Indian Cities Sanitation And Equity
Domus India|February 2020
Indian Cities Sanitation And Equity
At the recently concluded edition of the Chicago Architecture Biennial, RMA Architects (Mumbai + Boston) presented an ongoing research project mapping the sanitation landscape in Mumbai and beyond. It explored social, technical and cultural challenges surrounding sanitation infrastructure and suggested potential design and planning solutions. The central component of the installation represented a community toilet building in India. The area occupied by this installation would typically house 12 toilets in Mumbai, serving up to 17,401 people. The video projections in the installation depict the lived experiences of those residents of the city who grapple with extremely limited access to sanitation infrastructure.

Public health continues to be one of the biggest global challenges. Lack of access to sanitation underpins the many domains of inequity around the world. This condition is exacerbated by climate change and population displacement. Issues of public health are not bound by the regular binaries by which we organise the world around us: the rural and urban, public and private, or rich and poor. It does not recognise political or national boundaries. The inequity of access to sanitation infrastructure has a bearing on the health of the planet. How can architecture and planning engage with this issue?

This exhibition is an attempt to represent the crisis of sanitation both globally and within India and Mumbai with the intent of propelling a rethinking of the issue. The problem of sanitation is broader than a need for more toilets; it includes diverse social, cultural, technological, economic and environmental factors.

Indian Cities Sanitation and Equity Text courtesy RMA Architects

The exhibition situates this ecology through four parts:

- Sanitation Inequity in the World

- The Ecology of Sanitation

- Sanitation Inequity in India and Mumbai

- Sanitation in Film

Exhibition Layout

The central component of the installation represents a community toilet building in India. The area occupied by this installation would typically house 12 toilets in Mumbai and serve up to 17,401 people. The video projections in the installation depict the lived experiences of those residents of Mumbai who grapple with extremely limited access to sanitation infrastructure.

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February 2020