Smt. K.L. Tiwari College of Architecture
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Urban villages in Indian cities are urbanized villages, that is, original villages that have conformed themselves to the urbanization around them. In India, they are existing pockets of old villages that have gotten cramped among the rapidly rising city around them.

Small and intimate
  • The area can comfortably be covered on foot
  • The scale of the buildings and spaces is suitable and comfortable
  • The residential density can sustain a range of key services
Spatial identity
  • The area has defined boundaries and an identifiable centre
  • The area has its own atmosphere and sense of place
  • There are community landmarks
Traditions and collective memory
  • There are regular community events and festivals
  • Residents create collective memory
Designed for social interaction
  • There is ample public and green space, which is used in many ways
  • Facilities are provided for community events and everyday activities
  • The central hub generates social interaction, and there is a network of walkable routes
Locally driven and locally responsive
  • Residents are involved in managing the life of the village
  • There is a long-term vision that residents support
  • Leaders represent the community and reflect its concerns
  • The community is well served by both public and private transport
  • Core services are available locally
  • There is a mix of uses
A mixed community
  • There is a mix of ages, backgrounds, incomes and housing tenures
  • Residents know and trust each other
  • There are long-term residents who provide continuity.
Following are live examples of Urban villages in MUMBAI
  • Versova
  • Bandra village
  • Khotachi vadi
  • Marve
  • Uttan
  • Also many more

What causes urban village?

Land has been seen as a key asset for the poor in rural areas in the international level, loss of land is also the key problem of urban villages. Loss of land causes the informal development and dynamic changing of urban villages.

Tread for Urban village
  • Insufficient Infrastructure
  • Narrow streets
  • Increase in Vehicular Traffic
  • Insufficient parking spaces

What are the benefits of urban village design?

Urban villages create opportunities for locals to have their life needs met at home. By home, I mean their urban village home. Such convenient living is achieved through each village containing all of their much-loved conveniences, including cafes and restaurants, shopping, wellbeing services and leisure groups, but also their work.

It results in monetary and time savings, greater flexibility and more opportunities for meaningful activity.

Standard versions of tower living and large properties do not make for a great base to grow and nurture human connection. The physicality of such buildings is so enlarging and isolating. For me, it unleashes a feeling that I am one in a million. There’s no homely vibe or real relationships, and a reluctance to reach out to others can kick in.

Urban villages can break down those walls. Home surrounds are usually smaller prompting people to head out of their ‘shelters’ and to the shops, parks and social spaces below.

They bring people together through their close confines, shared facilities and community events; through engagement in gyms, cooking and art classes, garden allotments and places of worship. In doing so, urban village locals shape their ‘village spirit’ by facilitating multiple points of common interests, for like-minded people to connect. They are interacting and strengthening their personal connections with each other. 

They are taking in the fresh air of life, adding vibrancy to their region and feeling valued in their own community because they Belong.

With well thought-out businesses, community services and organisations located in these urban villages, I can see there are many benefits to its local workers because everything is ‘right around the corner’. I have been thinking, such design gives greater flexibility to manage one’s day, work hours and travel time because there is limited dead time. One can quickly pop home to put the wet washing on the line or head out for an invigorating power walk. These little pauses throughout the day are akin to the old ‘smoko’ breaks that workers were previously allowed.

Also A designed or planned Urban village is need for Preventing Urban Villages from Transitioning into Slums

Change … for the good

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Ar.Vaishali Thakur

Assistant Professor at Smt. K. L. Tiwari College of Architecture

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