This is an urban design studio that I am currently teaching at the Faculty of Planning, CEPT University, Ahmedabad. It is an online semester so continue to be in Bangalore. All the 13 students are in their home cities too. There are 7 students from Ahmedabad, 2 from Bhilai, 1 from Mumbai, 1 from Mt.Abu, 1 from Bhopal and 1 from Bangalore. We are learning about the everyday life of these cities, sometimes from walking on the streets and sometimes from watching from our balconies - making field notes, sketches and writing some reflections.
The questions the studio asks are: how are we to make sense of the recent happenings and its consequences? If we have to maintain social distancing in our urban spaces over the coming months, what are the changes we would need to make? How do we design the interface between the built space and the unbuilt space in a way that ensures that there is a seamless flow of activities from the inside to the outside, if need be? Most importantly, how do we learn from this situation in order to bring about transformations that can be partial or complete solutions to both kinds of urban space problems, those which existed before the pandemic and those which came after?
We have a STUDIO BLOG where so far, the output from Week 1, 2 & 3 is shared. These short exercises were followed by a Neighbourhood survey where each student conducted phone/email interviews with family and friends. After this, we began the 'Mapping the Everyday' exercise which included preparing maps showing 'before the pandemic, after the pandemic' scenario; informal vending maps in one's own street; maps showing movement patterns and so on. Then, there was the exercise of 'Activity mapping' which was done in the form of plans and sketch views to show the nature of everyday activities observed at specific locations along the street. Each group then prepared a plan to record how the street works as a public space and proposed interventions that could address some of the problems identified.