When we speak of Design Thinking, what do we think? Is it Design, or Thinking? And where is the Thinking when we are creating solutions for the public? As Chennai drowns due to lack of Thinking, isn’t it time we looked at Public Spaces more, and focus on “Citizen Centred Design”?
A classic example: an upcoming Bangalore pedestrian footbridge near Yeshwanthpur railway station across Tumkur Road. Pedestrians in the city hardly ever use the numerous skywalks Bengaluru has to offer, since these skywalks are constructed with little to no planning and often cause inconvenience. (Read about this “footbridge to nowhere” here and here)
Can we not think more, and Design urban solutions with greater Empathy? Clearly, in this case, the officials and designers who planned and built this thing didn’t bother to check with the users as to what their real needs, real pain was. They ended up solving the wrong problem, something like “How do we cross the road?” instead of what should have been solved: “How do we enter the station from the other side of the road?”
Apparently, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) wants 54 skywalks across the city. These are either important junctions where multiple roads meet, or mid-blocks with prominent properties on either sides requiring pedestrians to cross the road regularly.
In India, when we are planning Smart Cities, we must be smarter in Designing those cities. Can the city planners and administrators not consider Citizen’s pains before coming up with solutions? We badly need “Citizen Centred Design”. Or else we will be stuck with many such monuments of foolishness and waste.