Meet in the Middle public forum at the BMW Guggenheim Lab Mumbai

In this hands-on, interactive workshop led by practitioners in the field, we explored new ways to connect transport, water, and housing infrastructure. Lab visitors used maps and models to investigate how best to bridge the gap between informal settlements and other areas in Mumbai.

Program series initiated by Lab Team Member Neville Mars. Hosted and facilitated by Naresh Fernandes and Sourav Biswas.

The ten sessions:

Split City Mumbai


Mumbai is a city of vast divides, where the quality of services depends on where you live.

Participants: Amita Bhide, Chairperson, Center for Urban Policy and Governance, TISS; Aisha Dasgupta, Fellow, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Mumbai Lab Team member; Shilpa Phadke, Chairperson, Center for the Study of Contemporary Culture, TISS; Anita Patil-Deshmukh, Executive Director, PUKAR; Kalpana Sharma, writer/journalist, "Rediscovering Dharavi;" Asif Zakeria, Corporator, Ward H-West; Rajiv Jalota, Additional Municipal Commissioner, MCGM.

Mediating Public-Private Investment


How do we incentivize public-private partnerships that operate across different social scales?

Participants: Ashok Datar, Chairman, MESN; Cyrus Guzder, Trustee, BEAG; Madhusadan Menon, Chairman, Micro Housing Finance Corporation; Alok Nanda, Director of Mahindra & Mahindra and Chairman of Western Region-Confederation of Indian Industries (CII); Ajit Ranade, Chief Economist, Aditya Birla Group; V. Ranganathan, Chairman Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee and former Urban Housing Secretary and Municipal Commissioner; Saskia Sassen, Lynd Professor of Sociology and Member, The Committee on Global Thought, Columbia University.

Rethinking Skywalks and Sealinks

Mumbai’s thirty-six skywalks have been the subject of heated debate. This session explored the qualitative potential of the Lab’s proposed networks of landlinks and skyrides, and critically examined how investments in transport through car-oriented sealinks and pedestrian-oriented landlinks/skyrides could be made for Mumbai’s future.

Participants: Rishi Aggarwal, Fellow, ORF; Trupti Vaitla, Urban Designer, MESN, Mumbai Lab Team member; Mustansir Dalvi, Faculty, JJ College of Architecture; Prasad Shetty, Founder, CRIT; Rupali Gupte, Faculty, KRVIA; Shivjit Sidhu, Partner, Apostrophe; Shantanu Poredi, Architect & Partner, MO-OF.

Mediating Public–Private Housing

Fifty-two percent of Mumbai’s residents live in slums, yet the city has recently seen the construction of its first gated communities. Join this event to discuss how Mumbai can hold on to its celebrated dynamism in the face of this segregation.

Participants: Neera Adarkar, Architect and Urban Researcher, Adarkars Associate; Alexis de Ducla, Project Head, Lafarge Affordable Housing; Matias Echanove, Director, URBZ; Avijit Mukul Kishore, Documentary Filmmaker, "Vertical City;" Rahul Srivastava, Director, URBZ; Vishnu Swaminathan, Director, Housing for All – Ashoka India.

Mediating Public–Private Housing

Fifty-two percent of Mumbai’s residents live in slums, yet the city has recently seen the construction of its first gated communities.

Participants: Neera Adarkar, Architect and Urban Researcher, Adarkars Associate; Alexis de Ducla, Project Head, Lafarge Affordable Housing; Matias Echanove, Director, URBZ; Avijit Mukul Kishore, Documentary Filmmaker, "Vertical City;" Rahul Srivastava, Director, URBZ; Vishnu Swaminathan, Director, Housing for All – Ashoka India.

Mediating Public–Private Transportation

Mumbai’s trains are overflowing and its roads are jammed. In this panel discussion, we will explore how to balance the need for more public transport with the demands of those driving private vehicles.

Participants: Madhav Pai, Director, EMBARQ; Geetam Tiwari, TRIPP Chair, IIT-Delhi, BGL Advisor; Ashok Datar, Chairman, MESN; Sudhir Badami, Independent Transportation Consultant; Nitin Dossa, Chairman, WIAA; Rachel Smith, Transportation Planner, AECOM, Berlin Lab Team member.

Heart of Mumbai Workshop - Bridging the Infrastructure

Participants: Avinash Kubal, Dy, Director, Maharashtra Nature Park; Akshay Mani, Project Manager, EMBARQ; Roshni Udyavar, Head, Rachna Sansad; P.K.Das, Founder, Architect-Planner, Open Mumbai; Rohan Shivkumar, Deputy Principal, KRVIA; Kayzad Shroff, Partner, Shroff-Leon; Nicholas Humphrey, Emeritus Professor of Psychology, LSE, BGL Advisor; Rachel Smith, Transportation Planner, AECOM.

Planning in a Dynamic City

While the Mumbai Municipal Corporation works toward framing its twenty-year development plan in 2014, experts explained their vision of collaborative planning for Mumbai and how it can be achieved.

Participants included Aneerudha Paul, Principal, KRVIA; Prathima Manohar, Founder, Urban Vision; Sam Lockwood, digital strategies consultant; Henk Ovink, Deputy Director General Spatial Planning, Ministry for Infrastructure and the Environment, Netherlands; Shirish Patel, Planner, IIHS; Pankaj Joshi, Executive Director, UDRI; and Uma Adusumilli, Chief Planner, MMRDA.

Participatory Planning


The Municipal Corporation is preparing Mumbai’s next development plan, scheduled to run from 2014–2034. This panel discussed the citizen’s role in government development and participatory planning in Mumbai.

Participants: Vinay Somani, Founder, Karmayog; Milind Mhaske, Project Director, Praja Foundation; Chetan Temkar, Founder, Smart Shehar; Shailesh Gandhi, RTI Activist, Former Information Commissioner, Government of India; Prasanna Desai, Principal, Prasanna Desai Architects; Gautam Patel, environmental lawyer; Himanshu Burte, Architect-Researcher, TISS.

Photos: UnCommonSense © 2013 Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York

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