Learning Reconfigured: Challenging and Negotiating Urban Perceptions
Streets in contemporary Indian cities are a confluence of formal and informal flows of human endeavour, with the informal moulding and wrapping itself around the “official” with varying degrees of legality. The push from human needs, from fundamental survival up to functions of commerce, social and political expression, finds its outlet on the streets in such a way that there is a constant tug-of-war between policy and its interpretation, between government/private installations and their repurposing. Existing structures, systems and space are subverted for use, and there is a commonly understood term for this culture—jugaad (Pic. 1). Applications adapt to locations even as they face constant threats of displacement from local authorities. This leads to minimal investment in infrastructure, and pushes towards the jugaad approach. The nature of these make-shift reconfigurations of space and material lends an ephemeral quality to the urban experience.