Spatiality of the future - Cloud in the city

Course Mentors:  Ravindra Punde, Komal Gopwani, Abhijeet Ekbote, Vastavikta Bhagat

The city is seen as an accumulation of layers, layers of natural and man made systems and its gradual transformations through various human imaginations and interventions. While these could be many, we see them as three major formulations, referred to as urban stratums. A set of thick layers that are formulated through several human interventions over time. These layers intermingle to disrupt and reconstitute themselves into new layers and ecotones over time. The three stratums are seen as an ecological landscape, the landscape of economic order and the stratum of digital technologies - The Cloud.

The first Stratum- The Ecological Landscape
This is seen as a base layer set out as a natural system. For long this system has been largely undisturbed. Though agriculture and other productive activities have added layers of intervention and reconstituted ecological systems, these have not been seen to be detrimental to human habitation. Its thickness continues to constitute various ecosystems.

The Second Stratum - The landscape of Economic Order
The second Stratum is a significant formation. It began to gain its thickness after the introduction of a new economic order proposed by the Scottish philosopher & economist Adam Smith. The ground was reconstructed with a new imagination. Imaginations of a new value system that produced new ways of organising human life around some of the key principles that form the economic order. This was based on a new order of production and consumption. This second stratum of ground intermingled with the first stratum to produce a new ecology that generated several conditions that benefited mankind. Location, territories, boundaries become essential elements of this economic order that worked with ideas of the wealth of nations, territory, location, new definitions of development and its measurement, trade and currently globalisation. All of this leads to a process of urbanisation and a certain urban form. On one hand it produced an improved quality of life, however, on the other, it also generated other forms of habitation that were unexpected or undesirable.

During the Semester 9 academic session 2019-20 the school looked at these two stratrums and  their interplay. It investigated the possibilities of resolving the emergent conflicts that made the city of Mumbai vulnerable to impacts of climate change, with specific focus on the sea level rise.
The students developed a vision for a new negotiated urban form through understandings of the conflicts generated by the two stratums.

The third Stratum : the formation of Cloud
The third stratum has been emerging over some time recently. The city as lived is going through a technological change. This change will need a closer interrogation of its spatial generative process. This stratum to a substantial extent disrupts the very idea of nations, territory, location manner and nature of trade. transactions and more recently globalization.In its basic configuration this stratum is ubiquitous and restructures the idea of physicality, presence and time. At another level, the digital world has developed widespread and deeper connections with things. There are many more things connected today to the internet than people. These things have a personality by way of intelligence and behavior. The internet of things generates new opportunities for new formulations of spatial systems. However, in the digital environment transformations and redundancies are rapid. The speed of transformation is increasing while at the same time space between two events is narrowing,thereby requiring systemic agility to absorb changes to readjust itself.

The third stratum is generating a new ecology with the current environment. It will disrupt many of the existing formulations and spatial arrangements to make way for new ones. Space and spatiality will require new definitions that range from the built environment as understood in today's world, virtual spaces of new imaginations to absence of space defined by its nirgun and nirakar existence.
What would this new agile, non spatial, location independent and temporal form of the ‘Urban’ be and how would it juxtapose itself with the predominant layers of the existing system?