MARS Architects for the the BMW Guggenheim Lab Mumbai.
An integrated urban vision has been developed that unfolds on the scale of the individual through product and technological developments, but steadily expands to have a city-wide impact on urban efficiency and sustainability. During the year-long project, comparisons between China and India have triggered many discussions. Specifically Shanghai’s expanding skyline, seems to have mesmerized policy makers to look for a planner’s silver bullet, such as another viaduct or sprawling fly-over. In reality, the only denominator the world’s most populated nations have in common is a proclivity for heavy-handed planning solutions. As Mars explains in this video introduction, India’s Prime Minster's ambitions to make Mumbai like Shanghai by 2020 typifies top-down approach, which, though partially successful in China, will be hard to emulate in a democracy, let alone in a metropolis where two-thirds of its population is living in slums, invisibly scattered across its entire cityscape.
Instead, bottom-up strategies have proven to be effective, at least on a local scale. The challenge has been to embrace the vibrance and resilience of informal communities as a starting point for a citywide sustainable vision, aligning the multitude of local efforts with formal networks, connecting different scales, communities and technologies.
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