In conclusion to the study on placemaking in urban villages, we speculate some possible interventions that could enhance everyday environments.
Being in Diwale Gaon feels like standing at the edge of a tidal creek where the water tide sweeps in, recedes and rises again. The same can be said about other Koliwadas. They have these daily rhythms, as shown, where it wakes up in the morning, ramps up activity, and then discharges again. How can one transform these Koliwadas into a holistic vision of culturally, economically, and environmentally beneficial and progressive living and working spaces through particular interventions and designs? We ponder over some suggestive short term interventions.
Reorganised market space
The thriving and vibrant fish market is located along the main access road of Diwale gaon. The space is an overwhelming sight of sellers, buyers, and all miscellaneous activities of any typical make-shift market space. The area in front of the market and on to the road has become a spillover zone for selling operations, creating vehicular bottlenecks. It is quite the scene! Chaos and disorganisation are becoming synonymous with the place due to inadequate waste management, seller and buyer waiting areas.
The proposal is to have raised platforms, which would improve the visual displays and promote cordial interactions between the buyer and seller. These platforms can have arrangements to have temporary makeshift roofing structures to give shade besides protection during monsoon season. The raised platforms will also ensure effective waste management. Further, the design would be done in clusters to concentrate the user throng in a confined space, and be replicated as modules with growth of the business.
Skill Enhancement Centre
Speaking with Devi Koli, one of the fisherwomen in the fish market, helped us understand the ground realities of the changing scenarios- “Due to challenges of urbanisation, today's youngsters have been opting out of fishing and venturing into different occupations. Children here do not want to pursue fishing as a profession anymore saying it's not economical to sustain in the city today with the generated income.” Accordingly, providing a fishery skill enhancement centre with understanding market management skills, and teaching age-old traditional learning’s with their enthusiasm and a contemporary approach, as well as establishing links with nearby schools and institutions, will protect and enhance the lives and livelihoods of fishermen and the communities who rely on this way of life, as well as ensuring that future generations of Koli fishermen continue to pursue fishing as a career.
Striking a conversation with the womenfolk of Diwale gaon, they showed a keen interest to start a cooperative centre of “Mahila Udyog Bachat Gat”. An endeavour to set up a seafood centre with ready to eat local cuisine- seafood prepacked to deliver to local offices and residents in the vicinity, an idea mooted by Meenakshi, a third-generation resident of Diwale Gaon. This centre would have bhakris, fish pickles and other cooked cuisine dishes sourced from local residents, creating an additional income for hard-pressed households, says Gomutai. “We are indeed very proud to showcase our cooking skills with the art of cuisine passed down from generations.”
An idea if conceptualised would have the potential to be developed as a popular tourist attraction. The Koli fishing community may bring about much-needed improvements and would serve to enhance the lives of fishermen while also assisting the business in adapting to the rapidly changing conditions it is now experiencing.
With the words of wisdom passed from generation to generation discussed at otlas, Narayan Koli says that large amounts of puja rituals leftovers, coconut offerings, waste materials, ashes are being dumped into the sea, which has a direct impact on the area's ecology. His childhood friend Vasudev added that – due to pollution and urbanisation, the reduction in fish capture has impacted on their income, their lives, and also affected their health. “The modern education system, where our children study, has changed our daily way of living and all has gone for a toss with reference to our way of living during our childhood days.” Being in talks and comprehending the retention ponds built in Navi Mumbai, we came up with a proposal for providing a public place where residents can wash, worship, and make offerings as per their beliefs. This promenade would function as a barrier and a filtering system from the main creek, which would help conserve and sustain the biodiversity of the place.
These initiatives would be building blocks for creating a thriving community and a support system for the everyday lives of people living in gaothan area precincts located in the planned metropolitan city of Navi Mumbai.