Indian Slum Experiment Tests Efficacy of Guerrilla Urban Planning

An experiment in community participation conducted by a multinational group of architects, planners and artists in south Delhi tests the efficacy of guerrilla neighborhood planning methods in the developing world.
November 17, 2010, 11am PST | Emily Laetz
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Through their experiment, dubbed 'Urban Typhoon', urbanologists Matias Echanove and Rahul Srivastava aim to breathe new life into a dilapidated slum in south Delhi. This effort in guerrilla urbanism has proven to be considerably more difficult within the context of a developing nation, largely due to a lack of formal communication mechanisms and a population that is migrant.

The recent collapse of a building in another part of Delhi has brought attention to widespread, systematic problems with construction code compliance and delivery of services in the city and in other large urban areas with large concentrations of poverty and neglect. Echanove and Srivastava view art as a way to get people from very different walks of life to talk to each other about these common problems that are faced by all members of the community. Urban Typhoon seeks to promote discourse regarding the slum area and its needs through artistic endeavors such as community videomaking and activities for children.

" 'Once the connection is established, many things can happen,' said Mr. Echanove, who is originally Swiss but has lived in Mumbai for four years. Along with Mr. Srivastava, who lives in Goa, the two are part pf a group called Urbz, hat attempts to promote 'user-generated cities."

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Published on Tuesday, November 16, 2010 in The Wall Street Journal
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