Mark Lamster | Essays

Jugaad Urbanism and the New Architectural Modesty

Much in the spirit of MoMA's recent Small Scale, Big Change exhibition of socially engaged architecture, New York's Center for Architecture recently opened its own show of design for the under-served, Jugaad Urbanism: Resourceful Strategies for Indian Cities. While there's no precise English translation for the term jugaad, make-do or jury-rigged approximate the idea. The show's subject is India, but the message is clear: the jugaad spirit is applicable the world over. I review the show in the March issue of the Architectural Review. A taste:

It’s been more than a century since the great Chicago architect and urbanist Daniel Burnham advised, ‘make no little plans, for they have no magic to stir men’s blood.’ Today, big plans of the architectural sort have a way of stirring the blood, but for reasons contrary to Burnham’s intention: how often do we hear objections to hubristic modern projects that are too big, too expensive, too inhumane, too paternalistic and too impractical? In our postcolonial age, architecture’s utopian impulse has been humbled by a guilty conscience and a heady dose of pragmatism.

Also worth, a read: Avinash Rajagopal's Metropolis review of on an exhibition, at Cornell, on the Tato Nano, which also happens to be on display in the Jugaad show.

Jobs | May 19