United Mumbai Panel System (Design Project)

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A city’s efficiency can be measured by its levels of accessibility. An initial assessment of this aspect of city life can be made through a simple inquiry: how long does it take to reach a certain public facility, or to commute from home to work? In the case of Mumbai, how much time is a certain public resource available during the course of a day? Yet that alone is not the sole criteria—efficiency should also be measured in terms of flexibility. How much public space is available for functions other than working and living? How much space is there where social life can blossom, and equally, where privacy can be found? Every city, like society itself, exists as a balancing act between public and private interests, between centralized and localized efforts relating to issues such as accessibility. That equilibrium similarly applies to investments, space allocation, infrastructure, and resources.

The United Mumbai Panel System (designed by Neville Mars) is a participatory design project that can be experienced at the main Lab site at the Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum. The project provides a forum for stakeholders and local community members to discuss and analyze the fine balance between the public and the private, and collectively draw up a new plan for a  “United Mumbai”—the city-to-be that addresses the needs of all its citizens. The mechanism for this conversation involves a series of panels divided into themed sections—such as infrastructure, resources, and public space—superimposed on maps of Greater Mumbai. By overlaying the different panels on top of each other, visitors can examine and discuss what it would take to build a comprehensive and efficient urban network for the future of Mumbai. Over the course of the Lab's stay in Mumbai, visitors and participants to the “Meet in the Middle sessions will also jointly form an action plan for collaborative planning—a memorandum of a United Mumbai. 

This work was created by Neville Mars in connection with the BMW Guggenheim Lab project, a project of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

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