JUGAAD URBANISM: Resourceful Strategies for Indian Cities At the Center for Architecture, NYC until MAY 21, 2011
A friend put me on to the opening night of this exhibit last week, which featured a jamming, Desi-soul-filled, band called Red Barat—catch them if you can!
The exhibition featured some very practical demos of sustainable methods for material reuse in architectural design (like oil cans turned into a tent canopy with built in solar-powered lighting for outdoor gatherings), and more symbolically interesting concepts like modular housing walls (kind of Ikea-esque) for people who live in alleys—pragmatic perhaps, but not necessarily a systemic solution to the problem of private property laws and homelessness. While not groundbreaking in itself, I loved the water filtration system designs on display, because the need is exceptionally universal, and the answer quite easy. Given that water is the most valuable precious commodity on the planet, replicable, easy-to-construct water filtration is indispensable.
And composting toilets are good too, even the porcelain squat kind, I think, would be better than other varieties. There was one squat-composter, sans porcelain drainage, I used in Costa Rica, and let’s just say…not designed with a woman in mind. Oh yeah, on to the exhibit synop:
“JUGAAD URBANISM: Resourceful Strategies for Indian Cities”: Set in the radically uneven urban landscapes of Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Pune, India, Jugaad Urbanism explores how the energy of citizens “making-do” is translated by architects, urban planners, and governmental and nongovernmental entities into efficient and inventive strategies for sustainable urban growth. From energy generating spinning wheels to the extensive skywalks of Mumbai – the exhibition highlights how “jugaad” interventions (a term in Hindi used to describe an innovative, resourceful approach) are challenging traditional spatial hierarchies and mechanistic planning principles.
The work of Indian artists, including Raqs Media Collective, will also be included in the exhibition, offering insights into the complex and oft cited “messy” urbanism of India.
Curator: Kanu Agrawal