Our relationship with Dharavi is one that dates back to 8 years ago. Dharavi created urbz. Somewhere along the way, slowly, urbz started to be a part of Dharavi as well. This is where we opened our first, humble office on the first floor of a typical Dharavi house on MG Road in New Transit Camp after which shifted to Shivaji Nagar, Govandi.
In February this year, we moved our office back to Dharavi. This time, our office is a little bigger and much more accessible. Visitors no longer get lost trying to find a room in the maze. Indeed, our new office space is right at Dharavi T-Junction. Every day about 40’000 vehicle and 15’000 pedestrians pass right by. If you’ve passed by T-Junction you have probably seen our new space unawares, just at the edge of Koliwada bang opposite the Mahim Creek and BKC. Chances are that if you walk by looking for the office, the locals will help you find it.
Our new office is again a typical, Dharavi unit. Our office is not just a workplace. The front room of our office is a space which we envision donning many hats and playing different roles. We call it the Front-End. The Front-End is a gallery, a space that encourages conversation, a place where ideas are born, a room where people can work and most importantly, a platform for Dharavi, its residents and mumbaikars to express themselves. Simply, we want to provide a space for creation, exchange and interaction. The Front-End is a place dedicated to urbanism and homegrown neighbourhoods and we encourage everybody who is interested in these subjects to use it.
Tonight is our first public opening! We are rushing to get everything ready for 6PM tonight and having lots of fun in the process, as usual!
What we are presenting from tonight onwards, for about 2 months, is the outcome of a collaboration between urbz and the ‘Engineers for Social Impact’ lab at NYU Abu Dhabi. From March 20th-26th, urbz ‘handstormed’ with young engineers from all over the world, residents of Dharavi and local artisans.
The participants of the ‘handstorm workshop’ spent time in Dharavi and explored 4 main topics: roofing, community participation, water issues and space optimisation. We are quite thrilled about the potential impact of some of the projects we are presenting tonight. Rather than a big bang approach to innovation, these are down-to-earth ideas that are currently being tested in situ.
We are excited, hopeful and eagerly waiting to see you all at the Front-End! Our doors are open. Here’s to the first of many conversations.
Address: Room 56/AB, 1st Floor, T Junction, Dharavi Koliwada, Mumbai 400017
Landmark: Jhakaas Restaurant at T Junction Directions: Second building to the right of Jhakaas restaurant when facing the Mithi River. The office is on the first floor, above a courier shop.
Contact: +91 7738467192