Rural X Governance Representation of Indigenous through architecture by decoding the Warli ontology

Author: Jainami Shah
Site Location: Dahanu, Maharashtra
Institute: Kamla Raheja Vidyanidhi Institute for Architecture and Environmental Studies
Advisor: Jude Dsouza


The thesis intends to understand the distinctive identity formed by Indigenous communities by their
interconnected relationships with land and ecology.

Due to rapid urbanization, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) keeps extending its limits to the rurban peripheries. These forces have led to Industrial towns and supporting infrastructure for the metropolis being located on the outskirts of the cities leading to the depletion of the ecologies affecting the indigenous community. The tribal folklore is mainly oral and thus not valued and expressed in planning processes.

As of now the future identity of a landscape is purely hegemonic (ruling or dominant in a political context) and exploited for its resources. Participatory planning with the indigenous ideology can show a new model for a sustainable way of living – building – conserving. The dissertation attempts to address how to design and implement decision-making processes that enhance Indigenous lifeways (instead of gentrifying) and different aspects that would be instrumental in planning, governing, and developing the area.

It criticizes the nature of current development and tries to reimagine rural infrastructure and thus proposes smaller interventions that solves the lack of infrastructure while still preserving the ecology and the traditional way of life by improving the quality of common social spaces for political resistance. Here the thesis looks at the smallest form of governance the Gram Sabha (Pesa act) and how it can be activated. The site chosen for intervention was such that awareness would be activated within their daily routines.

The interventions spanned a series of scales- XS/S/M/L. From micro programmes such as rice mills, seating spaces and small infrastructures, to communal amenities for various activities and gatherings,
village level administrative programmes and festival spaces. The proposal is structured around the
imagination of Architecture as a catalyst managing Indigenous Knowledge through programmes of
dissemination, and expression, awareness building, vocational training and workshops


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