Over the course of the Schindler Global Award, we invited people from a diverse range of professional backgrounds to share their experiences and ideas, with special attention to Mumbai and to the role of a student urban design competition. The Schindler Global Award Ceremony takes place on Friday, May 10, 2019.
A city like Mumbai has issues like water management, traffic and transport, pollution, housing – and these are all universal themes around the world. By necessity all kinds of societal things are coming back into urban design and planning, which impact the way people live. The question is how you can influence all these things through design.
Participating in competitions sharpens your mind because you have to clearly focus on what you want and what it takes to make your vison viable. Typically it is tough because you need to do a lot of research and at the same time come with a strong vision to be noticed by a jury.
In cities like Mumbai, achieving sustainability or resilience or inclusion is obviously a huge challenge – it will not happen overnight. It takes a combination of on-the-ground interventions with citywide planning support and national policy support to address large-scale problems.
Competitions can help planning and design students understand they have a higher calling, more than just building buildings. International urban design perspectives can bring into relief levels of questions that often students don’t have an understanding of, including poverty, informality, disaster risk reduction, safety, climate resilience etc. It helps them understand that design at the neighborhood, community, or district scale has an impact on all these dimensions.
Mobility is key to development, no city can function without infrastructure.
The Mumbai Metro was planned years ago, but only started in the past five years. But it should have been done underground. Everything overhead is politicized: what is seen is believed. Politicians treat each infrastructure project as a ticket to re-election and the metro was kept above ground to showcase the progress. We need more farsighted, visionary thinking to take us into the future.
It was inspiring to see the work of the students for the Schindler Global Award, I was impressed with the way they looked at the competition task and the solutions they proposed. We need more of this kind of engagement.