Why official planning does not work in hyper dense areas in india
To zone or not to zoneWhy official planning doesnt work in hyper dense areasThe applicability of contemporary strategies of urban planning is under increasingscrutiny when it comes to dealing with equitable housing in swelling cities. Thereis a growing awareness of the limitations of urban planning, as we know it. A firststep towards new strategies is recognising that the chaotic urbanism of informalsettlement holds lessons of how cities can be built without zoning or regulation.Studying such areas offers a tabula rasa in thinking city planning. A useful case tostudy user generated urbanism is in informal settlement area. It shows both thepower of informality and the counterproductive effects of zoning in hyper denseareas. To get a sense of what density means in informal settlements, we needsome figures. In developed countries, well known dense cities are New York City(10,500 p/km2) and Tokyo (14,000) . Estimations of the density in informalsettlements show figures that reach from 300,000 to over 400,000 p/km2, whichis more than ten times that of Cairo (31,600), world’s densest city. Consideringthat in swelling cities often over 50% of urban population lives in informalsettlements, while occupying only 5% of the land, it is clear that overwhelmingdensities are found widely and that as a result, the pressure on open space isenormous.Photo 1. Big open public space found in informal settlement area, hosting a cricket match.
Photo 2. The surrounding houses double as tribunes.The presence of wide open public space is probably not the first that comes tomind when imagining the effects of high population densities. Miraculously, wideopen spaces do exist in informal urbanism. They serve many purposes, such ascricket ground, community gathering and playground for all. Obviously, there isthe everlasting threat of newcomers who seek a place to put up a shelter.However, somehow against that incoming tide of squatters, communities manageto keep space open.
Photo 4. Public gathering in a squatter area.One of the secrets behind surviving in such very high densities lies in themultipurpose use of both public and private space. The recipe for successfulmultipurpose use is to rely on the power of informality. It is typical that mostwesterners who visit extreme dense areas for their first time, point at the lack ofzoning in the streets. They claim that sidewalks are needed to make traffic safer,that curbs would help, as would separate lanes for hand carts. It is the planner’smind that, in the name of ‘order’, introduces all kinds of obstacles in public space,forcefully introducing formality. What they apparently do not see is that zoningitself is space consuming. By allotting space to specific activities, that space isrendered useless for other activities that take place at different moments in time.Only non-designated space can be used all day long, meeting needs exactly whenthey occur.Photo 5. Informality at its best: user generated zoning.There is an interesting parallel between urban design and the design of rooms inhousing. In western housing design, rooms are designed for a specific use.Rooms get a function and are named after it. Bed room, study, kitchen, livingroom, etcetera. This segregation leaves many rooms unused for most of the time,much unlike the traditional Japanese house in which the function of the roomchanges during the day. By changing futons and furniture, the room is adapted towhat is needed. The key to traditional Japanese design is the creation of an openplan. Everything can change as no elements are fixed, even walls can move bymeans of sliding partitions. When everything is moved to the side, a smooth,obstacle free floor is all that remains.On a more detailed scale, furniture is a similar institutionalisation of use. Theintroduction of chairs and a table reduces the use of a room to sitting around atable. The absence of furniture makes it possible to use a room for whatevercomes up. Especially chairs are indicative for this phenomenon. In smallerhomes, chairs are often the first item no longer to be found. Sitting can be doneon the floor or on a bed doubling as a sofa.It is exactly this concept of a smooth obstacle free floor that is the most
successful formula for multipurpose use of public space. Activities and thenumber of people involved in them change throughout the day, as do the areasoccupied by them. By leaving the boundaries between activities unmarked, theseboundaries can freely move to an optimum.Photo 6. Use of the street around 10am. Few people and little traffic.The daily routine on an average main road could look like this. In early morning,the street is relatively empty. Commuters walk to the railway station, buying atake away drink from early vendors. Waste collection is present as always.Busses and cars drive by. By ten o’clock, shopkeepers start opening theirbusiness. Some street vendors start exhibiting their merchandise. Around 11 am,road traffic is increasing. Pedestrian presence slows the trucks and busses down.Noon. As the tropical heat is increasing, pedestrians and vendors leave the scene.Car traffic becomes predominant. Between 3 and 4 pm, vendors take over thestreet again, this time en masse and hold their ground till 10 pm or later.Meanwhile Muslims do their prayers, thus creating a temporary open air mosque.Taxis drive by all day and continue all night.
Photo 8. Around 6pm. The street is converted into a marketplace.Photo 9. Friday prayers. Part of the street is converted into a mosque.All activities claim space, put pressure on other activities and then later allowothers to take over space again. This flow in the use of space is most efficientwhen it is not hindered by physical markers such as curbs, fences, boulders, oreven walls. Moreover, such street furniture items can be counterproductive indensely used areas, as they mainly split the ever-moving zones of activitiesrather than limit them to the intended space. In Rahul Mehrotra’s terms, thestatic city is at odds with the kinetic city here (1). The static city is the physical
city as it is built; the kinetic city is made by the events that take place in a city.Ideally, the static and the kinetic city are in harmony.Photo 10. Counterproductive zoning. The fence on the curb inhibits pedestrians returning to thesidewalk.Especially fences on curbs along the sidewalks show how informal forces overridethe intentions of planners and urban designers. Such fences are designed to keeppedestrians on the sidewalk and to reserve the road for motor vehicle traffic. Thesidewalk however is the realm of shopkeepers, street vendors, and theircustomers and can be so crowded that non-customers prefer to walk on the otherside of the fence. Once there, it is hard to return to the sidewalk, making thewhole scene less safe than without the fence.
Photo 11. Counterproductive fixed zoning. Passengers at this busstop have to wait at the trafficside of the fence, as otherwise they cannot enter the bus.Photo 12. User generated rezoning. Street vendors using the fence as an ideal backing, knowingthat the traffic is what brings customers.In addition, this parallel flow of pedestrians is seen by street vendors as potentialclientele, so the vendors pick a spot on the road side of the fence. Moreover, thefence provides a nice backing. Thus a second lane of vending activities is created,reinstalling the informal multipurpose use of space, squeezing the vehicle trafficspace even further than would have been the case without the fence. In anattempt to make the fence (i.e. zoning) effective, authorities have declared streetvending illegal. Policemen have a tough job enforcing this ban as they are highlyoutnumbered by their targets. As soon as a raid starts, the news spreads likewildfire. Vendors pick up their merchandise quickly and hide it behind a tree, alamppost, in the subway or even in the shop of a friend legal shopkeeper. Afterten minutes, when the police have left the unlikely empty street, vendors put uptheir business again and continue as usual.The issue here is the incredible density of people. Of course zoning and planningdo work, as long as capacities meet the numbers. When congestion occurs,people start looking for shortcuts and challenge the planned zoning and formalityas a whole. Shortly the cure (zoning) becomes worse than the disease, especiallywhen zoning is embedded in physical objects. As we have seen, physicallymanifested zoning of use is space consuming and for that reason a problem whendealing with hyper densities. The kinetic city is very much an alive thing, as it iscapable of permanently adapting itself to the context. This ongoing adaptationmarks the efficiency of user-generated zoning in informal settlement. In fact thedifference between formal zoning and user generated zoning is the use of time,the use of the fourth dimension. It is what allows space to be used 24/7.New strategies should give a significant role to informality. It is time to overcomethe limitations of 20th century urban planning and enter the realm of Post-Cartesianism. A clear invitation to come and see the wonders of informalurbanism was sent by Alfredo Brillembourg and Hubert Klumpner in thedocumentary Caracas, The Informal City (2). Klumpner says about Caracas: “But
why do I feel as a European that this city is a total chaos? I think it is a typicalresponse. There is a myth that the city is ordered and that myth exists in cityhalls around the world. The reality is however, that the city has always beenchaotic. In Caracas all these forces stream freely and have produced new formsof city that are not known to us.”1 Rahul Mehrotra, ‘Kinetic City, Issues for Urban Design in South Asia’. In:Shannon, Kelly and Gosseye, Janina (eds.), Reclaiming (the urbanism of)Mumbai (Amsterdam, SUN Publishers, 2009) pp. 141-9.2 Rob Schröder, Caracas, The Informal City. Documentary for VPRO televisionThe Netherlands,http://tegenlicht.vpro.nl/backlight/Caracas-the-informal-city.html1 comments Links to this postEmail ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookCorrugated SteelEmblematic for the other architecturePhoto 1. Mexican restaurant in Ebisu, Tokyo, Japan. A welcome natural look between theaverage contemporary but sterile architecture. Corrugated steel in all its splendour.Corrugated steel is probably the most iconic of all building materials used insquatter settlements. It is a versatile product as it is strong, watertight, easy tocut, and above all cheap. To many of us, corrugated steel may look ordinary andsimple but it is exactly this simplicity which makes it such a brilliant invention.The core of it all is, needless to say, a steel sheet with a thickness of only 1 mm.Such a sheet can be bent or folded in any direction, as a flat sheet has limitedstiffness. It is the corrugation which adds the typical structural character. Acorrugated steel plate can easily be bent in one direction, whereas at the sametime it is very rigid in the other direction.
The production of steel plate is straightforward. Solidified steel bars are rolleduntil they have the required thickness. Cutting is as easy as cutting paper. Thencomes corrugation which requires the most basic of all machines. Let’s say that aclassic machine has gear wheels. A corrugation machine would consist of twogear wheels only, nothing more than that. Turning one wheel will automaticallyturn the other wheel . By feeding a flat steel plate between the two wheels, aregularly corrugated steel plate will appear on the other side of the wheels. Theprocess is beautifully simple.The resulting wave form sheets are excellent for roofing. Due to their stiffness thesheets need limited structural support. Much like ceramic roof tiles, a limitedoverlap of sheets will result in a water tight roof. The corrugation preventsleakage to the sides of the sheets.
Photo 2. Corrugated steel in detail, thin like a curtain. Corrosion is typical for re-used sheets.Steel and water are not exactly friends, which is why steel plates corrode. Toavoid this corrosion, steel plates are bathed in molten zinc, a process calledgalvanising. The zinc keeps the water out and even inverts the corrosion processof steel. Zinc has self healing properties in case of damage of the zinc layer, be itto a certain extent. Galvanised steel can therefore not be bent, under pain ofcorrosion. This is probably why recycled corrugated steel sheets have a limitedlife, as in the process of demounting, they are often bent more than is advisable.
Photo 3. Temporary housing for road construction workers. Alibag, Mumbai, India.The use of corrugated steel for housing has certain drawbacks. Due to itsthinness, it has zero insulation capacity, leaving the interior virtually fullyexposed to the fierce tropical sun. In the rainy season steel roofs are extremelynoisy. It means that corrugated steel creates comfort problems all year round.This is probably why in Mumbai the use of corrugated steel is limited to thetemporary housing of construction workers on building sites. Such housing isoften provided by the construction company, in which case it is the easiest (i.e.cheapest) material to use. Those people who create their own shelter apparentlyprefer other materials than corrugated steel. It is something to consider inrehabilitation projects too.
Photo 4. The architecture of the other end. Sheets made in mass production, thought of as asystem of repetition, applied in a system-less order.As the production process is so simple, corrugated steel is ideal for massproduction. By its form, it is ideal for covering large surfaces such as roofs andfacades, as that would require the least of handling per sheet. This is whatdistinguishes the architecture of settlements from architectural design. The lattermost of the times is an attempt to make something special with materials bestused in a system of endless repetition which fails where it meets other systems ,whereas settlers are inventive in making something unique with individual sheets,not hindered by any system at all.The emblematic value of corrugated steel in squatter settlements lies in the factthat it is indicative for the poorest ways of creating shelter and for the poorestways of offering relief.4 comments Links to this postEmail ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookRemovalThe only way is: up?
Photo 1. Slum rehabilitation in Andheri West, Mumbai.A library of considerable size could be filled with all that is written about slumrehabilitation. A seemingly endless number of studies, schemes, plans, proposals,surveys, scenarios, evaluations, and elaborations are made by a similarly endlessline of planners, developers, urbanists, architects, authorities, slum lords,students, social experts, economists, engineers, real estate investors,associations, communities, contractors, governments, NGO’s, and so on. Thephenomenon is thus big that books (1) are written about it as such, in a varietyof qualities (2).
Photo 2. Apartment block towering over Thirteenth Compound, Dharavi, Mumbai.There is little use in coming up with another plan here. Nor is it doable to explainall strategies being used. This chapter will be limited to how people move frominformal settlements to housing and back(!). A short abstract on the mechanismsof rehabilitation is inevitable though.Slum forming is the result of mass migration into the city combined with too shortsupply of proper housing. Migrants create their own shelter on whatever space isavailable, turning the city into a vast campsite. The scale of it leads to incredibledensities, leaving little space for the development of adequate housing. Replacinginformal settlements by houses, requires a strategy of removing settlers to atemporary location, clearing the land, building new housing, and relocating thesettlers into the new building.Photo 3. Transit camps in Andheri West, Mumbai.Temporary locations are called transit camps. These transit camps appear in avariety of forms. Some look like stacks of cabins, others mimic apartment blocks.One area in Dharavi, the New Transit Camp, was mainly a handing out of parcelsof land allowing people to restart their dwelling-career. By now it is an area ofcertain urban quality as the inhabitants were able to generate their own housing,upgrading it bit by bit, backed by security of tenure.
Photo 4. Stages of planned redevelopment. Slum on the right, transit camp on the left,construction and relocation in the background. Andheri West, Mumbai.Photo 5. The demolition of abandoned slum reveals its inner structures. The soil contains anarchaeology of the recent past.
Photo 6. As every boy in the world knows, construction sites are perfect playgrounds.Photo 7. Incremental development (left) and planned redevelopment (high-rise) in Dharavi,Mumbai.The landscape of Dharavi is permanently changing. In the sea of informalsettlements many upgraded houses appear in the user generated process ofincremental development. It is a natural process in which end-users change andadapt their environment directly. And thus it will deal will the issue of too highdensities as well. It guarantees that every unique need gets its own uniquesolution. It is the process by which the much loved organic downtown citiesthroughout the world have evolved. The crucial thing is: this humane process
cannot be hastened.Probably it is the subtlety of this generating process that leaves many using theword slum for areas that are beyond that poor early stage. Moreover, it isspatially intertwined and gradual in time, making it harder to distinguish andappreciate the qualities of incremental development.Photo 8. Planned redevelopment in Dharavi.Meanwhile some larger areas are cleared for planned redevelopment and filled inwith apartment blocks. More and more blocks are shaping the skyline. As long asthere is a piecemeal approach in this kind of development, it has the possibility ofadapting and mitigating the worst side effects of high-rise.
Photo 9.Babasaheb Ambedkar Nagar, Parel, Mumbai. Four blocks of low cost housing for formerslum dwellers, flanked by high-end apartment blocks and office high-rise.Building high-rise blocks too close to each other is where many a solution isbecoming an enhanced version of the original problem. The cause lies in thescheme by which the project is financed. Authorities allow developers to createprofitable high-end housing in exchange for providing housing for the poor, freeof costs. This scheme is popular among developers and works quite successful inthe sense that it is producing a lot of low end housing. It goes without saying thatthe land used to create the free housing for the poor, is kept to a minimum. Bycreating lots of floor area (the essence of high-rise building) the available livingspace per capita is forced up to the legal minimum. Still the density in terms ofland per capita is problematic and sometimes even worsens. Amenities such asinfrastructure, transport, commerce, schools, utilities, and qualities like daylightand fresh air are all heavily over utilised.
Photo 10. Babasaheb Ambedkar Nagar seen from Parel railway station, Mumbai. A recipe forvertical slum.Huge blocks are built only 10 feet apart. The effects on the quality of living aredramatic. Dwellings in the centre of such three dimensional compounds enjoylittle daylight and near to no natural ventilation. Not to mention the lack ofprivacy and the absence of psychological relief by a view from the window. Inaddition, the images of newly built fresh painted condominiums are deceiving assuch no-revenue projects come with a standard lack of maintenance and thuspauperize in a short time. Living on one of the higher floors will inevitably turnout troublesome as elevators are not maintained either, which is a well knownreason for not building higher than four or five floors for low income housing.Buildings offering such living conditions are often rightfully categorised as verticalslums. They are the planned version of the City of Darkness (3), the KowloonWalled City in Hong Kong which was at its peak in the 1980’s home to some35,000 people on a footprint of only 100 x 200 meters.The problem of high density is the problem of too little land per capita to beginwith. Adding much floor area per capita to it, is of limited help as necessaryamenities will claim space outside the building as well. In fact the effectiveness ofsaving land by adding more floors decreases dramatically between five to tenfloors (4) . The popular belief that high-rise is the cure for high populationdensities, is a myth. As long as there are too many people in an area, theresimply are too many people in that area, no matter what fancy way they arepacked or stacked.
Photo 11. On the threshold in space and time: brand new housing meets the slum it will replace.A fair way of grading development strategies is to look at the interaction betweenuser and building.Only when people contribute, upgrade and improve, the building is a success.As long as people maintain it, the building is satisfactory.As soon as it pauperizes, the building is unsatisfactory.When people move out often, it is a failure.It is therefore no surprise when inhabitants of rehabilitation projects choose tosell their condo and return to informal settlements. It is a practice often frownedupon, and a show of healthy common sense.Notes:(1) Mike Davis, Planet of Slums, London: Verso, 2006.(2) Planet of Slums gives an overview of the many programs carried out throughout the worldand is a useful book in that way. The downside of the book is its slash-and-burn prose. Not asingle program is critiqued positively, not even the demonstrably successful ones. AlthoughDavis presents a plausible analysis of the course of events that led to immense slum forming,he refuses to even hint at a possibility of a way out. He thus takes an easy position. Too easy.(3) Greg Girard, Ian Lambot, City of Darkness, Life in Kowloon Walled City, WatermarkPublications, 1993.(4) Charles Correa, lecture for Urban Typhoon Dharavi Mumbai, 18th March 2008.0 comments Links to this postEmail ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookSoapProducing clothes in high quantity is one thing, washing them all is another.Mumbai’s textile industry plays a major role in its economic history. Theproduction of textile in India was boosted by the American Civil war (1861-1865),which interrupted cotton supplies from America to Europe. Great Britain, as thecolonizing power in India, was the liaison between Europe and the rising Indiancotton and silk industry. Ever since has the textile industry dominated Mumbai’sdevelopment. Many of the old mills are closed now, but the industry is stillpresent throughout the city. A very common sound heard when walking Dharavi,
is that of the sewing machines. An endlessly ongoing ‘rrrrrrt… rrrrrrt… rrrrrrrrrrrt’,is the invisible signpost of the ubiquitous workshops.(Click photo to enlarge)A familiar sight in Mumbai is the Dhobi Ghat, the open-air laundry. Big ones arelocated near Mahalaxmi Station. Some two hundredDhobis (laundrymen) washclothes here, collected from local households. The clothes are hung out to dry onlong cloth lines. The scale of the business is thus big, that it can be seen fromafar. It even attracts foreign tourists, leaving the local people in astonishmentabout what on earth could be so interesting about ordinary laundry.
Except maybe for genuine dry-cleaners, laundry requires water. River banks aregood locations for Dhobi Ghats, as are some ponds. Flowing water is essential asstagnant water will be polluted in no time. Step wells, stepped ponds and opentanks, all fed by natural wells, are an important part of India’s waterinfrastructure. Stepped ponds and tanks are often directly connected to templesand are a place of religious and cultural significance. They symbolise the Ganges;to bathe in such waters is to bathe in the sacred river. With the coming of pipedwater, many tanks were filled and have vanished under new development. Of allMumbai’s tanks built in the 18th and 19th century, only two exist today – theBandra and Banganga tanks. *In Dharavi a tank-like Dhobi Ghat is located next to the Sion footbridge over theCentral Railway tracks. It cannot be missed as the yelling of the Dhobis isadvertising the intenseness of the job, much like the sound of professional tennisplayers. This is where the bigger pieces are treated. Not handkerchiefs andnapkins, but heavy blankets and carpets are washed here. Soaked with waterthey are tossed onto flogging stones. One cannot be but impressed by the labourshown here.
Once cleaned the laundry is put out to dry on the pebble beds along the railwaytracks. It is the last remaining open space in the vicinity, by its narrow shapeonly useful in small plots, it is perfectly exposed to the sun, trains providefrequent blows of wind, and stones to keep it all in place are abundant.In its way, it is perfect.*= Neville, Matthew, ‘Banganga. Enduring Tank, Regenerative Tissue’. In:Shannon, Kelly and Gosseye, Janina (eds.), Reclaiming (the urbanism of)Mumbai, Amsterdam, SUN Publishers, 2009, p 112.0 comments Links to this postEmail ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to Facebook
AbundanceNothing Left BehindThe idea of waste is probably a misconception. In Dharavi virtually everything isreused. The contribution of the recycling industry to the economy is thus big thatwords like residue and leftover might be trashed themselves. The recyclingbusiness provides three major components of economic activities. First, theprocessing of waste, secondly the supply of raw materials, and third a lot oflabour, thus creating livelihood for very many people.The essence of good reuse is in separation. The more materials are mixed up, thelesser their potential for a second life. Jobs in recycling are therefore mainlyconcerned with sorting and collecting. Especially sorting is very labour intensive.At the closure of the markets, garbage is sorted into fractions like fruit andvegetables, plastic bags, carboard boxes etcetera.
Waste is collected as much as possible on fixed locations. Often a small lot withthree walls. Birds, goats, and dogs pick anything edible from and aroundcontainers. Textile residues from the fashion industry are used to fire the kilns ofthe potters.This waste collection is temporarily out of use. A concrete floor was just cast.Goats are waiting till their familiar spot offers something to eat. Foot prints in thefreshly poured concrete illustrate their impatience.
Sorting is very time consuming. While the truck is stuck in a traffic jam, copperwire is picked from electric motors. In the north-west of Dharavi, a wholeneighbourhood is busy with recycling. Its name is Thirteenth Compound. Onemight find it a poetic name. Twelve is considered the number of wholeness,closing many cycles, whereas this hardly known side of our world is the actualclosing link in the chain.Thirteenth Compound is marked by huge quantities of goods stored on its roofs.Whereas everywhere in Dharavi roofs only serve as a protection against the fiercesun and the monsoon rains, the roofs in Thirteenth Compound are thewarehouses for light weight goods. Primarily plastics. It weighs near to nothingbut is voluminous. The roof is the perfect storage in this dense built area.
The scrap dealer is unloading his truck. Metals are easy to sort as their propertiesare very diverse. Copper, brass, and bronze have divergent colours. Aluminium isvery light weighted. Iron is magnetic whereas other metals are not.Rusty corrugated steel sheeting, if not for roofing, is used for façades.
Tins and steel jerry cans for food purposes can be sold after cleaning. The futureof such a can is destined by its condition. It returns to the original food factory(the spotless), to a manufacturer of something liquid (the second hand), or to afuel and oil dealer (the slightly crushed).
All packaging materials like barrels and jerry cans are reused and sold. The sameapplies to cardboard boxes. Spotless boxes are sold back to the factory, alreadybearing the name of the manufacturer. Boxes in a lesser state are sold totransporter who do not care about the name. Movers, for example. Only worn outboxes are privileged to become raw material for the paper industry.
Amidst the dusty roofs of Dharavi, Thirteenth Compound is an oasis of colours.1 comments Links to this postEmail ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookTailor madeDharavi is not only the destination for those from the countryside seeking theeconomics of the big city. Mumbai citizens indeed are also seeking shelter aftereviction from other locations in the name of redevelopment. Slum areas aredemolished to make place for high-rise. Those who lived there are eitherrelocated in transition camps and find new homes in the high-rise, or cannot stayas their livelihood does not allow them to. Many entrepreneurs need a businesson street level. Vending only works well on the ground.
The tailor’s shop is about 7 feet wide and 4 feet deep.The demand for retail space in Dharavi is enormous. A shop of only 4 feet deep,or even less, is therefore already worth exploiting. Vending often begins on acloth on the street, backed by a blind wall in an alley. A little stall is a stepforward. A built shop is the logical follow up.The tailor’s shop on the left, beginning street vendors on the right.
On top of the shop a floor was created for a room. By extending this floor overthe street, more room is created inside. The extra floor doubles as a weathershade, protecting the shop against sun and rain. The shop’s counter can bemoved outside, leaving more space inside the shop. Business is perfectly tunedwith the spatial dimensions of the shop. No stock is kept here, production islocated elsewhere.
In the shop, client’s orders are taken and delivered. All agreements regarding thedesign are collected in the order book. All sizes of the customers can be foundhere. Samples mark the chosen fabric. When a customer arrives to collect theorder, a staff member walks to the studio to fetch the gown.
Production takes place in thestudio on top of the shop.Thus the distance betweenproduction and retail is keptvery short and efficient. Thealley is in close proximity toone of the busiest streets inDharavi, which is good forpatronage.
The shop and the studio are built to a blind wall. That wall is part of a biggerhouse dating from times this was still a normal fishermen’s village. This story ofbuilding to and building upon is typical for the architecture of informaldevelopment and slum areas. The forces of society are clearly visible. The ownerof the house was willing (or had to be) to allow trading next to his property. Thewidth of the original alley allowed for a stall of only 4 feet. The stall was improvedto a built shop. On top of that came a studio, jutting out over the street. Thus theentrepreneur found shelter for his business.
The story of this tailor’s shop is the story of many entrepreneurs in a slum. This isalso the story behind the many narrow alleys in slums. Just imagine the tailor’sshop and his studio were not here. We would be standing in a very ordinarystreet in a very ordinary village.