Ongoing / Urban Planning and Policy

The Future Ground: Urban Planning Under Climate Uncertainty


Background: Cities across the world are acting to improve their climate resilience. Decisions on urban infrastructure and land-use create path-dependencies that have far-reaching developmental implications. Conventional urban planning (with a time horizon of up to 20 years) is inadequate to account for these dependencies that is essential to plan for climate uncertainties. Quantitative methods such as adaptive planning present means to set long-term flexible climate goals while committing to short-term development actions. However, this method does not take into account the life cycles of urban infrastructure systems nor does it consider the requirements and constraints of urban planning. 

Objective: This PhD thesis will develop and test a methodology for long-term urban planning under climate uncertainties by systematically exploring the uncertainty space along with the urban planning responses to deal with it. My case studies are Amsterdam and Mumbai. I am currently interviewing experts working on urban planning, infrastructure and climate risks. If you may have any recommendations for persons I could interview, please reach out to me. This is a brief project note.



Completed / Urban Planning and Design

Flood risk and vital infrastructure


Design sections of the two alternatives

Engineering for flood resilience of dense coastal regions often neglects the impact on urban design quality. Vital subsurface infrastructure such as hydraulic systems, water networks, civil construction, transport, energy supply and soil systems are especially important in shaping the urban environment and integrating resilience. However, the complexity and resource intensive nature of these domains make it a challenge to incorporate them into design. This impedes proactive collaboration between the design and engineering communities. This study presents a collaborative design engineering exercise undertaken to find spatial solutions to flood-prone Edogawa ward in Tokyo, Japan. Hydraulic engineering solutions were combined with spatial planning methods to deliver two alternative planning strategies for the chosen site - Edogawa Water City and Parkway Edogawa. Each alternative was then evaluated for its urban design quality and effectiveness in reducing flood risk. The exercise highlighted that successful design requires comprehensive interdisciplinary collaboration to arrive at a sustainable bargain between hard and soft measures.

Paper | Exhibition




Completed / Architecture

India Homes 2020

Shortlisted amongst top ten designs in India             
Design sections of the two alternatives
India will need 25 million affordables homes by 2030. A lot of these homes must cater to the economically weaker or regions that are transitioning from the rural to thr urban where self-owned housing plots are the norm. Framed Habitat is a housing proposal for rapidly urbanising tier 2 and tier 3 cities in India. We presented a detailed architectural and structural design proposal for  homes that can be built and expanded by the inhabitants as their families grow. We presented a literal ‘framework’ of spaces and how these spaces can come together in multiple combinations such that the local climate can be taken into account. This project was conceptualised and designed in collaboration with RC Architects.



Completed / Design

MILLK: Play Cafe Spa

           


Walk through the streets of Lower Parel, Mumbai and you are sure to stop and have a look at a building that stands out from the rest, thanks to its peculiar façade. MILLK a controlled public space in the busy city of Mumbai, consists of a play area for kids, a café and a spa for adults. The challenge was to engage people in a design that could incorporate  activities of such contrasting characters. Spaces had to be isolated to retain their character, yet stay connected to the main spine that held the design together.

The exterior of the building (originally a mill) was reimagined as a dynamic façade constructed using low-cost steel rods and lightweight plates. A visitor at the entry is thus greeted with the dancing metal plates which enhances the fluidity of the design. The rigidity of the solid square shape is broken by the curved walls that flow in the interiors. Most of the interior spaces are separated by these walls thus removing the requirement of doors or other conventional separators. Horizontal slits at strategic locations on the walls enhance the visual continuity of the space.
               
This project was conceptualised and led by Umbrella Design. The spatial design and construction details were designed and executed in collaboration with RC Architects.





Mark