To work with communities in a properly inclusive way, time is key, especially if the goal becomes to build something.
There was little time to help communities process the information, deal with contestations and choose a truly participatory yet small, co-build project. Surprisingly, communities and their processes became our biggest challenge. We had recently entered the project community and were only beginning to discover the power dynamics that underpinned their relationships. On the other hand, urbanxchanger was a specific, short term design intervention for co-building, so obviously the bigger pieces of the picture – permeability, edge, front - were never debated. While we did recognize the time constraint within the urbanxchanger idea, we do perceive from the communities their urgency for change posed to building, changing and transforming urban space as a demand to be faced. Perhaps we were also missing the ‘glue’ (sutradhar) that was holding all the pieces, and us, together.
[Dr. Renu Khosla, Centre for Urban and Regional Excellence, CURE]