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 was uploaded on 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 developing at great speed, with new data being uploaded and new functions being added regularly. Since its launch it became the prime source of information on Dharavi. A year after it started nearly 200,000 people had visited it.

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 is maintained by URBZ, an initiative launched by the organizers of the Urban Typhoon workshop, with offices based in Dharavi. It is partly run by young residents of Dharavi who participated in the workshop and played a vital role in involving community to the workshop. The URBZ office and website are means of connecting more intimately and extensively with the neighbourhood at large and making their voices heard beyond it..

Both, dharavi.org and URBZ - 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. URBZ organizes event and open venues that are both virtual and physical and which are meant as 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.