Opening 'Jugaad Urbanism' at AIA New York

Today opened the exhibition 'Jugaad Urbanism' at the American Institute of Architects' New York chapter. The exhibition is the first of its kind in the US to elaborate on contemporary Indian urbanism and is accompanied by collateral programs such as a symposium, several panels and a family day, all happening at the AIA NY.
'Jugaad Urbanism' is organized in four sections according to (urban) resources: land, water, energy and transportation and is built up from two perspectives: The 'jugaad' approach, representing urban innovations, fixes and everyday appliances reflecting the meaning of the Hindi word 'jugaad' which refers to an innovative fix, a bending of rules or a new way of using resources. And, the (architectural, urban, landscape) designer's perspective to decide to seek (design) solutions which are informed by these adaptive urban strategies.
'Jugaad urbanism' shows us positive approaches to a lively, sustainable ('green') urban development on the Indian subcontinent, which respect, learn from, and integrate urban 'jugaad' (grassroots) phenomena and mix these with well reflected architectural ingenuity. The resulting design projects manage to tackle pressing urban issues in India in an individual way without overpowering the local stakeholders and thereby lead to solutions and structures of unique beauty and adequacy.
The exhibition is a dense showcase of projects with an inspiring, project-related intelligence and an example for an architectural practice which is becoming more intensively engaged with social complexity and participatory methods. The show itself successfully manages to avoid a romantic view of the designer as savior and negates the (urban development) approach of mere improvement-oriented, quick and superficial fixes to urban issues and specific problems. 
It is rather a strong sense of 'togetherness' which is celebrated in the exhibition, witnessing a reciprocal relationship between responsible designers and clients which are fully engaged by the design. It is up to the visitor to take the lesson home for his or her own practice: Why not embracing everyday experience, innovation and wisdom? Thereby producing work which is culturally more embedded, able to truly speak to the users, and, informs their daily lives towards the better.
'Jugaad Urbanism' is opened until May 21st at the American Institute of Architects' New York chapter.

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