Mumbai Environmental Social Network (MESN) in collaboration with Solomon Guggenheim Foundation launched a design competition in November 2012 seeking a redesign of Mumbai’s busiest and most choked traffic junction, Kala Nagar near Bandra Kurla Complex. The competition, administered by Lord Cultural Resources Private Limited, overlooked by Trupti Amritwar Vaitla of BMW Lab, and supported by Vivek Phansalkar, Joint Commissioner of Police, Traffic of Mumbai, was open to students and professionals; it challenged applicants to restructure the junction’s traffic flow and explore ways to reimagine its infrastructure with new public spaces and pedestrian flow and function. A jury that included former Bogotá mayor Enrique Peñalosa and Mumbai traffic police commissioner Vivek Phansalkar selected the top five projects from a pool of 43 entries from urban design professionals and students worldwide.
The selection committee awarded three honors in the professional category and two honors in the student category. A ‘people’s choice’ winner, selected from either category, was decided by more than 200 community votes at the skywalk of the Kala Nagar Junction and visitors to the Lab at the Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum.
About the winning entries:
In the professional category: Radhika Mathur presented a plan featuring a pedestrian skywalk and dedicated bus lanes; Sweta Parab and Hrishikesh More designed a series of circular pedestrian promenades; and Mayuri Sisodia and Kalpit Ashar proposed weaving together multiple modes of transportation on two floating, angular islands.
In the student category: Andres Perez and his group suggested a wide, tree-shaded pedestrian plaza, while a team from the D. Y. Patil College of Architecture included an elevated pedestrian walk with seating and concessions tucked under a freeway overpass.
And lastly, the competition also presented a people’s choice award to Vedika Tulsiyan, Jaynish Shah, and Karan Sancheti, who proposed an ambitious pedestrian ramp with bleacher seating capped by an elevated, gable-roofed garden.
Now the question to Mumbai: Whose entry they will select and implement to actually solve the problem? Is it going to be one picked by the citizens or the one chosen by esteemed panel of judges?