Mumbai: BMC to host urban design challenge

Updated: Dec 29, 2019, 07:48 IST | Arita Sarkar | Mumbai

City will have common signage for heritage sites; expert jury to vet entries from India and abroad.

The Fort precinct was declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 2018
The Fort precinct was declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 2018

After commencing work on the signage plan for the Victorian Gothic and Art Deco Ensemble in Fort, the civic body is now planning to extend the idea to the entire city. Senior civic officials said that they would organise an urban design challenge and encourage architects to submit designs which will then be vetted by a jury.

Based on the guidelines laid out by UNESCO, members of the Federation of Residents Trust (FORT) had presented a model of the plan that involved putting up different kinds of signages at 94 heritage buildings that are part of the ensemble. The BMC's heritage department is now working on implementing the plan. However, civic officials are now planning uniform signage for the rest of the city as well.

Civic officials said that the idea came from a corporate proposal they received recently to improve the look of public spaces in the city. An official working on the project said, "The civic body will conduct an urban design challenge where we'll invite entries from national and international architects for public utilities like street furniture, dustbins, street lights, road signage and tree guards. The selected designs will become a part of a detailed manual and later be implemented for the entire city."

Joint municipal commissioner, Ashutosh Salil, added, "We will invite suggestions for heritage areas and non-heritage areas. Two different juries will be formed and, in the end, we will have standardised designs that will improve the look of the city. The project will be done with the help of CSR funds," he said, adding that the competition will be held within the next two months.

While Fort precinct is the most popular heritage site in the city, there are 58 heritage precincts in Mumbai including gaothans. The signage plan for Fort aims to help enhance tourism, improve mobility and offer historical information about individual heritage buildings by installing different kinds of signages, including information plaques, wayfinder maps, wayfinder arrows, emblems and world heritage site tiles, among others.

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