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Garden of Festivities
A community space for Dharavi Koliwada, Mumbai
March 2024 – ongoing


In collaboration with Alya AlZeyoudi, Zuza Bak, Lily Xu, Pooja Bhinde 
with mentors Kareena Kochery / Urbz, Matt Karau



Sitting on a currently derelict piece of land next to the mangroves and fish ponds of the Mithi River, the project aims to convert this space into a multipurpose community area used for fishing, recreation, and hosting various festivals throughout the year. The site serves as a threshold between Dharavi Koliwada, an indigenous fishing village in Mumbai, with reconnecting it with the river, and subsequently its past. As part of the Engineers for Social Impact class, we travelled to Mumbai for one week to develop the proposal and present it to the Koli Jamat Trust and Dharavi Fishermen’s Association, two key stakeholders who welcomed the project. The proposal is divided into three different phases.

All drawings are own work.



Phase 1: involves actions that can be taken immediately to begin to activate the space. This includes securing the site with a perimeter fence, beginning boat tours opening to the public to the mangroves, and creating asphalt art to physically connect the Koliwada to the site across the road.


Phase 2: begins after the events of the Nariyali Purnima coconut festival in September, when the site is cleared for the festivities. Facilities that can signal the permanent transition of the space are implemented. This includes fishermen’s offices, food stalls, and a trial jetty ramp for boats.


Phase 3: sees the permanent transformation of the space into the Garden of Festivities. A permanent concrete Ghat is installed on the riverside to allow people to connect to the river. A maidan (open public space) is maintained, while a final jetty for boats is installed, and boardwalks are built in the mangroves.



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© Gerald Jason Cruz 2024
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