Commonstudio is Bangalore bound! Well, almost. Fuelled by a 2016/17 Fulbright-Nehru research grant from the United States-India Education Fund (USIEF), we're thrilled to have the opportunity to put down some temporary roots in India, beginning in October of 2016.
We're headed to Bangalore to seek a deeper understanding of what's going on ecologically in the "megacities" of the global south. As India's third most populous city, Banglalore is defined by the dual forces of speculation and ecological change. On the one hand, rampant development in recent decades have signaled Bangalore's ambitions to become "India's Silicon Valley." On the other hand, it still enjoys the lingering reputation as the "Garden City"—with an extensive network of urban lakes, forests, parks and other remnant ecologies.
Because of this position regionally and economically, the city offers many fascinating examples of how social and ecological challenges are being approached from the bottom-up. Amid the pressures of explosive urban growth and rapid climate change, there is a growing local emphasis and understanding of the value that local ecosystems, and public resources such as lakes, urban forests, and open space networks provide to the most vulnerable urban populations. These spaces are vital pieces of urban infrastructure, providing services that range from flood prevention and erosion control, to groundwater recharge, microclimate and air quality benefits, wildlife habitat, fuel, food, and raw materials.
Commonstudio will be working closely with two local organizations, the Janna Urban Space Foundation (JANAUSP), and the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and Environment (ATREE) , both of which are currently involved in a variety of design and policy initiatives that are actively shaping the trajectory of India's urban future. We look forward to working closely with these amazing partners while drawing upon our previous work in LA and Rome as we continue to explore issues of socio-ecological resilience. As usual, we will be focusing our efforts and response within the subliminal and peripheral landscapes of the city, and paying close attention to the richness and overlaps of urban phenomena that happen there. Our ultimate aim is to stage a series of creative experiments that help us better define what “collaborative urban ecology” looks like, how it works, and how it might be applied, adapted, and scaled.