Mumbai: When a group of students from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, (IIT-B) were given a problem statement to accommodate a family of six in a 10*10*12.5 ft house in the city, they did not think of cramped space in the densely-populated area of Dharavi, but a ‘3D living space’ that proves to be “reasonably comfortable” for the same family.
“In most of the slums, one can see that there is vertical space available in abundance but not made use of. So we created a mock-house making optimum use of the vertical space with foldable furniture,” said Professor Uday Athavankar at a session on urban management held during the 102nd Indian Science Congress (ISC).
The institute will exhibit the model created by students at an exhibition to be held between January 17 to 19 at the Powai campus.
“We worked on the project for four months and created more than 20 models. Instead of undertaking the regular design concept, we undertook the concept of experiential learning and kept improvising on the 3D models,” said Anulal V S, one of the students who worked on the project.
In a city where 52 per cent of the population lives in slums, Athavankar emphasised that instead of looking at a generic approach like the work undertaken by the Slum Rehablilitation Authority (SRA), there is a need to look at out-of-the-box and affordable solutions that can also be economically viable to people.
“A recent McKinsey report on the city states that 80 per cent of people living here cannot buy or rent a house. While doing our research, we also found that people living in slums wanted to continue living in locations that provided them constant income so they had already conditioned themselves to living with minimal resources. In the mock-house that we created, we have also suggested that the family can rent the upper portion of their house and earn money from it,” Athavankar added.
The other speakers at ISC also stressed on innovation and technology as the key to urban management in the coming years. Professor Bharat Bhushan from the Yashwantrao Chavan Academy of Development Administration, Pune, spoke on the convergence of science, technology and public administration for better management in Indian cities.
“Even though people are educated, 98 per cent of the households in the city do not follow segregation practices. The Municipal Corporation of Navi Mumbai has therefore developed a technology that separates waste and has converted a dumping ground in the area into a garden. There are a number of examples where people have used technology to solve day-to-day problems. It is time we incorporate it in every urban city,” Bhushan said.
Professor K Ramasubramanian from IIT-B presented his project on converting scrap material to bricks that can be used for construction again. “By burning tonnes of coal every year to make bricks, we are just harming the continued…