Mumbai – While the Indian metropolis is largely reliant on its sprawling highways, architecture studio MVRDV is putting a community-centric spin on an elevated section of the Senapati Bapat Marg roadway. With the roadway stretching nearly seven miles through the heart of the city, the studio’s One Green Mile project promotes safer travel zones for pedestrians, with bike paths, zebra crossings and enhanced lighting.
Meanwhile, its biophilic design promotes biodiversity, provides a cool break from the city’s high temperatures and dampens noise pollution. Facilities range from play equipment and seating areas to a performance space and reading room. Through this project, MVRDV transforms the ‘necessary evil’ of highways into a space that benefits residents and the surrounding environment.
‘What if we expected highways to give something back to the places they cut through?’ asks the studio. ‘A flyover can provide some shade in a hot city, and creates a small area of land that can’t be developed with tall buildings. It’s not such a crazy idea to make that into a public space.’ In future, more urban environments are likely to build such spaces to mitigate the negative impact of city infrastructures.
Urban planners should take inspiration from this project and explore how it can be replicated in similarly dense city environments. How might such areas also be used to grow fruit, vegetables and herbs?