Understanding the Notion of Social Spaces within Market Streets

Author: Sayali Muzumdar | KRVIA – Post Graduate Program | 2021

Streets are the crucial part of cities, and with mixed-used pursuits, they become dynamic yet enigmatic. These pursuits speculate a celebration on the streets, creating a thread of character and culture for the city. The story weaves within the acts of sell, buy, roam, eat, shop, drive, live and embrace. The idea of a fair or a ‘mela’ is similar to this context. Where all the hustle and bustle starts at dawn, carries the festivity and faints towards the night. Gradually, with the concoction of social, commercial, and automotive concerns, streets have substantially become a pandemonium by overshadowing the street’s character and culture.  This study discusses the evolution of a commercial street, interdependencies of informal entrepreneurship weaved within the street’s celebration social spaces. Thus, a vivid network of formal and informal economies and their connections can be studied, invisible but strongly present. The social spaces in the city are mosaic pieces of ancient and trending cultures. Whether a street has any specific culture or agenda, analysis and empirical data can justify the same. Henri Lefebvre defines two interesting and intertwined ideas of Daily reality and Urban reality in the context of a city. Market activities are the result of deeper networks that run through the street and neighbourhood. With formal, sophisticated and luxury commerce comes the distinct and undeniable evidence of the informal entrepreneurship gracing these commercial streets. Several surveys demonstrate that informal entrepreneurship is a vital part of the city’s economic aspect in most of Mumbai. Festivity or celebratory aspects are nothing but the celebrative feeling of people who grace these markets to live, engage, and rejoice.

When people establish a relationship with space to pursue their livelihood, fulfil their temporal desires regarding buying new things and embrace the street-food culture, one can observe this phenomenon as a celebration of social activities mingled in a one-street experience. The selected sites of Irla Market, Mohammed Ali Road, and Colaba Causeway demonstrates the potential for reflecting this celebrative nature. Through the perception of a person visiting here, one can understand the crowd concentration areas, traffic congestion and functional appearance. The research suggests that the social space must be addressed wisely for people and vehicles’ secure co-existence—human perceptions of spaces to be examined thoroughly to carry out the study.

The proposal is to transform a Market-Street into Adaptive Street with Quality Public Space while enhancing the celebratory nature. Streetscape design and revitalization are crucial to resolving more significant city economic vitality, livability, and physical and social mobility. Adapting to the changing environment is necessary for human as well as urban places. Incorporating the contemporary & sustainable Urbanism ideologies into redesigning the social experience through streetscapes can embody the city’s resilience. Shared Street strategy is a vision for commercial and mixed-used streets where pedestrians have primary importance. The research concludes that notions or perspectives of spaces observed as celebratory are not just because of perceptions and conceptions but much more due to the connections, interactions, built form, space, and people manifesting activities.

Text & Image Credit: Sayali Muzumdar | Krvia – Post Graduate Program | Urban Design

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