Adaptive Neighborhood


a model for an adaptable environment


Project Type_Strategic Masterplan
Size_240,000 sqm

If space adapts to activities, we can have a neighborhood that can sustain and suitable for the future. We propose a responsive system in the neighborhood that will make the space adapts to activities. The projects also introduces digital tools such as augmented and virtual reality into urban planning process.

Metropolitan cities in India especially Mumbai are growing at a phenomenal rate, most of which is haphazard and unplanned, and neglecting future environmental and unplanned and neglecting future environmental
and social impacts. Recent development is geared towards economic gains for the extreme lacks or ignorant to acknowledge the existing social relationships in-between people and between people and space. And the new high rise typology have failed to acknowledge the community and social spaces and thereby corrupting the existing social fabric of the city. With such pattern of growth, cities tend to become monotonous without any specificity of the place, and thus losing the city’s identity and ruining the existing social networks.

First we raise the following questions: What strategy do we follow to ensure that the both social and economic qualities of the space are not lost in transformation and still allow people to upgrade their lifestyles? What is the spirit of the space that should be kept while others can be change?

BDD Chawls Mumbai

Mumbai Metropolitan Area / BDD Chawls Worli (Project Site)

The site of design studio is BDD chawls, locating in Worli,Mumbai,India. This part of the city was pre-diminatly occupied by textile mills in the begnning of 20th century and correspondingly crawls were built to house the mill workers and migrant workers. The Worli BDD chawls cover an area of 24 hectares, 121 buildings and with a population of 38,400.

The BDD chawls in Mumbai are originally built for migrant male workers, they were predominately located in the heart part if the city. These mass scaled rented houses gained popularity in Mumbai during the beginning of the 20th century as a result of the textile industries were booming in the city. To accommodate the masses of workers, crawls are designed as a suitable answer which provided a single room and other shared spaces like toilets. The condition in BDD chawls are no longer suitable for both basic resident livings and other activities. And with the fall of the textile industries, people in the crawls are no longer mill workers. In the meantime, people living in the chawls tried to build new additions to meet their new daily life and conduct informal commercial activities.


If Space adapts to activities, the we can have the neighborhood sustain and suitable for the future. We propose a responsive system in the neighborhood that will make the space adapts to activities. The input will come from citizen decision ( which activity to perform) and real time data which includes traffic flow, pedestrian flow and weather data. The output will be the adaptive surface of the space that can change responsive to the input, conducting enclosure,transformation,expansion and connection.
These new adaptable spaces will be able to inhabit variety of activities, such as informal activities, social activities and even generate different configurations for mobility. All the spaces will transform both with citizen input and real-time data.

Adaptability Diagram

Transformation of the space

formation of the masterplan

So we first created a connectivity grid, which was based on the existing size of circulation corridors of BDD chawls, then the circulation grid is interrupted by the existing road and adjusted by the size of main courtyard. As the result if the circulation grid becomes the corridors, it generated series of courtyards that are connected through corridors, it’s not a closed loop of circulation, but instead it’s a network of circulation, embracing both formal and informal activities and social interactions.

Adaptable Spaces that are related with informal activities are attached to the corridors of circulations. Then naturally as a result, housing units are attached to corridors along with adaptable spaces.


We implementing 2 strategies for our masterplan of the neighbourhood:
1)Poly-centric distribution of facilities(Walkable Slow Neighbourhood)
2)Interconnection of corridors,courtyards,adaptable spaces and residential units.

Masterplan_Ground Level


The physical spaces will be no longer suitable for future living and conducting informal activities and social activities. But the activities are the qualities we want to keep. So we proposed a adaptive neighborhood plan for the redevelopment of BDD chawls, which will preserve the social and economic activities qualities and keep the identity in the neighborhood. As we all know, through the changes of tune, activities will change and grow. The space suitable for the activity today will not be suitable for tomorrow. So here raise another question: can we provide an adaptive space for activities?

green spaces, mobility and commercial activity

Through our analysis and on-site interview, we categories all the activities into informal activities, formal activities and social activities. The formal activities are services and facilities, for example: education, cultural, health care, sport, religious, street market, gathering and commerce, which they performed in a dedicated space, the informal activities(services and activities),which they performed in an informal space( such as residential or public/ semi-public space) like manufacturing, daycare, laundry, cooking and repairing, and the social activities which performed in public spaces as gathering space, street market etc.

adaptable spaces


Courtyards and in-between spaces takes an important role in the existing neighborhood as the center for entertainment and activity. The new proposal generates series of courtyards throughout the neighborhood which, also aims to keep similar relationships, and established them as a focal point and center for main activities in the neighborhood. 



phases of the strategic masterplan

Adaptive Neighborhood is a project of IaaC, Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia developed at Master in Advanced Architecture in 2016 by:
Students: Mohit Chaugule, Chiara Dall’Olio, Caglar Gokbulut, Rahul Pudale, Chenghuai Zhou
Faculty: Areti Markopoulou and Bruno Moser
Faculty Assistants: Marco Ingrassia and Angelos Chronis