Jugaad in Public Spaces

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One of the definitions of ‘jugaad’ is that it is ‘a flexible approach to problem-solving that uses limited resources in an innovative way. On the Indian street, one sees innumerable instances of jugaad – the cobbler’s trunk secured with a metal chain to the building wall that abuts the footpath; the roadside secondhand bookseller who houses the book collection on a flight of steps that face the street; the tree as anchor for the puncture repair shop; the vendor who carefully positions his soft toys over the roofs of cars parked along the street as they come and go or the agarbatti seller who sits on the footpath with the fence that separates him from the road becoming a part of his goods display. 

 

There are several reasons why jugaad is a part of street life in our cities. One finds that for those working in the informal sector, access to capital is limited and resources are not plentiful. The informal worker therefore borrows from the public space of the city where no price or a small price can reduce or eliminate the overheads related to renting or ownership of a space. For many people, jugaad becomes a way to establish a place for themselves in the city that has unwritten rules of the street alongside the unanswered needs of one group or another. 

 

In this competition, we invited entries in the form of INTERVIEWS (audio files) or REFLECTIVE WRITINGS. with people who engage in jugaad on an everyday basis or with someone who has reflected upon it over time. The entries explored few of these questions: Why they do what they do, how does the jugaad better their lives and what change in the city and its public spaces might eliminate the need for this jugaad.

Featured Entries

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We would like to thank all those who participated in this competition. THANK YOU Abhishek Patel, Adithi Sumeet Samel, Aishwarya Chavan, Hemadri Desai, Kajal Patel, Kaveri Goswami, Meherzeen Cooper, Namrata Patel, Samthik, Sanika Biniwale, Siddharth Mahendra Bhole and Snehal Patel.