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Mumbai Bus Map

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Making Everyday Objects

While local histories, neighbourhood relations and tactical negotiations create intimate webs of information exchange in the city, urban collective memory is also structured by publicly available representations of the city’s space. The concepts and practices of mapping connect the “soft” information of everyday spaces with the “hard” information of the city’s grids and corridors. Both literally — as a plan of a physical space — and figuratively — as a constructed image of a society or culture — mapping is one of the most direct representations and interventions possible in urban space.

What one maps, where one locates, how one names, are significant and subversive of existing images, ideas and representations. Maps both tell us where we are, where we can go, and how we can get there — linking the realities of space to the possiblities of movement, and offering new ways of understanding and widening our imagination of the city and region.
Mumbai can be clearly imagined through its railway corridors, but information on the bus system is largely elusive. This generates a perceptive amnesia of entire sections of the city which are not directly connected to the railway system. Whereas the north-south geographies of home and workplace dominate our imagination of movement in the city, the east-west geographies of inter and intra-neigbourhood exchange are marginalized. This lack of information on local and lateral transport allows the creation of distinct and separate enclaves not connected to the mass rapid transport system and left out of the public imagination of residents, commuters, visitors and tourists.

Our idea is to make a comprehensive transport map for Greater Mumbai, designed as an everyday object that can be inexpensively reproduced and widely circulated on a copyleft basis. This map can become the basis for future community information systems for neighbourhoods and regions in the city, particularly those not recognized by or connected to the suburban railway network, and subject to different spatial and developmental pressures.

The process of making the map will include:

I. Mapping the transport network — rail corridors, railway stations, bus routes, bus stops, rickshaw/ taxi stands

II. Mapping major public spaces on a city and neighbourhood scale

III. Delineating local precincts with distinctive histories. This will involve consultation with local historians, urban geographers and sociologists.

IV. Mapping major landmarks in the city. The choice of these will also involve dialogue with other actors and communities in the city.


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