Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Back in London town...

As the team finds themselves re-adjusting to the surprisingly sunny, clear, and comfortable weather of London, images of Mumbai resonate freely from within. Hard to imagine that just some hours ago we found ourselves in the middle of a scene so conflicting, so fantastic, so further from this familiar reality. The experience of Mumbai was nothing short of affirming on so many levels. To witness the challenges and struggles of the majority of a society and understand the daily resiliency that allows people to cope within this system is something I myself would not have expected. But apart from what we saw in the form of struggle in the field, was the immense complexities in the governance of the city and the housing situation. The team was very fortunate to hear first hand from many key players associated with the development of the city and particularly Dharavi. These individuals offered such differing opinions and visions that the challenges of social and physical development become quite clear and in many cases, immeasurable in terms of apparent solution. In turn, these challenges represent themselves in our own debates as we continue our work back at the DPU.

Reflecting on our previous presentation at SPARC headquarters, stemming from the feedback of Sheela Patel and others in attendance, we have the task of making clearer links between our analysis and the scenarios we proposed. Also key for us in this academic context is to be more critical of the political and planning processes which are at the root of the situation in Mumbai. Our first presentation was a great first attempt. The amount of information gathered, documented, and presented was no small feat. In such a short time, I feel we are all content to a degree with our achievement and the experience. It is now important to take heed of our critics and bring to light the strength of our findings and arguments in a coherent and dynamic way that yields a smooth-flowing narrative- one that will hopefully provide a simultaneous foundation for our report...
- William

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