into a community lifestyle of interaction, participation and belonging.

Project description

Rapid urban growth and growing inequality has created a global crisis in housing that increasingly segregates the rich from the poor, these issues particularly pertain to Mumbai. Though not fully understood, there is a clear and parallel relationship between the size of a city and its level of socio-economic disparity: the larger the city, the less equal it tends to be. Physical and social segregation, which both reflects and perpetuates socio-economic disparity within a city, is a growing concern in cities worldwide - including Mumbai. The long-term success of a city depends on the collective well-being of all its inhabitants. To what extent can architecture support social inclusion and break down spatial segregation within the megacity?

Technical information

Worli Koliwada sits on the northern tip of Worli, one of the seven original islands of Mumbai. Some of the village’s current inhabitants are direct descendents of the Koli that predate the Portuguese, who took control of the islands in 1534. There are nearly 40 koliwadas (fishing villages) in Mumbai, many of which are under threat due to steady declines in annual catch and competing development interests. In a city where land is regarded as the most precious resource, it may only be a matter of time before Worli Koliwada is replaced by more profitable ventures. In 2015, the village was sent a notice from the Slum Rehabilitation Authority to declare 22 plots as slums - the first step in claiming the land for future development. In December 2017, the SRA re-opened this contentious case against the opposition of most locals.

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