In September 2023, we received an email with great news. We had been selected to develop a proposal for a project in a neighbourhood of our choice! The email was from re:arc - a Copenhagen-based organisation exploring and enabling diverse modalities of architecture and urban practices. re:arc enables community-led projects with a focus on planetary well-being and climate action through an initiative called the Practice Lab.
Every year re:arc selects seven to eight hyper-local architecture practices from around the world to be part of the ‘Practice Lab’. The selected practices are provided with the resources they need to work on projects that are valuable for the community and the environment. Our friends from Social Design Collaborative, based in Delhi, India were selected for the 2022 cohort. They work on issues of social justice, focusing on housing rights and gender inclusion.
re:arc’s vision recognises the huge gap that we at urbz have observed between people’s localised needs, experiences and wisdom and the ineffective outcomes of top-down initiatives which rarely acknowledge this. Re:arc’s mission is to bridge this gap by providing resources where they are needed. We were thrilled to be offered this opportunity and to pitch for our neighbourhood - Dharavi Koliwada - an urban fishing village (Koliwada) in the heart of Dharavi, Mumbai. As we worked on the proposal over two months, we connected with the re:arc team who gave us valuable feedback and guidance. Through this process, we felt deeply grateful and encouraged for our efforts to create new narratives of architecture and planning over the last decade.
We are excited to announce that in November, 2023 we were selected to be part of the second annual cohort of the Practice Lab! Our cohort includes practices from around the world that are looking for ways in which we can address the challenges of environmental degradation and climate change through the use of non-extractive local building materials and techniques (Worofila, Hand Over, Al Borde) creating retroactive infrastructures (Taller Capital), leveraging landscape for climate resilient environmental design (ORU, PAVA) and spotlighting humanitarian and social agendas (EVA Studio).