Bottom-up is the way forward

Showcasing new and innovative city developments. Photo: Bhagya Prakash k.  

What would you want to change or to preserve in Bengaluru to make it an ideal city? What kind of future do you envision for the city? In an endeavour to give voice to citizens’ concerns and get them to contribute their ideas to a more inclusive city, NextBangalore, MOD Institute and Goethe-Institut/ Max Mueller Bhavan have organised an exhibition Weltstatd-Who creates the city? The exhibition seeks to find ways of initiating a bottom-up development, vis-à-vis top-down development, which is the norm for most modern cities. The exhibition is being held at a temporary space, NextBangalore Gatishil in Shantinagar. “The exhibition documents a project that ran last year in 16 cities, worldwide,” explains Per Brandt of Goethe-Institut. “One of the cities was Bengaluru. It was organised by all the Goethe Instituts with local partners of the respective cities. The idea was to showcase new and innovative bottom-up city developments. There was also a conference held earlier this year, where people from Bengaluru and from other cities gathered to discuss this topic.”

The exhibition has large-sized panels with text which documents how factoring the people’s vision for the city contributes to better urban design. At one corner of the exhibition are photographs by AJ Sharma of a Bengaluru in transition and in various stages of construction. The focus essentially is on construction workers. Although they contribute significantly to the creation of the city’s landscape, they are often marginalised and ignored. There also are interviews with construction workers, revealing their stories of migration and how they engage with the city. It is a telling account, making one stop and take stock of the nameless faces that labour each day to build a city, for whom, they call “computer-computer people.”

On the other end of the exhibition are a series of questionnaires pinned on a soft board. In these, citizens have answered specific questions on their vision of a future Bengaluru. The responses range from traffic management and housing to waste management.

Tile von Damm, of MOD Institute says the city is just not growing in terms of population, but also in size. “Since the city is growing on such a large scale, we are looking at if we can find solutions for small entities. It is also important to talk to people to really understand the city,” says Tile.

NextBangalore was started last year, by Bengaluru-based MOD Institute and NextHamburg from Germany. The goal of Nextbangalore is to create a future urban citizens’ vision for Bengaluru, through crowd sourcing of ideas from citizens. Markus Ewald, from Next Network, says the exhibition is one among the many endeavours of Nextbangalore to crowd source ideas from the people themselves to find solutions for the city. “We started a website with a simple question of what people would want to change or preserve in the city.”

“Through NextBangalore, we want to create a comprehensive plan for the city,” says city-based architect and co-founder of MOD Institute, Naresh V. Narasimhan.

“We want to include the voices of the people, and focus on a development of the city that is people-driven.” Naresh adds that they intend to take push-carts around the city to get to know what the common man wants his city to be like. “We have started this at Shantinagar, first,” says Naresh.

The exhibition is on till December 19, from 2 pm to 6 pm at NextBangalore Gatishil Space, Rhenius Street (opposite the Hockey Club), Shantinagar, and at the Goethe Institut/Max Mueller Bhavan, from December 15 to December 19, from 2 pm to 6 pm. Next Wednesday, there will be an event on artistic interventions in public spaces, in which Indian artistes will make presentations on this topic.

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Printable version | Apr 15, 2021 8:06:18 AM |

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