Faculty: Melissa Smith | Caitanya Patel

TA: Hetvee Panchal

Urban Assemblies: Active Vacancy

Indian cities are in a constant state of flux. Rapid urbanization not only produces the built environment but also the condition of vacancy lands that are undifferentiated, loosely regulated and waiting to be remonetized. As a condition that arises from the same phenomenon that creates order in the city, these vacant lands, pending a definite plan, provide space for expression. They are often surreptitiously transformed into spaces of informal social and cultural expression, supplementing the dearth of publicly accessible commons in the city (Cricket! Driving Practice! Festivals!). Over time this condition repeats across varied terrains of the city — new vacant lands emerge from industry closures, environmental regulations, leapfrogging development, and undefined political will. When mapped across time, vacancy is a phenomenon;; one which holds potential for reimaginations of collective space in the city. Looking twenty years back and twenty years forward, this studio mapped sites across time and space, with an ear toward the informal expressions that exploit their vague physical and temporal states. Armed with their mapped potentials, students proposed what the site might be in twenty years, and propositioned the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation to act while the lands wait — a project whose impact must live beyond its own life.

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