People

Founders

GeetaMehtaGeeta Mehta co-founded URBZ when she was an Associate Professor of Architecture and Urban Studies at Temple University, Japan Campus. She now teaches in the Urban Design program at Columbia University in New York, where she lives. She is also the founder/chair of Asia Initiatives, and advisor to the Millennium Cities Initiative at the Earth Institute at Columbia University. She received her Ph.D from University of Tokyo.
MatiasMatias Echanove is interested in urban culture, participatory planning and information technology among many other things. He has organized workshops, studios, seminars and conferences in various cities. He’s a contributor to airoots.org and a founder of URBZ and Urbanology. He studied economics & government at the London School of Economics, urban planning at Columbia University in New York and urban information systems at the University of Tokyo. He now lives in Mumbai.
RahulRahul Srivastava has studied Anthropology in Mumbai, Delhi and Cambridge (UK). He taught at Wilson College, Mumbai, worked as the first Director of PUKAR, Mumbai and has been a research fellow at Nara University, Japan and New School University, New York. He is interested in exploring the relationship between urban practice, fiction and architecture. He writes on airoots.org, is a founding partner of URBZ and Urbanology and lives in Goa and Mumbai.

Team

AdityaAditya Vipparti has a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture from the School of Planning & Architecture, New Delhi and a Master’s degree in Urban Design from Centre for Environmental Planning & Technology, Ahmedabad. His areas of interest include architecture, urbanism, interior design, research and sketching. He has been part of International Urban Design workshops in Japan, France & Russia. He enjoys working in inter-disciplinary environments; and hence his affinity to URBZ. He lives in Hyderabad and Mumbai.
BharatBharat Gangurde studied commerce for two years before joining PUKAR, Partners For Urban Knowledge Action and Research, Mumbai, in 2000, as office and research assistant. Subsequently he became the office manager for the PUKAR Youth Fellowship Program. Since February 2012 he joined URBZ as Office Manager and Researcher. An avid photography enthusiast he loves chronicling the city and getting involved in all that URBZ does. He lives in Mumbai.
FernandoFernando Botton holds a master’s in architecture from the Escola Tècnica Superior d’Arquitectura de Barcelona (etsaB-UPC). He practiced architecture in Spain, Lebanon and Brazil. He was a project manager in a Brazilian Social Housing CDHU Competition, which won 1st prize. He was also a project manager in Escritório Paulistano de Arquitetura – 2011/12 for a Social Housing Project-Real Parque São Paulo, which received a Honor Mention Project in the Quito Biennial. He is part of URBZ Latino America, São Paulo team.
GabrielaGabriella Santana studied architecture at the Escola da Cidade, Sao Paulo. She is one of the initiators of URBZ in Brazil. She is active in Paraisopolis (Sao Paulo) where she documents and participates in local construction, providing as much muscle power as creative inputs. She lives in Sao Paulo.
ColeJosé “Cole” Abásolo holds a master’s degree in architecture from the Escola Tècnica Superior d’Arquitectura de Barcelona (etsaB-UPC). He practiced in Spain, Chile and Afghanistan and is currently teaching architectural and urban theory at the Universidad de Talca, UDLA and UNIACC. In addition to contributing his graphic design skills, he is also promoting URBZ as a tool for participatory planning across the Andean region. He lives in Santiago de Chile.
MarcellaMarcella Arruda has special interests in the participation of citizens in urban development, the sense of belonging of the public spaces, and the idea of community. She participated to different workshops and conferences around Latin America, including URBZ workshop in Paraisopolis (São Paulo). She currently studies architecture and urbanism at Escola da Cidade, in São Paulo. Founder of MUDA_coletivo (”change it”), a group of people that aims to create other possibilities of city and sense of collectivity, she regularly organizes seminars and workshops and gives lectures. She is part of the URBZ team in São Paulo, Brazil.
RicardoRicardo Garcia Sanchez is a freelance web developer who created multiple interactive websites. Specialized in complex architectures Ricardo is also used to last minute rushes and troubleshooting. He teaches web languages at Nomades Ateliers in Geneva and has helped with the production of many individual web projects throughout his career. Passionate about new technology, Ricardo keeps an active virtual lab at rigasa.ch, where he experiments with latest technologies. He is currently developing a series of Wordpress plugins and smart phone aps. He is URBZ’s web guru. He lives in Geneva, Switzerland.
ShyamShyam Kanle works as a researcher and field operator with URBZ. He has run many businesses in Dharavi where he was born and raised. He has also been involved in conflict resolution and local politics for many years. He is a well respected and influential person in his community and is fluent in Marathi, Hindi and English. He lives in Mumbai.

Advisors

BhauBhau Korde (Ramchandra Y. Korde) is a resident of Dharavi who has been intimately involved in the neighbourhood all his life. After completing his schooling he has worked in the administration of the D.S. High School, Sion for around four decades. He has been part of various political upheavals that Dharavi witnessed in the second half of the twentieth century. He has worked closely in preventing communal riots in the neighbourhood by organizing local committees and launching innovative media intitiatives. He has also been involved with the Nomadic tribe movement – (Bhadaktya Vimukti Jaati) – all over Maharashtra. He lives in Mumbai.
CelineCeline Nahory studied at the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva, Switzerland. She has worked with NGOs in the US, Japan and India, carrying out research and running advocacy campaigns on issues of peace, security, disarmament, economic justice and human development. She has organized several international events and conferences and has extensive experience in civil society organizing and program coordination. She serves as an advisor for URBZ. She lives in Mumbai.
SusmitaSusmita Mohanty seamlessly straddles the worlds of technology, business, design, architecture, and art. Educated in India, France, and Sweden, Susmita holds a Master’s in Industrial Design from the NID, Ahmedabad and a Master’s in Space Studies from the International Space University in Strasbourg [France] and a PhD in Aerospace Architecture from the Chalmers University of Technology [Sweden]. Susmita is the founder and CEO of Earth2Orbit, her third venture, and India’s first private space start-up. She is URBZ’s ambassador to the universe at large, constantly bringing new people and projects. She lives in Mumbai.

Current Collaborators/Volunteers

AgastyaAgastya Chopra is a resident of Mumbai and is enthusiastic about social space, human design and all things green! Having been educated in Mumbai, Singapore and the USA, he studied business management at the Rochester Institute of Technology, after which he worked with his family business that is involved in exports. In 2008 he founded the Gaia Conservation Foundation whose aim is the restoration of degraded forestlands in and around Mumbai. He also has a keen interest in wildlife, having spent 2 months in Tuli block (Botswana) helping with research involving leopards and elephants and in Plettenberg Bay (South Africa) working on research projects involving whales and dolphins. He currently contributes to several projects at URBZ. He lives in Mumbai.
AnnAnne Meeker is currently studying archaeology and anthropology at the University of Oxford, and enjoying work with URBZ in the UK and India on the history of land ownership and development in Mumbai. From the USA, she has lived in Italy and the UK, and looks forward to further study and work in the anthropology of urban housing.
ApurvaApurva Purandare studied architecture from L.S. Raheja School of Architecture, Mumbai. After graduating in 2012, she worked with eminent architecture practitioners. She has an enduring interest in urban issues and is keen in researching & working towards the same. Apurva also intends to pursue further studies related to urban design. She volunteered with URBZ in July 2013.

Past Collaborators/Volunteers

DiptiDipti Hingorani studied structural engineering and architecture at Sheffield University and completed her diploma in architecture from Oxford Brookes. She practiced in Spain and the UK and also worked in Pune with women self-help savings groups. She is currently pursuing her Masters in Development and Emergency Practice at CENDEP, Oxford Brookes University, investigating case studies on alternative participatory and inclusive processes for slum-upgrading and rehabilitation in Mumbai and Pune. She is also actively involved with the Dharavi Shelter project in Mumbai.
GeorgeGeorge Carothers is an urban geographer interested in cities, places, and the people within them. His current work examines the negotiations between communist pasts and neoliberal futures in South Indian cities. He trained as a planner at the University of Waterloo and University College London, and has completed research on urban development and participatory planning in Toronto, London, Mumbai and Trivandrum. He is a PhD candidate at Cambridge University where he also co-convenes the ‘City’ and ‘Taking Place’ seminar series. He lives between London and Trivandrum.
JuliaJulia Siedle studied urban design at Columbia University in New York, and architecture at PBSA Duesseldorf and ESA Paris. She has been involved with the design of water management systems in both academic and professional realms, and is interested in the interweaving and organic growth of physical with social infrastructures. With Mumbai experiencing a severe water crisis, she is currently researching the potential of micro scale water management strategies.
MatthewMatthew Stewart is currently finishing his MArch at the University of Westminster, London. He practiced at architectural offices in the UK, China and South Korea before joining URBZ on the documentation of affordable housing in Shivaji Nagar. He is interested in architecture and urbanism, particularly how developments in software tools and communications can aid participatory design influenced from his time spent with URBZ. He was in Mumbai in July – August 2012. And collaborated from London until December 2012.
wahidWahid Seraj studied architecture at The Cooper Union for Advancement of Science and Art, New York. His thesis project investigated alternative development strategies for Koliwada-Dharavi and architectural methodologies to facilitate community participation. He was an architect-consultant for Urban Typhoon Koliwada. He is interested in arts and vernacular crafts, curatorial work, architectural design, multi-disciplinary collaboration and community organization.
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2 Responses to “People”

  1. Chandrashekhar M Burande Says:

    Mumbai will accept this with delight , because it answers a need.
    Mumbaikar’s should receive this as a welcome gift. I wish URBZ team a great success.

    Presentation on “Cities turning into Mega cities”
    prepared under citizen’s awareness campaign.
    Possible to exhibit in poster form or on screen size 1200 x1800 mm. Cities images and text line
    below each photograph is a theme format.
    I would like to exhibit the same if space is not a constraint.
    cmb, Architect


  2. URBZ, ciudades autoregeneradas – Zoohaus Says:

    [...] barrio informal de Asia, o como ellos lo prefieren llamar “el corazón de Mumbai”.  El equipo consultor es multidisciplinar y [...]