The Making of Leather Goods

In the second part of this series, we explore two leather workshops near the 90 feet road in Dharavi, to understand where and how all processes in the creation of leather products are carried out.

Hyperlocal: Travelling without moving

This text explores some reflections Andreas Ruby started to develop when participating in the workshop "Limites x Limites", organised by Aidec and ConstructLab, which questioned the uses and design of a future park in Geneva's iconic neighbourhood "Jonction".

A day's work at Kumbharwada

In a new series, we re-explore the homegrown streets of Dharavi in search of local arts and crafts. First in the series- Dharavi's famous Kumbharwada

Creating Everyday Environments

In conclusion to the study on placemaking in urban villages, we speculate some possible interventions that could enhance everyday environments.

Made in Dharavi : A digital scheme for SME’s

Digitalization can transform how SMEs operate in Dharavi. Made in Dharavi is a digital application that will support small-scale businesses in Dharavi to make them locally productive and globally connected.

A Shared Vision for the ICRC in Geneva

urbz is working with the employees, directorate and assembly of the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Red Cross/Red Crescent Museum to imagine the future of their HQ

Cool City Sécheron

An ongoing project on the ecological transition and how it can foster quality public spaces

Local economies and digitalization

SMEs are the key drivers of economic growth in the country and they need to start selling online in order to scale up and receive the true wage and value for their products. This presents a unique opportunity for local businesses in Dharavi to tap into the digital market to sell their products and grow with the existing social and business community.


'2=20' is the compiled graphic story of the Vithal Bhaskar Chawl series. It takes you through a journey from the history
of the chawl to its redevelopment. 

Epilogue : Vibrant Neighborhoods

We have come to an end with our series on Makers of Homegrown cities and the Vithal Bhaskar graphic novel. This post presents one finale to both.

Homegrown settlements of Cape Town

In this article, we travel to Cape Town in the western capes of South Africa. The homegrown settlements in Cape town have emerged from occupations of underutilized buildings and vacant lands in peripheries of the city. ‘Occupations’ in Cape Town act as points of contact and interaction between homegrown communities, grassroots housing movements, and the city’s planning institutions.

New Horizons

 How can social and digital empowerment fuel positive growth for Dharavi's SMEs?

Katchi Abadis of Karachi

In this article, we go across the border to Orangi, a town in the western district of Karachi, Pakistan, a city that was once part of the colonial Bombay Presidency. Bombay and Karachi used to be referred to as twin cities. In this article, we will look at the Katchi Abadis of Orangi, where residents have built not only their homes but also streets, lanes, and sanitation systems for the neighborhood.

Spatial dimension of businesses in Dharavi

Dharavi is a prime real estate location due to its closeness to public transport systems, business districts, as well as ecological hotspots. The proximity of living quarters to where individuals work, often from within households, brings both benefits and challenges to households and businesses.

Basti of Karail

We continue across the border to Karail, a basti (neighbourhood) in Dhaka, Bangladesh to understand homegrown settlements and their formation. 

Vithal Bhaskar Chawl - The Workshop

In the 6th Issue, we do what we do best - workshops! Take a peek into the one we organized with the residents of Vithal Bhaskar to discuss the design.

Supply Chain Networks

Dharavi is a frenetic engine of entrepreneurship characterized by variety, innovation, recycling, and reuse. While the Indian economy is in a historic slump that is predicted to take years to recover, residents and workers in Dharavi are starting to return to the city as industries and their allied supply chains are beginning to open up.

Sukumbasi Bastis in Kathmandu

As a continuation of the Makers of Homegrown cities series, we come closer to home and take a look across our borders. Homegrown settlements in Kathmandu Valley are dotted along the highly revered Bagmati river. This article delves into the establishment and lives of the Paurakhi Basti.

Social and Economic Resilience in Dharavi

Dharavi embodies an efficient pre-industrial live-work paradigm. This is now desired and interpreted in post-industrial societies, and more so in the Covid-19 era, as a sustainable lifestyle.

Barrios of Bogota

More than a third of Bogota, the capital of Colombia, is estimated to be self-built by the inhabitants, mainly in the periphery of the city. In this article, we learn from Andrés Sánchez of urbz Colombia about the emerging forms of organisation and constant transformation in these self-built neighborhoods.

Vithal Bhaskar Chawl - The Brief

Issue 04 - The Brief, illustrates all the preliminary steps taken by urbz and residents of Vithal Bhaskar Chawl to ensure that the design meets their social and spatial needs. 

Colonias of Colima

Colima city in Colima State of central-western Mexico is home to disjointed and fragmented homegrown settlements, also known as colonias. In this article, we learn from Tobias Jimenez about the origins and functioning of a colonia on the outskirts of Colima city. 

Makers of Ciudad de Barrios

The second article in the Makers of the Homegrown series takes a look at Ciudad de Barrios (City of Barrios) in Caracas, Venezuela. It is a compact and clustered neighborhood with a multitude of residents engaged in producing homes, urban space, and the city.

Vithal Bhaskar Chawl - Prologue

We are excited to present the first issue of a graphic novel about the Vithal- Bhaskar Chawl in Dharavi Koliwada. This issue sets the historical context for the issues to follow - where we draw and tell you more about the participatory redevelopment project initiated by the residents.

The makers of the homegrown city

The homegrown neighbourhood is an expression of local organizational skills and maximum optimization of resources in the creation of built environments. In this series we attempt to understand its chief personnel, their tools and the processes involved in the making of such settlements.

Dharavi 2020: The Covid-19 challenge

We at urbz researched the circumstances in Dharavi from April to November. We now present a collection of four pandemic-focused articles, fifteen Dharavi Weekly issues, and five Dharavi Fortnightly issues.

EnteKochi Review 2020

The urban design competition EnteKochi 2020 focused on integrating a participatory approach within the planning process for the city of Kochi. The competition was planned for, announced and conducted during the pandemic induced nation wide lockdown. This article provides a glimpse of the process. 

In My Backyard - Informal Cities Workshop

urbz @ Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Art, Washington University in St. Louis.

Through the workshop, graduate urban design students applied the concept of “in-formation” to various social and cultural contexts.

New Ways of the World : Lille Exhibition

The ‘New Ways of the World’ exhibition was a rich showcase of the ways humanity inhabits spaces presented through a fusion of architecture and social realities.

Dharavi Fortnightly 04 - More Covid cases and new strategies

Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, Dharavi has received much attention from the media, first for a steep increase in the number of Covid-19 cases and then for it’s commendable strategies to control and deal with its spread. In this issue of the Dharavi Fortnightly, we interviewed 30 people that included NGOs and beneficiaries to understand people’s strategies to deal with in-migration, unlock process and the new rise in

Dharavi Fortnightly 02 - The Toolhouse Story

One month after the extended lockdown ended on August 31st, we speak to our respondents to know how they are coping. Based on their responses, and first-hand observations of our very own team member in Dharavi, it seemed like life had bounced back to normal. We explore how the Tool-house, a live-work housing typology, may have contributed to this. 

Dharavi Fortnightly 01 - A New Normal

As the new normal sets in, and Dharavi gears up to resume business as usual, its vital workforce is on their way back or have been here for some time now. With various discourses about India’s lockdown policy claiming an exodus of workers from cities, our first issue of Dharavi fortnightly attempts to present a parallel narrative through the lens of circulatory urbanism. 

Dharavi Weekly 15 - Celebrations

This issue of the Dharavi Weekly takes you through 11 personal accounts of religious and cultural celebrations from the people themselves, as a culmination of our now, 15-week long endeavour to document their lives. Moving forward, The Dharavi Weekly will transition into a fortnightly issue wherein we hope to give to you, our readers, a much more in depth ethnographic representation of these communities. 

Dharavi Weekly 11 - The Kids Issue

This is the 11th weekly report which shows how the children have adapted to the conditions in the last four months, an understanding of the various ways in which the pandemic has impacted them could pave the way for holistic policies integrating their input.

Dharavi Weekly 10 - Commoner's Health

This is the 10th weekly report in which we try to understand how the non-COVID health issues pose a concern as important, if not more, than the COVID pandemic. 

Dharavi Weekly 09 - Dharavi Together

This is the 9th weekly in which we have conducted 19 interviews with community leaders and civil society organisations of various scales who have worked tirelessly during the last 4 months of the lockdown to provide relief to those worst affected by the pandemic in Dharavi. 

Dharavi Weekly 08 - Economic Impact

This is the 8th weekly report in which we try to understand how the myriad forms of businesses and individuals have been impacted during the lockdown, how they have coped with the situation, and how they are preparing to resume their economic activities. 

Dharavi Weekly 05 - The Village Issue

This is the fifth weekly report on how Dharavi workers and families are faring away from Mumbai. This report highlights their journey and life back home in the time of Covid-19. 

Dharavi Weekly 04 - The School Issue

This is the fourth weekly report on how Dharavi's schools are coping. This qualitative study is based on 41 in-depth phone interviews with teachers, headmasters, parents, and students.

Dharavi Weekly 03 - The Food Issue

This is the third weekly report on how Dharavi is coping with Covid-19. We concentrate on the food distribution effort initiated at community level. 

Dharavi Weekly 02

This is the second weekly report on how Dharavi is dealing with the pandemic and the government's response to it.

Dharavi Weekly 01

This is the first of a weekly report of how Dharavi is coping with Covid-19

Incompiuto, du style au mouvement

urbz et l'Incompiuto. Retour critique sur notre expérience avec Alterazioni Video et Forbury architecture. Article publié sur Tracés 7/2020.

    COVID-19 in a post-wild world

    Indian cities are habitats for a vast number and variety of animals. It has taken a lockdown to spotlight these creatures living in and around our cities. 

    Dharavi vs Virus

    March 24th, India went into a 21 day lock down to maintain social distancing. How is this top down mandate being followed by people living in high density settlements? Our collaborators, friends and colleagues have been updating us about the ground realities.

    A Mangrove experience

    In this article we discuss ways of making an immersive mangrove experience available to people. We propose varying degrees of engagement, from a full blown Koli experience to Mangrove Machans. 

    Towards a mangrove economy

    The mangroves of Mumbai are a metaphor for Dharavi - both have managed to survive and thrive in areas where others cannot, are tolerant of difficult conditions, are extremely productive, have far-reaching influence and provide the foundations for larger ecosystems.

    Expedition Mangrove

    Over the last few months, we at urbz have been talking about interventions to engage with the ecological and economic aspects of the mangroves. So we went on an expedition to explore the mangroves near Dharavi.

    Entrepreneurship in Petare: El Encantado

    Antonio Moreno, young Petareño, known by everyone in "El Encantado", South Petare as the son of Micheal Jackson, was offered the seed investment, the necessary machinery and a place in the shopping mall “Centro Comercial Terrazas del Avila” to start his very own bakery, the opportunity of a lifetime but he asked himself - why would he open his bakery in a shopping mall, if his own street didn’t have one? 

    Urban Actions and Emergent Architecture: Community Architecture 2019

    The “Urban Actions and Emergent Architecture:Community Architecture 2019” first Encounter was held in the city of Bogotá, Colombia on the 25th and 26th of October of 2019. This was the first event to ever bring together community leaders, architecture colectivos, professors and students to discuss around the topic of community development initiatives.

    Struggling against the regime, the tale of opposition majority barrios: San Blas Part II

    This series of articles seeks to shed light on the origin of the unplanned settlements that are home to more than half of Caracas’s population, but whose stories have never been told. Multiple inhabitants were interviewed and shared their stories of struggles, overcoming hardships, constant improvement and self governance that are the origin of unplanned settlements in Venezuela.

    Let's talk Similar(C)ities!

    "I was fortunate enough to be a part of the urbz network through my internship with them in Mumbai. I then travelled to Bogotá, Colombia as part of their network. Having lived in Mumbai, combined with my experience of life in Bogotá, naturally led me to compare the two cities; their multiple similarities and not so many differences". 

    A Colombian barrio in Venezuela: San Blas. Part I

    This series of articles seeks to shed light on the origin of the unplanned settlements that are home to more than half of Caracas’s population, but whose stories have never been told. Multiple inhabitants were interviewed and shared their stories of struggles, overcoming hardships, constant improvement and self governance that are the origin of unplanned settlements in Venezuela.

    Dharavi on celluloid

    Dharavi has been an interesting setting for many Mumbai based films. This article discusses a few films from the past decades that feature Dharavi as a place central to their narratives.

    The Keny House

    urbz is working on the design of a house for a joint family of 38 people, on a plot of 330 Sq.mts (3500 Sq.ft) in the dense urban settlement of Dharavi Koliwada, Mumbai. 

    Urban Typhoon Kochi

    Cities around the world are acknowledging that local expertise, knowledge and skills are an effective mechanism to generate ideas, plans and strategies that can be implemented by themselves or by civic authorities and planning agencies. Earlier this year, urbz was part of such an endeavour where we conducted Urban Typhoon workshops in Kochi, India.

    Cultura Fertilis_urbz_2018

    Opportunity study for a major cultural center in the new central business district of Geneva. Sorry it is in French. It has nice illustrations though! :)

    21st Century Barrios: Juventud Bolivariana, Petare

    This is the first of a series of articles shedding light on the origin of the unplanned settlements in Caracas, which are home to more than half of the population. These stories have rarely been told. Multiple inhabitants were interviewed and shared their stories of struggles, talked about how they overcome hardships, and organize for improvement and self governance. 


    The city: Integration vs Segregation

    What looks like a city of aesthetic or economic contrasts may actually be a marker of the relation between urban space and individual agency.

    Delta V - Rapport

    Rapport du project de quartier Delta V - Versoix, Geneva, Switzerland (in French)

    Lausanne Workshop

    Program of the Riponne-Tunnel Workshop/Forum taking place on March 8-9-10 in Lausanne (in French - sorry - but non-French speakers welcome to all events)

    Beyond the informal

    This essay looks at the theoretical and practical implications of a much used and abused notion in urban planning and development circles, that of ‘informal settlements’.

    urbz in the news

    Our exhibition Koliwada Charcha was in the news (Asian Age)

    urbz in the news

    Our exhibition Koliwada Charcha was in the mid-day newspaper.

    Stand by Shame

    urbz joins the collective Incompiuto and the Architecture of Shame platform to reclaim an unfinished train station and railway track in the the South of Italy.

    Workshop Fronteras de Segregación. Lima Perú

    Gracias a la invitación de la Universidad San Martin de Porres en Lima – Perú el equipo de Urbz Colombia tuvo la oportunidad de organizar el Taller Fronteras de Segregación, hacia una integración social de espacios fragmentados.

    Delta V: Neighbourhood project

    This innovative plan for a new neighbourhood in the town of Versoix in Geneva will be presented at the Swiss Architecture Museum in Basel (S AM).

    urbz in the news

    Article in The Asian Age about local development initiatives in Dharavi (Mumbai), which urbz supported.

    "I studied for 2 years after marriage"

    Radha is a passionate tuition teacher, and she is proud of her contribution to the education of many students. She discusses the importance of education in Dharavi.

    "Mumbai Return" - The Catalogue

    The future of Indian cities and villages is resolutely networked and circulatory. Revisit or discover the "Mumbai Return" exhibition, just a year after it was shown at Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum. (13.6MB)

    Delta V: Le plan intermédiaire

    Le 11 juin 2018, urbz présente ses travaux sur la forme du futur quartier Lachenal-Dégallier (dit Delta V) aux habitants de Versoix. Un résumé en texte et image.

    Dreaming of a neighbourhood

    "What could be generated by the living generation is an open work; it depends entirely on our collective good will, on the readiness of this generation to embrace a future without precedence." Architecture theorist Yehuda Safran reflects on the Delta V neighbourhood project in Versoix, Geneva.

    Delta V : Introduction

    Un projet de quartier participatif à Versoix!
    A participatory urban planning project in Geneva, Switzerland!

    Delta V in the News

    Articles de journaux sur le projet Delta V
    News articles on the Delta V project in Geneva

    Architectura y Urbanismo Emergente / workshop 2

    The 2nd Workshop in Emerging Architecture and Urbanism in Altos del Pino, Bogotá, supports the initiatives of the community for the construction of public toilets and improvement of public space.

    Handstorm Workshop 2018

    A unique collaboration between New York University, Abu Dhabi Campus (NYUAD) and urbz, wherein engineering students engage with projects that address the issues of the residents of Dharavi at the grassroots.

    The Design Comes as We Build - Catalog

    This exhibition showcases ideal houses designed by builders who live and work in Dharavi. It travelled to the Bhau Daji Lad Museum in Mumbai, Spring House in Amsterdam and the Maxxi in Rome.

    Where Gandhi meets Ambedkar

    Two powerful archetypes — the village and the city — are resolved in a third one: the slum (The Hindu 18/3/2018)

    Spirit of the forest

    A traditional drink made from wild flowers can become a strong local economy for tribal India (The Hindu 6/1/2018)

    Child's Play

    Listening to children could help us plan better cities for all (The Hindu 16.12.2017)

    The road to the city

    How renewed attention to urban-rural linkages may reshape the urbanisation debate. (The Hindu 5/11/2017)

    Constructive Resistance

    One small indomitable neighbourhood holds out against the planners (and changes the plan). (The Hindu 22.10.2017)

    A Humane City

    Anyone who has commuted on trains during rush hour knows there’s something deeply tolerant about the Mumbaikar (The Hindu 07.10.2017)

    Exporting Indian Urbanism

    Not all is worthy of the bin! Our latest column in The Hindu explores features of Indian urbanism that could inspire cities around the world. (The Hindu 24.09.2017)

    Friendship Ambassadors :)

    The work of urbz was honoured by the Swiss President, Doris Leuthard, through an award given to Matias Echanove and Rahul Srivastava


    Workshop da construção civil / Civil construction Workshop in Sao Paulo

    Delta V

    3-day workshop in Geneva on October 13, 14, 15 to produce a participatory neighbourhood plan.

    Mining the forests

    Nature holds something far more precious than wood, coal and minerals — something which industrial practices have been destroying in their crude quest for cheap bucks. (The Hindu, 10.09.17)

    50 houses 1 Territory | 50 CASAS 1 TERRITÓRIO

    A record book of 20 houses built by the mason Ataide Caetite in the Paraisopolis favela, which reflects on how the economic and cultural dynamics are reflected in home construction and design.

    Tool-House of the Future!

    The "Tool-house for the Future" workshop explores the possibilities of reimagining cities from the point of view of live-work arrangements.

    Mess is more

    Recent research in Dhaka show that accommodation and housing are related but distinct needs. (The Hindu, 30.07.17)

    Hamburg: between the medieval and the global

    The organisation of the G20 reflects its democratic deficit. Not only did the G20 summit turn parts of Hamburg into a virtual fortress, it also made hostages of thousands of peaceful protesters and residents. (The Hindu, 16.07.17)

    Mumbai Return exhibition

    urbz's exhibition at the Bhau Daji Lad City Museum allows those who make up the city's fabric to put themselves on the map

    urbz Colombia

    The inception of urbz Colombia and the flow of local movements in Bogota

    More smart, less city

    Reviewing Sondgo and its functioning residential and work places, thirteen years after the initial plans were drafted. (The Hindu, 19.06.17)

    A Thousand Plateaus

    A community struggling with water and identity finds hope in nature and culture. (The Hindu, 11.04.17)

    Goa's Homegrown Commons

    Privatisation, if seen as an exclusive way to regularise settlements, increases the risk of political manipulation and real-estate speculation. (The Hindu, 29.03.17)

    ‘Our lives are 50-50’

    With one foot in the village and the other in the city, migrants have done more to urbanise India than any development scheme (The Hindu, 12.03.17)

    Whatsapp Dharavi?

    This is the first of our fortnightly column in The Hindu Sunday Magazine. This week we explore how the rapid absorption of smart technologies is transforming how business is done in Dharavi and all over India.

    DIY Tool House

    80 students design their own vision of one-day workshop where participants had to plan and design their own architecture studios/living space in a homegrown settlement of their choice. 

    Circulatory Lives in Bordeaux

    Hubert, Eloise, Lucie and Chloé have all moved to Bordeaux from different parts of France and live there currently. But what's 'home' for them? 

    Form Follows Recognition

    Recognizing patterns and processes are crucial to urban practice. The role of architects as agents of incremental growth needs to be emphasised over that of creators of a future that doesn’t yet exist.

    From Dharavi to Rome

    Local contractors design their ideal Dharavi homes which are exhibited at Zaha Hadid's Maxxi in Rome. 

    Dense With Waste

    A prize winning proposal to recycle plastic waste along Mumbai's coastal village of Versova, uses fishing nets and the involvement of the local fishing community.

    Dharavi's Front End!

    After months of preparation, our humble gallery space opens its doors to the public. 

    Viva urbz Colombia!!!

    Started after a dynamic collaboration in Mumbai where team Colombia helped construct an office in Mumbai, Bogota announces itself and makes plans for the future.

    Handstorming (and more) in Dharavi

    Handstorming is the alter-ego of its more cerebral version and geared towards a collective hands-on experience that makes and constructs in real time and space. It was the main mode of operation in our workshop with NYU AD students and produced some impressive and practical tools and objects.

    Breaking Ground report (French)

    Download the report of the Breaking Ground workshop (in French). Strategies for the gradual densification of residential neighbourhoods in Geneva. (52 MB).

    Khotachiwadi Strikes Back

    What do spray painted cats on walls, masked motorbikes and a pop-up staircase have in common? The Khotachiwadi Imaginaries workshop.

    Young, Urban, Mobile

    What do young Mumbaikars have to say about their family's rootedness to villages on the Konkan?

    Breaking new ground in Geneva

    Announcing the Breaking Ground Workshop in Geneva involved some interesting comparisons with density levels in Mumbai. Learnings from one space were strong inputs in discussions at another

    Feral Urban Growth

    Cutouts from URBZ’s mural at the Uneven Growth exhibition opening at the MAK Museum in Vienna.

    Dharavi: Reclaim Growth

    Many people involved in urban issues in Mumbai (and elsewhere) have tried their hand at making the definitive proposal for Dharavi. Read more about ours in collaboration with sP+a

    Dharavi Mashup

    A series of collages juxtapose Dharavi's landscape with other international scenarios to question if Dharavi's context is actually omnipresent. 

    Homegrown Things

    Conceptualised by designers in collaboration with users and local artisans, the Handstorm workshop takes objects used in everyday life and gives them a spin to be more functional to the users.

    GRIT Workshop in Dharavi

    "My experience in Dharavi made obvious to me the essential gap between pre-conceived / pre-fabricated ideas of a place, and the actual, live, reality of it".

    To Make Housing Affordable, Keep it Local

    The official target of producing millions of quality homes for all can be re-imagined, as one in which the process of construction itself becomes a transformative moment.

    Bogotá to Bombay

    While New York and London house the people that move from city to city, all acquainted with the etiquette of an urban lifestyle, Bogotá and Bombay are cities of villagers on the road to urbanization. 

    Ching's Shenzhen– 青的深圳

    Ching’s story is emblematic of the reconversion of urban village habitats into commercial and manufacturing activities more adapted to their newly urban environment.

    The Homegrown Cities Initiative: Update

    After a handstorm workshop to make a variety of user-oriented objects and with a pilot house on its way, a report about the updates of the Homegrown Cities Initiative

    Cairo: User-Driven Housing Construction

    Housing must be seen as a process rather than a product: its values lie in the relationship and inter-action between the actors, their activities and the produced house.

    Window of Opportunity

    Cities and graphic narratives have a special connection. So much so that landscapes from an artist’s imagination can infect urban practitioners who may want to translate them into concrete entities. 

    Shivaji Nagar M Ward

    While residents may live here and work elsewhere, this neighbourhood also shows a high level of its own economic activities.

    Handstorm in Shivaji Nagar!

    All you need to bring along are your hands, a desire to produce something useful and beautiful which you feel the residents would love to use and loads of enthusiasm.

    Should Dharavi be ashamed of itself?

    Touring Dharavi, it becomes obvious to many visitors that people in Dharavi might be poor in relative terms, but they are not very ashamed.

    Handstorm Workshop: Mumbai 2014

    The Handstorm Workshop will draw on energies that flow from creative manual involvement, acknowledging that it is always wired to the brain, to form a collective of power that attracts attention from the rest of the city.

    Complex is Beautiful

    In Rio “pacification” is a code word to describe the invasion of neighborhoods by squads of policemen walking around their guns pulled out, ready to shoot. 

    Tudo Bem! From homemade craft to local currency

    It is commonplace in Brazil that ‘favelas’ are a pervasive part of the urban landscape. Recently however, alternative, bottom-up models have emerged that slowly change this scenario.

    The Dharavi Paradox

    Does Dharavi reveal a contemporary urban model that defies functional urbanism?

    Occupancy versus Ownership

    The competition for land, rather than the traditional competition for tenants, was especially exacerbated in sites of growing industrialization and development like Bombay. 

    Work In Progress: Casa Do Ataide

    In collaboration with local pedreiro Ataide, the urbz team helps build a house in Paraisoplis right from digging the foundations. 

    Little Space Loads of Place

    While documenting the work of a local Mumbai contractor, Marie Malchow questions if a different conception of space operates during the construction process. 

    The Homegrown Cities Project

    How local, community owned and managed housing co-operatives, can be a vital step towards improving the neighbourhoods, bringing good quality civic infrastructure and making the city genuinely ’slum-free’.

    The Village Outside

    Behind the famed Renaissance hotel by the Powai lake is a small, homegrown village called Paspoli which is home to the workforce of the hotel. 

    Warli in Dharavi

    While Warli art has become as gentrified as an art gallery in a heritage urban precinct, the reality it represents is hugely significant.

    Ajanta & Ellora: Back to the Future

    Ajanta with its drop-dead frescoes – from some 2500 years ago was like a fashion-sutra in stone – documenting jewellery, accessories, make-up, hairstyles and costumes – while capturing the narratives of the many lives of Buddha.

    Infusing and Confusing India's Urbanness

    What began as a regular jostling and tugging of the idea in a brainstorm soon took off as an imaginative exercise that encouraged creative and personal readings of the concept and the making of its visual expressions. 

    Circulating Urbanism

    The Konkan connection to Mumbai is only part of a larger universe in which the city’s force of gravity pulls together many other such regions.

    Religious Sites in Dharavi

    Dharavi has developed around temples built on land offered by Muslims,  mosques built on Koli property and churches that spring up between the two. 

    Russian Doll

    From a small Italian village, to a city like Milan, to a metroplis like Chile and finally to Dharavi, Francesco finds similarities and differences among the different scales.of habitats. 

    Mashed up in Torino!

    This seminar explores the shadow history of Tokyo's rise as the largest and the wealthiest agglomeration in the world.

    From the News stand

    An architectural and design practice that works with local builders and residents to create projects embedded in neighbourhoods’ cultural and economic fabric.

    Konkan Diaries: Chiplun

    Chiplun’s residents today speak of their connections with Mumbai against this history – which reveals a relationship that is really deep. Chiplun became a gateway for us not just into the Konkan region and its tryst with the railways – but a paradoxical gateway into Mumbai’s heart – back again.

    Top of the World: Amrut Nagar

    Where affordable housing is scarce but people have tweaked the system and the land to achieve the best possible results in the given circumstances. 

    Tool-House Case Study: The urbz Office

    The urbz office located in a building on M.G. Road, Dharavi, demonstrates how the conviviality of the live-work dialectic actualizes itself in this particular case.

    Paraisopolis-Dharavi News Update

    The connections we evoke between our work in Dharavi, Mumbai and Paraisopolis, Sao Paulo seem to have became a distinct new arc in this multi-city story. 

    Homegrown Affordable Housing

    The so-called slums of the city are in many ways attempts at increasing affordable housing units through a different construction and financial system.

    The City, the Architect and the Pedrerio

    Architecture academics makes it difficult for the student to understand the practicality of the profession. This hands-on approach was taken by urbz and the team so that the students could understand the depth of it.

    Dharavi Goes to Paraisopolis

    Our street exhibition in Brazil mashes up landscapes from Dharavi and Paraisopolis leading residents to guess which part of the image is their neighbourhood. 

    Paraisopolis Institute of Urbanology

    A Paraisopolis-Dharavi Institute of Urbanology to be held next year, where architects and public servants come and learn from residents. 

    Chronicles of a Satellite City

    Local newspapers doubled, tripled and eventually quadrupled with classifieds about the shiny, affordable, chic new buildings with swimming pools coming up in every empty corner.

    Maa toh Maa hai

    Giving a voice to the kids is urgent and inevitable. In this series, the kids speak about their neighbourhood and lives.

    Bombay Drift

    The small streets in the big city are one of the most important features of Mumbai’s fabric.

    Research and The Outer World

    A trip to Auroville's Centre for Scientific Research shows a variety of possibilities for practices to place themselves in between research and on-site application. 

    Water system in Dharavi

    Daily early morning BMC, the local civic body of Mumbai will release water for mere 2 hours, and Dharavi witness the chaos caused by it at the main community water supply connection. 

    The 2.5 Lakh Rupee House

    Local contractor Amar Madhukar Nirjankar constructs the most affordable house for one of his clients in Bhandup's homegrown neighbourhood.

    The Chawls of Khotachiwadi

    While Khotachiwadi is well known for its Konkan-Portuguese-style bungalows, its chawls and their residents have often been left out of the picture.

    Ahmedabad's affordable futures

    Ahmedabad in the race of developing cities of India where inspite large availability of land the property prices are shooting up.

    Unsettling Delhi

    Micro homes which integrate spaces of work and are well connected to the street economy seem to be far more viable on the longer run at all levels.

    Goa: A threatened Ecosystem

    The people of Goa are  looking for ways to organize Goa’s growth and future in a manner that does justice to its special cultural and historical distinctiveness.

    Dharavi Shelter at Kala Ghoda

    Photos taken by the children of the Shelter at Dharavi are being exhibited and sold at the Kala Ghoda Festival in Mumbai this week.

    Greening Dharavi

    How growing your own plants can be a very simple thing to achieve even in extremely dense area such as Dharavi.

    Religious Sites in Dharavi

    The number of religious sites in Dharavi is practically infinite. Small shrines and large temples dot the courtyards and roadsides with incredible density.

    Welcome to MG Road

    Walking on Mahatma Gandhi Road seemed like being part of a big never ending real time movie.

    urbz @ IHS

    “Re-Imagining the World Class City" questions if the World Class City should be re-imagined at all. 

    Increasing Open Space in New Transit Camp

    In the chaotic, overcrowded and over dynamic environment of Dharavi, space is the main resource. Every inch of space has its use and is exploited to its fullest.

    Re-opening Party At The Shelter

    The Dharavi Shelter reopened on Sunday with a new roof, new windows and back door, and an exhibition of the kids’ photos.

    Galeria Sessions

    Galería Sessions is a Talk, discussion and debate Space around latinamerican cities.

    Locals protest Khotachiwadi demolition

    The unique protest, titled ‘Requim for  Khotachiwadi’, was initiated by the village residents to protest against the breaking down of the 150-year-old structure, which had been sold to builders.

    Khotachiwadi's Heritage To Be Saved!

    Mr. Lodha and members of the Khotachiwadi Welfare and Heritage Trust delivered a letter to the municipal commissioner calling for a heritage law to be enacted.

    Urban Typhoon Khirkee: Street Presentations

    From tackling various problems from street structure, to water and many different activities let by theaters groups, cookbook specialists and much more, the Khirkee workshop presentation was in full swing. 

    On Art and Collective Agency

    In order to achieve a creation in the truest sense of the term, the artist must generate new beginnings or devices that will prevent mere reproduction.

    On The Road

    Khirkee, being an “unauthorized colony”, the authorities are not taking any responsibility regarding the water system.

    Khirki Unauthorised?

    Residents of Khirki Extension want the city to recognize their neighborhood and provide services such as paving their main road to facilitate easier transport and prevent flooding.

    A New Type of Conversion?

    Hillsides are being clear-cut for resorts and vacation homes. Concrete skeletons of future faceless flats line the highways, already looking dilapidated from the rains. 

    Learning from Dharavi: One House At a Time

    Initially, it was difficult to get people’s trust and visit their homes. Little by little we got to know each other and we started understanding the way people live here.

    SCL2110 Mac Quinta Normal

    Un evento en donde confluyen Arquitectura, Arte y Performance y que tiene como objetivo repensar Chile de cara al tricentenario.

    Save the Date

    The Urban Typhoon workshop invites artists, architects, activists and academics from all over the world to ideate with residents, grassroots groups and other users of Khirkee Village, New Delhi.

    The Sound of Galata

    A poetic introduction to the daily movements and sounds of an incredibly diverse neighbourhood, which is being transformed in fast-forward mode.

    Small Things

    "Walking around the streets of Dharavi and Mumbai I have noticed how small things can make a big difference to lives and the image of a neighborhood”

    Mumbai Monsoons

    A common and expected reoccurrence every year, Dharavi has its own strategies to cope with the relentless monsoon

    Workshop Week

    The participants spent the week using different tools to explore Sishane-Galata, interpreting the vision of the residents and integrating them into their own projections for the neighbourhood. 

    Battlestar Galata Takes Off

    Whether in fantasy – like the sci-fi TV series Battlestar Galactica or in real life – ‘aliens’ who are just like ‘us’ and who become threatening because they are a natural part of the landscape 

    Istanbul: Here we are!

    Challenging all misconceptions, the atmosphere of cultural liberalism in the streets of this neighbourhoud is so much more prevalent than that of any American city and most European cities.

    Bio-Topical Goa

    Can Goa show the way for the rest of the country in a transformation from a rural to an urban economy, thereby offering a convincing urban alternative to the mega-cities?

    Dukaan Workshop

    Students, Architects, Engineers, Craftsmen, Handymen, will come together to build an evolutionary, flexible and light dukaan or streetshop

    The Shelter at Dharavi: Documenting Transformations

    Our mission is to continue to facilitate the development of creative initiatives in this space and collaborate in the connections of people to places – in this case a vibrant neighbourhood that is currently being planned without its residents’ participation.


    The idea of waste is probably a misconception. In Dharavi virtually everything is reused. The contribution of the recycling industry to the economy is thus big that words like residue and leftover might be trashed themselves. The recycling business provides three major components of economic activities.

    Dukaan Workshop: Part 1

    Weeks of conversing with street vendors of all kinds, documenting and networking with them translated into a most unusual workshop series inaugurated last week in Dharavi. 

    Welcome to the Edge: Mira Road, Mumbai

    Instead of squeezing oneself in chawls (tiny tenements with shared bathrooms), the idea of a one-bedroom hall kitchen (or two or three) appealed to the city’s upwardly mobile population. 


    Producing clothes in high quantity is one thing, washing them all is another. An insight into Mumbai's famous Dhobi Ghat.

    Project Lari

    An international design-build competition to re-imagine street carts in India

    Covid-19 in Dharavi

    Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 urbz has been researching its effect on the people of Dharavi. 

    Habitat 100: A chawl redevelopment project

    We are excited to be working on a new architectural project in Dharavi Koliwada. Our friend, collaborator, and contractor Joseph Koli, approached us to work on his latest project - the redevelopment of a chawl

    Project Étoile

    urbz has been mandated by the State of Geneva to develop a concept and program that integrates living, working and culture for a 60,000 m2 mixed used development in the city’s new downtown.

    Handstorm in Dharavi

    Our annual Handstorm workshops in Dharavi with the "Engineers for Social Impact" from NYU Abu Dhabi generate incremental innovations that improve the quality of life in this massive settlement

    Urban Typhoon Kochi, June 4-9, 2019

    June 4-9, 2019

    The Urban Typhoon workshop in Kochi is open to all citizens and visitors interested in working in urban areas and are willing to engage with communities participation. Together we will explore


    urbz is carrying a 18 month long participatory process to redefine the two largest public squares in Lausanne (Switzerland). / urbz conduit une démarche participative de 18 mois visant à réimaginer les deux