When Opportunities are Obstacles…

Forbes reports on the largest slum of Mumbai, Dharavi. Due to surrounding commercial success, Dharavi’s property values are estimated to be worth about $10 billion. The government is marketing better housing, hospitals and school for some of Dharavi residents, not all. For some small businesses the government marketing is an opportunity. For others with very large families residing and running a business under the same roof, an offer of a 1-bedroom apartment is the obvious obstacle.

From Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum’s current run of the exhibition “Design for the other 90%”:

“The majority of the world’s designers focus all their efforts on developing products and services exclusively for the richest 10% of the world’s customers. Nothing less than a revolution in design is needed to reach the other 90%.”
—Dr. Paul Polak, International Development Enterprises

But what of the richest 10%’s desire to redesign for the residing 90%, the poor, in Dharavi? The spin on “revolution in design” in Dharavi is the imposition of values by the surrounding wealthy 10%. Basically, a game of keeping up appearances that yields no real value to Dharavi’s current residents.

Forbes reports 600 million + people live in India’s slums and 10% of that population lives in Mumbai. “240 million Indians still live below the government’s poverty line.”

See the BBC‘s Life in a Slum

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