Speculating A Rapidly
Urbanised India 2030


Can design break complacent normalcy that peripheral development has gained? In a rapidly urbanising and transitioning India, design needs to act as a method to frame problem questions better before jumping to solutions.

Leveraging approaches of Critical Design a narrative is designed set in Future India 2030. The narrative aims to suspend the viewer from the present and give them a taste of a possibility. This possibility means to provoke the viewer into breaking their state of normal and hence, alter their perception of the current state of rapidly urbanising India.

Jan 2019 - Dec 2019
Treemouse Research & Design Pvt. Ltd, Gurgaon
National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad

Guides : Dr. Shilpa Das, Dr. Jignesh Khakhar

Student Winner at the Core77 Design Awards 2020 in Speculative Design.

Request more information via email - aarushibapna@gmail.com

The project has learned from approaches of Ethnography, Strategic Foresight, World Building, Speculative Design & Communication Design. It’s therefore transdisciplinary in its aim, approach and output. The questions that have guided the project are ‘How can Design contribute to this transition that will be? How can Design break the normalcy that it is?’

A film titled ‘News from the Future’ was created to communicate speculative stories from an urban village in Delhi*. One had to learn from the practices of film and video communication along with animation.

[* Urban villages are urban settlements in transition. This transition has acquired a permanent character of complacent normalcy. This phenomenon has been observed time and again in many rapidly urbanising areas. In academia, the ill-effects of such transitions are articulated very efficiently. The mainstream lacks this understanding of the social and cultural costs involved in such changes. Can Design break this normalcy through provocation and/or exaggeration? Shahpur Jat is only one such urban village. Delhi alone has 125 such urban villages. 227 villages classified as rural. Soon to be engulfed by the influx that will make Delhi the most populous city in the whole wide world.]

The stories are Design Fiction** in the form of news articles that are set in the future context of Shahpur Jat (the urban village). Thus, the film is a Design Fiction ‘object’ which aims at creating awareness of the future context of Shahpur Jat.

These stories/articles are designed to provoke as they are hyperboles of insights that were uncovered from an ethnographic study in Shahpur Jat. These can also be understood as a critique of the current reality.

[** The term design fiction ‘implies that the function of the object - what it does - is secondary to how it makes us think about the context in which it exists. The object is the site of discourse. These kinds of objects tend to be prototypes, resisting commodification and mass production. They often shock the viewer into a new awareness of the social context from which they emerge.’]