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Experts to devise Matunga as Mumbai's varsity township

Posted on Jan 22 2014 | IANS

Mumbai, Jan 22 : The academic hub of Matunga in Mumbai will be the focus of a study by a group of Indian and international planners and designers who will seek to address its social and infrastructural challenges in the growing metropolis, an official said Wednesday.

Starting Feb 5, a total of 20 Indian and 20 international designers will devise how Matunga, a place located in the heart of the city, can be transformed and bestowed with the ambience of a university township, on the lines of similar towns in the US or Europe.

The two-week workshop is being jointly organised by Icsid Interdesign and Welingkar Institute of Management (Matunga) to deal with the changing fabric of Matunga under various sub-themes, said Pradeep Pendse, Dean, IT/Business Design, at WIM.

"They will address the challenges from the perspective of learning experience, hostels for outstation students, health-care and nutrition, financial security, markets for and by the students, eco-friendly transportation for quick commuting, leisure and entertainment," Pendse told IANS.

These themes would be further expanded and evolved to cover aspects like zero-garbage households in the locality, redesigning outdoor experiences for the residents, improved accessibility, developing water fronts around the city and related issues, he said.

The workshop is being conducted by Icsid Interdesign under the theme 'Humanising a Metropolis - 2014', and the designs and solutions could be later applicable to other Indian metropolitan cities and in international emerging economies, Pendse added.

Incidentally, Matunga is part of a planned precinct characterised by low-rise residences, learning areas and defined green and urban spaces, mostly having a middle to upper-middle class population.

Over the decades, it has changed drastically to emerge as an educational hub with a sizeable demographic component of around 50,000 students across various age groups.

The social and infrastructure services to support this academic environment have developed organically as a result and with a reduced percentage of open space.

The Icsid Interdesign and WIM workshop hopes to find permanent and practical solutions to some of the design problems Matunga region is facing.

Besides the participating design experts, there will be several expert advisors and support personnel on-site as well as local field visits to facilitate the workshop.

Prior to this, WIM will host the prestigious six-day Design Innovation Workshop, to be conducted jointly with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, US, Jan 27-Feb 1, Pendse said.

"It will promote and create a common language among the communities of students irrespective of their disciplines towards an environment of interdisciplinary learning and solving problems," he said.

The major focus areas will be tackled by the 350-plus students who will attend it from all over India.

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