4th Holcim Forum in Mumbai, India 2013: Green Workshop group.
4th Holcim Forum in Mumbai, India 2013: Green Mobile workshop - Compact city: This workshop aims at analyzing what differentiations need to be made with respect to specificity of site and society when evaluating the scale and density of a city. Pictured (in cap): Workshop expert, Rahul Mehrotra.
4th Holcim Forum in Mumbai, India 2013: Blue Mobile workshop - Compact city: Mumbai’s economic growth in the late 19th century is directly linked to the rise of its textile industry. Workers lived around each mill in provided housing such as the “chawl”: a midrise block of flats with shared or common balcony space – a distinct form of affordable housing suitable for Mumbai.
4th Holcim Forum in Mumbai, India 2013: Blue Mobile workshop - Compact city: Bhendi Bazaar Muslim community is now overcrowded with many buildings in disrepair. The Saifee Burhani Upliftment Trust (SBUT) has proposed an entire district-scale redevelopment project that maintains the community’s religious and cultural character.
4th Holcim Forum in Mumbai, India 2013: Fernando Diez, Argentina in the Green Workshop group.
Workshop findings presented by Sanjay Prakash.
This workshop reviewed the concept of the compact city and evaluated and criticized the economic, social, and ecological aspects of this typology within the scope of sustainable urbanism.
Moderator: Harry Gugger; Reporter: Sanjay Prakash
Symposium experts: Shlomo Angel, Pierre Bélanger, Gwendolyn Kerschbaumer, Rahul Mehrotra, and Philipp Rode
January 09, 2014 | Green Workshop Report – Foundations 15
Compact city – Sustainable or just sustaining economic law?
The compact city is the only sustainable form of human settlement. This is a popular dogma. In terms of economic growth it is indeed indisputable that density represents a good solution – but does the dogma hold regarding social and environmental aspects too? A workshop at the 4th International Holcim Forum in Mumbai was dedicated to search for answers to this complex question.
There are actually several indications that the densified city is not the most sustainable development form. Studies show that the environmental footprint of a Londoner is greater than that of their rural counterpart. And considering social aspects, the dense city seems to be anything but ideal, particularly for socially disadvantaged groups. It is important not to equate compactness with density – this statement arose time and again during the presentations and discussions of one of the working groups at the 4th International Holcim Forum.
While the dense city seeks merely to pack as many people as possible into the smallest possible area, the requirements of the compact city are more complex: It must provide quality of life, meet the basic needs of residents, and be culturally rich and innovative. With such a list of diverse criteria, there is no universal formula for how compact cities actually work. Every city functions according to its own rules, or in other words: The DNA spawns the organism. This is why the second wave of urbanization currently rolling through India and other developing countries will not lead to the same type of cities that were created during the first wave in the West.
It turned out that answering the question in the title of this workshop was not at all as easy as one might have expected, said Sanjay Prakash, Senior Advisor for the Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS), Bangalore, India, in his presentation of the results. One reason for this was that there was first a heated discussion about a precise definition of compactness. The intangibility of this term eventually led to the question of whether the compact city is an idealized construct of the 20th century. A new understanding of cities is urgently needed because urbanization of the world is advancing – three times faster than in the last millennium.
Led by the two urbanists Neera Adarkar and Prasad Shetty from Mumbai, the workshop participants visited three sites to study the evolving organism of the city. Hiranandani Gardens is a residential neighborhood built on former farm and forest land. Similar projects are being developed in the area – threatening the local lake and green areas.
The Textile Mills District is typical for Mumbai, whose economic growth was once strongly based on the textile industry. Many mills built clusters of factories and employee housing. Each cluster was basically a neighborhood in itself. As the textile mills disappeared, so did the clusters; they are now being replaced by compact high-rise buildings.
The last stop of the mobile workshop was the Saifee Burhani Upliftment Project (SBUT) at Bendhi Bazaar, home of a deeply rooted Muslim community. A nonprofit community initiative is working here on one of the largest urban redevelopment projects in India: 4,000 households, 2,000 businesses, and over 300 buildings are being modernized – without damaging the religious and social structures.See more
April 13, 2013 | Workshop Conclusion
Each workshop had a reporter whose task it was to extract the findings and conclusions of the discussions. These were then presented to the plenum in order for participants of other workshops to gain insights to different aspects of "Economy of sustainable construction".
April 13, 2013 | GREEN WORKSHOP PART 2
Experts and participants continue to collaborate.Rahul Mehrotra, USA: Mumbai: Planning challenges for the compact city (PDF, 3.92 MB) »Pierre Bélanger, USA: Sprawl: A Strategy? From Closed System Dynamics to Open Systems Ecologies (PDF, 324.98 KB) »Philipp Rode, United Kingdom: The Politics and Planning of Urban Compaction (PDF, 352.04 KB) »
April 12, 2013 | Green Mobile Workshop
To praise the compact city as the only sustainable form of human settlement has become a dogma. This workshop aims at analyzing what differentiations need to be made with respect to specificity of site and society when evaluating the scale and density of a city.
Hiranandani Gardens is a large upmarket residential township extending over 100 hectares amidst the Powai hills and beside the scenic Powai Lake. Developed on what was once agricultural and forest land, this suburban area was rapidly developed with modern high-rise buildings that have easy access to shopping, education, business, health, luxury hotels and recreation. Other similar estates have also sprung up in the vicinity which is flanked by a national park and several leading educational institutions that have vast campuses. Today Powai area continues to face rapid development and densification, both of which are a threat to the lake and surrounding green spaces.
Textile Mills District
Mumbai’s economic growth in the late 19th century is directly linked to the rise of its textile industry. The city came to be called the “Manchester of the East”, due to its rapid industrialisation and large working class inhabitants. The textile mills of the time were developed as compact integrated settlements. Workers lived around each mill in provided housing – over time; each cluster evolved a diverse assemblage of economic, social and cultural resources. Most of the mills were in the city’s central districts, and were instrumental in building the current density and urban fabric of Mumbai.
A typical residential style of this period is the “chawl”: a midrise block of flats with shared or common balcony space. Over the years, the chawl progressed to become a distinct form of affordable housing suitable for Mumbai. But like the mills, the chawl too is giving way to high-rise living.
Saifee Burhani Upliftment Project
Bhendi Bazaar is home to the close-knit Dawoodi Bohra Muslim community which first settled here in the 19th century. The area is now overcrowded and most of the buildings are in disrepair. The Saifee Burhani Upliftment Trust (SBUT) has proposed an entire district-scale redevelopment project to transform the congested locality into a modern sustainable neighbourhood yet maintaining the community’s religious and cultural character.
This non-profit community initiative is one of the largest urban redevelopment projects in India. The planned proposal covers 7 hectares, 4000 households, 2000 shops, and over 300 buildings, while conserving all of the existing religious structures. The project will re-settle all current inhabitants into modern units financed by the sale of additional built units, and will improve civic space with wide roads, open spaces, and modern infrastructure.
Mobile Workshop Facilitators: Neera Adarkar and Prasad ShettySee more
April 11, 2013 | Green Workshop Part 1
Experts and participants start to collaborate on the topic of the workshop.Harry Gugger, Switzerland & Gwendolyn Kerschbaumer, Switzerland: The Compact City: Sustainable or just sustaining economic law? (PDF, 658.30 KB) »Shlomo Angel, USA: The Sustainable Densities Proposition (PDF, 475.71 KB) »