Urban Typhoon Workshop in Koliwada, Mumbai: March 16-22, 2008
Participatory Urban Design & the Future of Alternative Communities

Urban Typhoon brought together artists, architects, activists and academics from all over the world with the residents of Koliwada, Dharavi to collectively generate ideas, visions and plans, and archive biographies and histories. The workshop's philosophy is based on the idea that communities should be allowed to determine their future and that everyone, no matter the age, language or qualification should be allowed to participate in the process.

The material generated within the workshop is being uploaded onto dharavi.org a wiki based website allowing anyone to log in and contribute. This website was launched a few weeks before the workshop and is now developing at great speed, with new data being uploaded and new functions being added everyday. A month after it started nearly 10,000 people had visited it and 100 people registered as contributors. A Marathi version is on its way.

This website keeps the Urban Typhoon participants connected and allows everyone to follow up with the work that was started during the workshop. We encourage all of you to visit the Urban Typhoon pages on dharavi.org and leave comments.

The site will soon be connected to Dot01 – the first of many proposed communication centers in Dharavi – that is in the process of being formed. It comprises mainly of young residents from Koliwada, Dharavi who participated in the workshop and played a vital role in involving community to the workshop. They are already uploading their own writing and images onto dharavi.org and will use the center and the website as a means of connecting more intimately and extensively with the neighbourhood at large and making their voices heard beyond it.

Both, dharavi.org and Dot01 – are vital follow-ups to the Urban Typhoon Workshop. The concept behind them is that each person and each place is a dot on the map that should be accounted for. Dot01 and the other Dot02,03... that will follow represent the "." in "dharavi.org"; a small point that is usually overlooked, but that really connects it all. These venues, virtual and physical, are thus points of connection between the community and the outside world.

More about Urban Typhoon:

The Urban Typhoon workshop is a global experiment in participatory design. It is directly connected to the various communities of Dharavi and its grassroots community groups.

The workshop is multicultural, multidisciplinary and multimedia. Students, urban planners, architects, designers, artists, sociologists, media artists, political activists, utopists, and other nomads to come together for a week to imagine the future of Koliwada.

The objective is to produce creative alternatives for the future of a neighborhood threatened by a redevelopment plan of the government as well as a multimedia testimony to the unique spirit of Koliwada.

The workshop itself was a joyous and participatory takeover of the neighbourhood. It combined the city’s historic spirit of activism with the celebratory, independent and culturally dynamic traditions that the Kolis of Mumbai have always demonstrated. The workshop builds on these impulses in the best traditions of a festive exchange with visitors, guests, strangers and locals of all shades and hues.