The Latitudes International Design Challenge, set up by the University of Westminster, and inspired by the Clean India Mission, saw the transformation of 100 disused public spaces in South Asia. Over 1500 undergraduate architecture students from India participated. The best examples of the transformations of these public spaces will be published in the international publications part of the Massive Small Collective.
The University of Westminster established the competition in partnership with the National Association of Students of Architecture in India (NASA INDIA). It is part of the University’s Latitudes network which seeks to engage students in sustainable design challenges.
Participating students from 87 architecture colleges were tested on their creative and entrepreneurial skills. They worked on publicly owned land, seeking permissions from local authorities and stakeholders, raising funds for their projects, as well as bringing together local communities to build their designs.
The winning team – ‘Project Brick by Brick’ consisted of Abhay Agarwal, Anurag Rathi, Shhrruti Jain and Tejaswini Deshmukh, from the Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology (Nagpur). The team transformed an urban pocket adjacent to a school for deaf children into a children’s play area, helping to break barriers between the abled and differently abled children while bringing the local community together. Watch the team’s wonderful transformation of the public space for children here.
Now, the winners will be sponsored by the University of Westminster to visit London and showcase their project at a dedicated summer exhibition at the university’s Central London Marylebone Campus, alongside100 transformations. Three other teams will receive funding up to £100 for their live projects.
The competition has helped reclaim public spaces for active use through ‘design and build’ solutions. They stretch across 3,000km in South Asia, from Quetta to Madurai, and Jaipur to Visakhapatnam. Here is an interactive map, developed to tell the stories of these game-changing transformations.
The range of revamped public spaces include: children’s play in areas like Noida, Bengaluru and Pune, flyover under crofts in New Delhi, Calicut and Sonipat, public spaces along train stations in Mumbai and Chennai, and village streets in Jammu. Dynamic pop up transformations such as an open air public library in a Delhi Bazaar and a recreational space along Elliot’s Beach in Chennai have proved the potential of urban spaces.
Professor David Dernie, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Dean at the University of Westminster, said: “We are thankful for the overwhelming response and the efforts of young creative change makers, local communities and local authorities of South Asia towards making this vision a reality. Our team, along with our collaborators, is committed to giving an international platform to these transformations and truly recognising the effort each participant has put into this process.”
The challenge, as part of the larger Latitudes Network, has been running successfully for the last five years with a focus on sustainable development.
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