Join Gary Hustwit for an in-depth discussion in this video Mumbai, part of Urbanized.
Well, of course I heard about Mumbai and that it was a nice city. In my heart, I'd always wanted to see it. (train horn) In the village we used to make 10 to 12 rupees a day. Here we make 40 to 50 rupees a day. We thought we could make more and save more here.
That's why we came here. In the villages they only teach you how to read and write. It's not enough to give you a chance at a better life. It would be great for our kids to have a higher education and computer training. We think it would be nice to have a home of our own.
If somehow we earn and save enough money someday. You're going to see over the next 20, 30 years huge movements of people. The problem is that there's no space for growth in this lands. So then, as it has happened in this case, the city grows over it.
The politicians and city authority in Mumbai have in the last five or ten years suddenly discovered what my friend [unintelligible] calls the new weapons of mass construction, which is infrastructure. We constructed our first skywalk at Bandra East, towards BKC, that is Bandra Kurla Complex, which is a business district in the vicinity. A lot of people come from far and wide to work here. It was constructed in 2008, in a small period of about four and a half months.
So, prior to that, people were getting down at Bandra Suburban Rail Station and would work their way through a lot of congestion around the station, a lot of hawkers, a lot of shops. So, we wanted to provide a safe and comfortable walk for the pedestrians. And to basically decongest the station areas. About 1,000,000,000 today are using the skywalks. So, overall people are very happy, especially the pedestrians.
The skywalks that they've deployed in Mumbai are probably the most ridiculous kind of design solution that's attempted. There's a huge irony here because the columns of these skywalks are so large, they occupy the sidewalks that exist below and then what they create above is a skywalk which is the width of the sidewalk that's on the ground. So, it's like just elevating the sidewalk. So, people from the former city, from the Bandra Kurla commercial center can go to the railway station, avoiding the slum completely, which otherwise they have to navigate.
You're not dealing with the fundamental issues. You're not looking at transforming things that can improve a quality of life of the bottom 30 percent. Because it requires care. It requires negotiation. It requires ways to appease different political processes. Putting skywalks is easier. Pu, pu, pu, pu. You just put it on top. Until you raise standards for the poor, no amount of progress will ever be enough.
Unlike many other fields of design, cities aren't created by any one specialist or expert. There are many contributors to urban change, including ordinary citizens who can have a great impact on improving the cities in which they live. By exploring a diverse range of urban design projects around the world, Urbanized frames a global discussion on the future of cities.
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