How can design help us reclaim urban spaces? 

Mumbai for Pedestrians

Mainak Das
Classroom Project
B.Des 2017
Exhibition Design

student portfolio︎︎︎

The project aimed at redesigning Mumbai metropolitan public spaces to make them public transport friendly through low cost and easy to implement solutions. It aimed at creating a universal, anti-car, pedestrian-centric, cycling-friendly, low cost, macro solution for the crowded streets of the metropolitan region; with provisions to adapt and implement various features to support Mumbai's growing need for space, by utilizing its existing infrastructures. This will reap short-term benefits like lesser pollution and better traffic distribution, and long-term benefits like better living conditions and mobility patterns, while reducing socio-economic differences.

Investigating public mobility of Mumbai, both as a researcher and a user, gave multiple insights into the patterns and interconnections between the residents and commodities. Mumbai has a robust network of large distance modes and transit hubs connecting multiple neighbourhoods. Even then, once the users are outside its proximity, there is a lack of transit development, leading to losses on multiple fronts. When it was evident that the lack of last-mile connectivity was due to low HDI(Human Development Index), a shift to look for softer, cheaper and easier to implement solutions was made, which would have a major impact on the user's experience during their journeys.

Working in a COVID-controlled environment had a severe impact on almost all the aspects of this project, not only in work-space dilution but also real-world changes in transit and user movement. One of the major missed steps was referring to physical books and reports which might have had a more profound impact on the design process and subsequent data mining.

The project can be proposed to local authorities and policy makers and can act as a yardstick for other settlements in this problem segment. This project has made me empathetic in considering more stakeholders in the process, and balancing them to create the most appropriate outcome, along with all the limitations.


Papers :

  • City public transportation developments in India (Jaspal Singh; Intelligent Transport)
  • Public Transport (ITDP)
  • Urban Public Transport in India: Trends, Challenges and Innovations (John Pucher; Hofstra University, New York)
  • Urban transport in Indian cities (Tiwari Geetam; Urban Age)
  • Reimaging Public transport in India (KPMG)
  • Rethinking India’s public transport after the COVID-19 lockdown is over, (Gerald Olivier and Nupur Gupta; World Bank Blogs)
  • Why Multimodal Public Transport Is an Important Part of India’s Climate Action (Oindrila Dey and Debalina Chakravarty; The Wire)
  • Urban transport in India A developing network (CODATU)
  • What Ails Urban Public Transport in India?
  • (Arpit Agrawal; McGrath Centre for Policy Research)
  • India transport indicators (CST India)
  • Green Mobility For Masses: The State Of EVs In Public Transport In India (Amit Raja Naik; Inc42)