Vehicle of Change: Workshop at IDC, IIT Bombay
Mumbai | 21st June 2013: EMBARQ India conducted a daylong workshop at the annual student 'Design and Degree Show' at IDC (Industrial Design Center), IIT Bombay on 21st June 2013. Under the umbrella of the main event theme "Design as a Catalyst for Change", the EMBARQ workshop, ‘Vehicle of Change’ focused on ideating a systems approach for improving walking experiences within the city.
Reaching out to interdisciplinary groups, sensitizing them towards the challenges faced in designing the street realm, the workshop also explored avenues to blend their disciplines with EMBARQ’s work. Students and professionals from across the country and various fields including product design, visual communication, animation, design, engineering, architecture and applied arts participated in the workshop.
The EMBARQ team that conducted the workshop included Neha Mungekar, Nikhil Chaudhary, Saritha Sudhakaran (consultant – urban designer) and interns Kaustubh Chuke, Akhila Suri, Tejas Joshi and Lenin Sharma.
The workshop kick started with an exercise in mental mapping. Participants were asked to choose an origin and a destination (eg. trip from home to work) and to draw a map connecting the two points with landmarks and experiential inserts based on their memory of the route. Nikhil Chaudhary from EMBARQ demonstrated with an example of a map charting the route from his home to office. The ensuing discussion highlighted the intangible aspects of walking and showcased interesting stories and memories that were associated with the routes that participants drew.
This was followed by an overview on some of the challenges that we, at EMBARQ, come across in designing quality streets and a few examples of how we address these concerns were shown. Before proceeding with the workshop, a quick brainstorming exercise was conducted on street design considerations under parameters like accessibility, safety, comfort, aesthetics, and identity.
Participants then worked in groups on an exercise to create a walking route from IIT Bombay Campus to Galleria Shopping Arcade which is located about one km away. As there are multiple route options connecting these nodes, participants had to consider some positive and negative aspects along the route based on the above mentioned parameters and come up with interventions to create a better walking experience along the paths that they marked. The four interdisciplinary groups broadly conceptualized their projects under themes like a walky talky road, technology street market, the Living Street and illusion.
Group Walky Talky looked at the existing context and planned interventions that could be plugged in to enhance experiences such as a bicycle ticker that provides the calories burnt and a food stall that serves to-go food and shouts out information on calories consumed. Group Technology Market Street focused on Indian bazaars and introduced urban installations to integrate different user needs like a vegetable market and an interactive play field for children. Group Illusion concentrated on developing street furniture that used the concept of illusion to aid in the walking experience. Group Living Street designed several elements within a bus stop area like an interactive information panel that can be connected through a mobile application and multi utility signposts.
The second session saw each participant picking up an intervention and ideating on a product that would enhance walkability along their chosen route. The range of product ideas that emerged evolved from urban amenities like elemental paving blocks, interactive streetlight cum information panel to talking dustbins. Some interesting ideas on website and cellphone interface design for vendors and public transit were also explored during the workshop. A series of good practices in pedestrian environments helped the participants broaden their outlook towards design of the public realm.