Design Innovation Centre (DIC)

The Design Innovation Centre has been set up at the School of Design, Ambedkar University Delhi (AUD) as a Spoke under the Hub and Spoke Scheme funded by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) and coordinated by School of Planning & Architecture Delhi as a Hub. The vision is to promote innovation culture and sustainable design through higher education institutions in India. The Centre seeks to create socially, environmentally sustainable services, emerging from multi-disciplinary design thinking and continuous engagements with the urban populace, in order to address contemporary problems of unsustainable urban development.

 

Mission

The mission of the centre is to approach obstacles to urban sustainability, spanning across various focus areas, fueled by inter-disciplinary understanding and innovation through design.

 

Objective

The main objectives of the DIC are mentioned below:

  • Promote a culture of innovation and design, grounded in nuanced inter-disciplinary knowledge.
  • Create and develop services aimed at addressing specific problems of unsustainability in the urban context.
  • To create an ecosystem facilitating students and faculty to take their innovative ideas from classrooms/labs to market/people.
  • Promote knowledge sharing and collaboration amongst industry, academia, government institutions, research laboratories etc.
  • Engage with the urban community and involve people from all social groups, irrespective of any disparities in these endeavors for successful, multi-faceted interventions.

Current Projects

The DIC has two project engagements that it is presently developing into these intended services. The projects stipulated as part of this initiative are to be realized eventually as sustainable enterprises with demonstrated value of innovation and social impact. Information pertaining to these working projects is provided below:

  • Urban Farming
  • Last Mile Connectivity

Urban Farming

In light of the poor quality of produce, often contaminated with heavy metals, chemical colors and growth hormones that can wreak havoc in the human body, a desperate need for access to good quality produce can be noticed all around the country. Organic farming, in virtue of its process is quite unaffordable for the larger part of the population. This challenge of making safe and better quality produce accessible to the households across various socio-economic groups took us back to our ancestral homes. Growing vegetables for consumption in the house itself is in no way a new concept. This practice formed a part of various cultures across the country in the past. Thus the project aims at bringing back the tradition in the new space of the present.

Many experiments by driven individuals have shown that urban farming is possible at many scales in the urban sphere. The project explores the possibility of growing vegetables, herbs, ornamentals and air purifying plants amongst others, in households with limited spaces, like apartments. Constructing installations made out of mainly recycled materials in easy DIY processes to grow different kinds of crops, in all sorts of spaces that residential areas throughout the city can offer is the critical element of the project.

The project provides support in the following areas too:

  • Understanding space and setting up garden.
  • The processes and techniques of farming involved in setting up and maintaining a garden.
  • An extensive knowledge base that provides information about the growth conditions, nutritional values etc. of vegetables and other plants.

Building community engagement and bringing together people from all walks of life around these practices is a foreseen outcome of this project. Domestic helps can also be made a part of the tradition by training them to take care of the gardens in the households that employ them or by reaching out to their households itself. Community based, localized farming in the commons (already happening in various regions) could be a future direction of the project.

 

Last Mile Connectivity

Transportation is integral to the everyday orchestrations of urban life and imperative for socio-economic progress in a rapidly urbanizing city. Indian cities rely highly on mixed-mode commuting for intra-city transportation. Delhi’s transportation sector is a vibrant mix of state owned and informal transit systems, which come together in a complex fashion. The mixed-mode commuting transpires through mass-transit systems (Buses and the Delhi metro) acting as the long distance carriers and para-transit systems such as cycle rickshaws, e-rickshaws, auto rickshaws etc., that serve the demands of first and last mile connectivity. Easy access, predictability and seamless transfer from one mode of transport to another are considered to be among the deciding factors of efficiency of a city’s transportation sector. In a city like Delhi, it becomes difficult to achieve these features in light of the diverse ownerships of different transit systems. The conflicts among these systems and the lack of planning in the informal systems, renders them ineffective, unsafe, inaccessible and sometimes unaffordable across various situations.

The project aims at understanding the characteristics of each mode of para-transit system and making them more accessible, predictable and reliable. The larger aim of the project is to make these modes easily available at the locations that are in need of specific services by working around technology based solutions, while simultaneously uplifting and incentivizing the operators who shall be part of the service.

The present work is based around the cycle rickshaw operators in seeking to build a cheap, replicable tracking and communicating technology to connect the commuters with the rickshaw operators. The technology would help the commuters to track the rickshaw and communicate the pickup location among other variables, along with the possibility of data collection and analytics to further augment the service. Another potential factor in the service is its replicability across many modes of transport in the city, informal as well as formal.

 

Contact:

AUD Kashmere Gate Campus Lothian Road, Kashmere Gate, Delhi 110006

Telephone: 011-23863746

 

Email: info.dicataud@gmail.com

 

Website: http://www.dicataud.wordpress.com