Ruthwik Sai Busam
Reflections on My Experience:
In the beginning, it was quite unusual of me to be part of an exploration of urban village as I was more interested in exploring future of cities. Soon to realize, this workshop was nothing short of a phenomenal in terms of learning. I always thought that urban villages were places which got struck in the past and just exist in the city fabric as memories from the past. But once I visited Kishangarh, my opinion completely changed. I soon came to realize that these very urban villages were nuclei which hosted the aspirations of people who moved into Delhi in search of a new livelihood. Lal Dora was nothing short of a utopia which could grow as much as it could and absorb people. As an urban designer, it was a great learning form me to witness visually of how re-densification could be operated and reduce the sprawl that the city experiences. Though there were some issues in the living conditions, Kishangarh was something like a 15-minute compact city, where work-life happens together.
The question of place attachment and the ‘sense of belonging’ was an important area to explore together with the students of Heidelberg and Kathmandu University. After numerous interviews and observation over 3 days of site visit has given us an initial impression of what the soul of this place. Somewhere between ‘home’ and ‘homing’, Kishangarh was witnessing something really fascinating. The actual residents were happy with the influx of migrants and their preference of Kishangarh as an entry point to the city, at the same time looking for alternate places in the city. The migrants who move in are making their own changes to own the place beyond their four walls. This was visible when we were walking through the narrow streets of the village.
Overall, it was a great experience to explore a living change through the lens of different disciplines. There was great exposure to new perspectives of looking at the world around us and of course, a lot of fun! Looking forward to a lot more collaborative learning experience.
Ruthwik Sai Busam is an architect and currently pursuing his Masters in Urban Design (M.Arch) at the School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi. He is interested in exploring the future of urbanism with people and technology as dual protagonists. He believes design is a powerful skill that could augment them both to make our cities livable than ever.