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Priya Khanchandani

MA work

Title of Dissertation: A New India: Defining Urban Space in Navi Mumbai

Navi Mumbai is a new city that sits across a narrow creek from Mumbai. Right outside the train station in the district of Vashi is an expanse of open space: a giant, paved square bounded by the Raghuleela, a shopping mall with a conical, glass roof that twists into the sky. The square has no hawkers. No food stalls selling buttered sandwiches. No makeshift shrines. There is barely any trash and no open drains. In other words, none of the paraphernalia of the average Mumbai street. How and why this new, different city came about is the focus of my dissertation.

As India urbanises at a scale and velocity that dwarfs previous human experience, new cities like Navi Mumbai are being built across the nation, giving way to new forms of spatial design. Navi Mumbai’s name drew on the power of the 'new' to discard the past and start afresh. I examine how the city’s urban design and architecture reflect the aspirations of a nation in the process of radical redefinition between the 1960s and today.

By visually analysing space, I reveal how the 'leisurfication' of Navi Mumbai – through its parks, malls and gated communities – turned it into a middle-class haven, contrary to its originally socialist agenda. These new genres of space are exposed as being based on exclusionary politics, social division and the privatisation of public space. This raises questions about the moral imperative of urban designers to foster social cohesion.

Info

  • Priya Khanchandani profile image
  • MA Degree

    School

    School of Fine Art

    Programme

    MA History of Design, 2013

  • Title of Dissertation: A New India: Defining Urban Space in Navi Mumbai

    Navi Mumbai is a new city that sits across a narrow creek from Mumbai. Right outside the train station in the district of Vashi is an expanse of open space: a giant, paved square bounded by the Raghuleela, a shopping mall with a conical, glass roof that twists into the sky. The square has no hawkers. No food stalls selling buttered sandwiches. No makeshift shrines. There is barely any trash and no open drains. In other words, none of the paraphernalia of the average Mumbai street. How and why this new, different city came about is the focus of my dissertation.

    As India urbanises at a scale and velocity that dwarfs previous human experience, new cities like Navi Mumbai are being built across the nation, giving way to new forms of spatial design. Navi Mumbai’s name drew on the power of the 'new' to discard the past and start afresh. I examine how the city’s urban design and architecture reflect the aspirations of a nation in the process of radical redefinition between the 1960s and today.

    By visually analysing space, I reveal how the 'leisurfication' of Navi Mumbai – through its parks, malls and gated communities – turned it into a middle-class haven, contrary to its originally socialist agenda. These new genres of space are exposed as being based on exclusionary politics, social division and the privatisation of public space. This raises questions about the moral imperative of urban designers to foster social cohesion.

  • Degrees

  • Diploma, Legal Practice Course, The College of Law, 2006–7; Diploma, Graduate Diploma in Law, BPP Law School, 2005–6; BA & MA (Hons), Modern Languages, University of Cambridge, 2005; BA (Hons), Modern Langauges, University of Cambridge, 2004
  • Experience

  • Director & exhibition co-curator, Word Art Collective, London, 2012–13; Curatorial internship, Indian Art & Clotheworkers' Project, Victoria &Albert; Museum, London, 2012–13; Trustee, Chisenhale Gallery, London, 2010–13; Lawyer, Clifford Chance LLP, London, 2007–11
  • Exhibitions

  • Word Art, Arch302, Hoxton, London, 2012
  • Awards

  • Winner, The Montjoie Prize, Royal College of Art, 2012; Winner, The Asian Writer Short Story Prize, 2012
  • Conferences

  • 'Five Degrees: Launch of The Asian Writer Anthology', The South Asian Literature Festival, Bush Theatre, 2012; A Done Deal', Short story reading, South Asian Women's Creative Collective, Rich Mix, 2012; 'The Display of Indian Objects at the British Museum', Workshop on Exhibition Design, National Institute of Design, 2012; 'The Wild West: Was Postmodernism a Western Phenomenon?', Gallery talk, Friday Late, Victoria & Albert Museum, 2011
  • Publications

  • Kofi Allen, Artist, Priya Khanchandani, Wasafiri, 2013; 'Objectifying Mad Men', Priya Khanchandani, Unmaking Things, 2011–13; 'The Rakhi: A Design for Modern India', Priya Khanchandani, Disegno, 2012; 'A Portrait of Berlin', Priya Khanchandani, Conde Nast Traveler, 2012