The Mumbai Anthropocene urban design research studio at the University of Michigan takes the geological age of Anthropocene as a call to re-imagine the terms and possibilities of housing in Mumbai. Drawing from work in the humanities, including Subaltern Studies, post-colonial theory and recent historical work directly engaging with geology and climate, the studio explores housing strategies specific to Mumbai as a place of globality. The usual terms of coding urban specificity – defined within a logic of development and financing – are reviewed and set aside. The studio considers Mumbai, firstly, as the most populous city in the most populous democracy in the world. As such, it becomes a site to investigate — at the close scale of the inhabited urban dwelling — the potential for democratic engagement with the various crises implied by the Anthropocene.
The http://mumbaianthropocene.tumblr.com/ blog collects student research, competition entries to be submitted to UN Habitat in January 2014, as well as invited essays.
The studio included a site visit to Mumbai with an exhibition of student work at Studio X and a roundtable discussion with local designers and urban researchers.