Dharavi, a slum in the heart of Mumbai, is home to approximately one million people, making it one of the largest slums in the world. Next month, Dharavi will house the first slum museum, Design Museum Dharavi. The museum will open February 2016, "creating a place where makers can find potential clients, teach workshops to the rest of the community and take their own practice one step further," the museum page says. In response to Dharavi's population density, the museum will be constantly on the move. Jorge Mañes Rubio, an Amsterdam-based visual artist, along with the museum team, designed a small, flexible structure that can be easily drawn through slums on bikes or small vehicles. The mobile museum will travel in order to host workshops, lectures, exhibitions, and cultural events throughout Dharavi. The team's intentions "are to acknowledge the citizenship of these people, to recognize their equal rights compared to the rest of the city, and promoting a greater exchange between formal and informal economies." "We believe that the objects made in Dharavi could be as valuable as those collected by design museums," said museum leaders, "We want to give these objects a platform to be contemplated and appreciated by makers and locals from Dharavi, the city of Mumbai and the rest of the world. The main mission of Design Museum Dharavi is to challenge our perception of ‘slums, favelas, barriadas, ghettos’ on a global scale." For more information on Design Museum Dharavi, visit the project page here.
Posts tagged with "Slums":
Just a few weeks before the death of Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, the New Yorker published a profile by Jon Lee Anderson (“Letter from Caracas: Slumlord”). The subject of the profile was less Chavez and more a Chavez-era phenomenon, the so-called Tower of David in downtown Caracas. “It embodies the urban policy of this regime, which can be defined by confiscation, expropriation, governmental incapacity, and the use of violence,” Guillermo Barrios, dean of architecture at the Universidad Central in Caracas, told Anderson. Torre David is a 45-story vertical slum that blossomed in an unfinished 1990s office tower developed by banker David Brillembourg. The mini-city of 750 souls that took root in the building’s remnants is notable for its self-made eco-system—there’s a butcher, bodegas, jerry-rigged plumbing, and electricity. Torre David, in the form of a pop-up arepa restaurant, was the subject of an entry at 2012 Venice Biennale by the Zurich-based firm Urban Think Tank (one of whose principals is Alfredo Brillembourg, cousin of the late David) with photographer Iwan Baan and writer Justin McGuirk. The installation won the Biennale’s highest honor, the Golden Lion, and the project is now the subject of a book and film. Despite picking up the Lion d’Or, critiques of the project were immediate and continue to grow. Monica Ponce de Leon, a Caracas native and dean of architecture at University of Michigan, wrote to AN: “What has been left out of the conversation is the really deplorable living conditions of those who inhabit the towers, the socioeconomic forces giving them no choice but to live there, without basic sanitation services, security, or basic rights. Ignored in the debates is the arrogance of a discipline that reconstructs a vernacular cantina for their leisurely enjoyment.”
For a long time in the West there has been a common misgiving that aid is about patronage. The Cooper Hewitt's latest exhibition, Design with the Other 90% : Cities, which opened this weekend at the United Nations Visitor's Center, rebukes this notion by spotlighting communities in the southern hemisphere who are taking the initiative, harnessing local resources to solve their own problems. In the show, designers and architects are tapping into existing currents of change. The clue is in the title, which follows on from the 2007 show Design for the Other 90%, which charted products and work that has been imported into impoverished communities. This latest exhibition—focusing on cities—presents a broad spectrum of solutions to critical issues of sanitation, space, communications, and infrastructure. Sixty featured projects were divided into six sections—Exchange, Reveal, Adapt, Include, Prosper, and Access. The projects were selected primarily for their success, which curator Cynthia Smith puts down to qualities of scalability, transferability, applicability in other locations as well as their positive impact. "What's interesting about so many of these projects is there's real application to what's currently happening," said Smith. She cites Urban Think Tank's Vertical Gym as one example. Intended to mark out a safe public space in a dense urban location, the gym has been designed as a kit of parts so it can be programmed and adapted to the site. The Venezuela-based project has been transformed into proposals for New York City public schools, as well as areas in the Netherlands and the Middle East. While all the ideas are site-specific and responsive to local geography, culture, and scale among other factors, the exhibition also features organizations such as Shack/Slum Dwellers International, which is practicing a horizontal exchange and offering a set of design tools that can be applied to problems in various countries, climates, and situations. "The scale of these problems is growing so rapidly that regional and local municipalities can't keep up with the growth, so you get cross-collaborations," said Smith. "The most interesting designs are the hybrid solutions, where the informal settlements and the formal city meet." Because there has been a dearth of information about this kind of design, Smith says that professors were using the last show's catalogue as a text book, so for this next installment, Cooper Hewitt has developed what they consider to be a tool for the next generation of designers. "We are looking at who is addressing these issues," she said. The Design for the Other 90% now has a social network where designers can upload projects and exchange ideas. The statistics are staggering: one billion people are living in informal settlements around the world, and it's projected that this number will increase to two billion by 2030. These facts are much more powerful when one is exposed to the physical artifacts that are the design solutions: bio-latrines that transform human waste into fertilizer and gas for cooking in Nairobi, floating schools and health clinics in flood-prone Bangladesh; favelas painted with women's faces in Rio, and plastic formwork systems that allow the unskilled to build houses in a day in South Africa. The innovations are astonishing. It is easy to produce a self-congratulatory exhibition about how design can help poorer communities around the world, but Cooper Hewitt's new exhibition demonstrates that approach is moot: these communities are already in the process of redesigning themselves.
Just Architecture. The Van Alen Institute announced that NYC is about to welcome its first bookstore and reading room singularly devoted to architecture, Van Alen Books, located on 30 West 22nd Street. Jeanne Gang of Studio Gang Architects (and one of the two candidates for the next PennDesign Architecture Dean) and architectural historian Anthony Vidler will be presenting their latest books at the opening party scheduled for next Thursday, April 21. Flash Sale Curator. Curbed shows today that there is no boundary for what architects can do. A popular flash sale venue, Gilt Groupe, is having a home products sale today at noon, curated by an architect, Richard Meier. Items up for sale include "a signed copy of Taschen's Meier, a mezuzah he designed for The Jewish Museum of New York, and his Architectonic Menorah," normally sold for $1K! Breathing Times. According to Streetsblog, New York's Times Square, visited by 250,000 pedestrians each day, has become much more breathable since the 2009 installation of pedestrian plazas (find out why Bill Clinton is a fan) on Broadway. Concentrations of two traffic-related air pollutants, nitrogen oxide and nitrogen dioxide, have gone down by 63% and 41%, respectively! Suburban Slumification. Business Insider identifies 18 cities (including a less-than-expected Minneapolis) where suburbs are rapidly turning into slums. In the past, cities suffered crimes and poverty during recessions, while the rich stayed away in their safe suburban havens. But not anymore. Suburban slums are growing five times faster than cities.