A neglected area beneath Mumbai’s concrete Senapati Bapat Marg flyover has been transformed into a new community space in Mumbai, filled with amenities, greenery, and a unique visual identity improving the local community. The project was commissioned by Indian real estate firm Nucleus Office Parks and was designed by MVRDV and Mumbai-based architects StudioPOD, also with urban planners and AMS Consultants. As part of the One Green Mile project, StudioPOD designed the 1,800-meter-long promenade and transit systems across Senapati Bapat Marg, while MVRDV transformed the 200-meter-long empty space below the flyover into the Parel Baug community center. The design transforms an obtrusive piece of concrete structure into a community gathering place, adding much-needed facilities and plants, enhancing mobility, and giving the neighborhood a distinctive aesthetic identity. On a larger scale, the design establishes a new standard for underutilized public spaces in the dense Indian metropolis and presents a repeatable method for sustainable urban growth.

Mumbai's Neglected Space Beneath Flyover to be transformed Into A Community Space by MVRDV And StudioPOD - Sheet1
Flyover development_©mvrdv

The plan from StudioPOD originally resolved the traffic and street profiles, assisted in defining the program, and helped to determine the target audiences. To build on this, MVRDV designed sinuous blue stripes and applied this visual identity to every component of the area, presenting a One Green Mile idea that provides a joyful and comprehensive urban spatial experience. In addition to transforming the two-dimensional visual characteristics into a three-dimensional spatial experience and resulting in a hilly pavement environment, the landscape also creates a dynamic physical attraction. The area is made more commodious and accessible by the design, which improves connectivity for bikes and pedestrians.

Mumbai's Neglected Space Beneath Flyover to be transformed Into A Community Space by MVRDV And StudioPOD - Sheet2
Community space_©mvrdv

Accessibility and safety are enhanced by paving, bicycle lanes, and vivid, large-scale zebra crossings. By including a continuous mobility network and a mobility hub to promote cycling, it enhances accessibility. Along with programmatic components and urban furniture features, the area’s lighting design creates a recognizable space and guarantees 24-hour safety. MVRDV argues that by exploiting the space below and maximizing the value of the flyover, the project is an example of a circular economy strategy. It serves a new use as a sheltered, populated public area in addition to moving cars. Engineering characteristics to collect and purify monsoon water for irrigation of One Green Mile’s large plant network. One Green Mile is a model that can be used everywhere in the city because of its emphasis on inclusive, shaded green spaces.

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Night view_©mvrdv

In detail, the entire strip was separated into a number of public “rooms” by MVRDV, each serving a variety of purposes, including lounge, gym, covered seating area, concert venue, and reading room. Greenery is included into the design on retaining walls, planters, screens around the space, an arches at the entry, and other architectural elements to cool the area and reduce noise pollution while also promoting biodiversity. 

The One Green Mile project acknowledges the value of vacant and open spaces that are sometimes disregarded in the urban fabric of cities. These places can only be identified as marginal locations of the city because they are marked by neglect and a transition that defies description. Finding an alternative use for these spaces becomes more important when urban areas see fast growth and urbanization. Instead of being a burden on the city, they need to be turned into channels with fresh inputs for urban upgrading. Although a community area surrounded by flora that breathes fresh life into a barren space beneath or next to transportation infrastructure is undoubtedly novel to Mumbai, comparable initiatives have already been completed or are now under way in other cities across the world. San Francisco, Brooklyn, Miami, Seattle, and Toronto are some of these places. The Bentway is redesigning the underbelly of the Gardiner Expressway through a developing network of covered areas that provide fresh recreational options and distinctive outdoor venues for cultural programming. Today, it is the community’s vibrant new center, bustling with children every morning and evening.

Mumbai's Neglected Space Beneath Flyover to be transformed Into A Community Space by MVRDV And StudioPOD - Sheet4
Seating_©mvrdv

In any city, development is not only limited to high rise buildings and planned streets or zones. Instead, it is focused on the unique identity created by innovations, as in this case. As far as urban planning is concerned, it is imperative to keep in mind the users. It would be helpful if Mumbai could design a more pause point at those places that are totally unused. Development of the area under the flyover has a number of advantages, such as environmental and economic benefits. However, it can affect people’s behavior because it involves activities that are directly related to children. We are all aware of the availability of land and the necessity of flyovers in other cities. So, this successful design can be replicated in those cities as well. Therefore, by dividing a single land into two layers, two different purposes can be served on the same land. A huge impact can be made by this innovation in terms of guiding other designs for the development of some new places under one function as well.

References:

Online Sources

  1. MAKING INFRASTRUCTURE DO MORE: MVRDV COMPLETES ONE GREEN MILE IN MUMBAI, INSERTING A COMMUNITY SPACE BENEATH A FLYOVER(2022)_MVRDV

https://www.mvrdv.nl/news/4197/one-green-mile-completed-make-infrastructure-do-more

  1. One Green Mile : Parel Baug_POD
  2. https://studiopoddesign.com/portfolio-item/one-green-mile-2/

Image Sources

01_Flyover development_mvrdv

https://api.mvrdv.boerdamdns.nl/media/uploads/project/787/_SSM8197.jpg?width=1920

02_Community space_mvrdv

https://mvrdv.com/media/uploads/_SSM8302.jpg?width=1920

03_Night view_mvrdv

https://mvrdv.com/media/uploads/_SSM8655.jpg?width=1920

04_Seating_mvrdv

https://mvrdv.com/media/uploads/_SSM8320.jpg?width=1920

Author

Abhigna is a young architect who has a unique architectural way of interpreting things. Her interest lies in articulating sensible spaces according to the needs of society. She believes in the exploration of continuum architecture.

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