Riverse is a journey initiated in 2010 by group of three urban professionals called Water Environs. The team’s working principles were;
- The awareness and meaningful understanding of the word ‘Nullah’
- Turning back yards into front yards
The disconnect and disassociation was very evident and hence mobilizing people was one of the initial steps undertaken by joining people’s movement called ‘River March’. Various clean-up drives, neighbourhood awareness campaigns were conducted within the neighbourhood. The activism was necessary to the team believed that dialogue with the administrative bodies is also essential to create the change. Local representative too joined hands and created roadways to get the officials on board to discuss the issue of rivers of Mumbai. On 29th Jan, 2016 a workshop was conducted with all the stakeholders of Dahisar river at MNP, Mumbai. The event act as a turning point for the project, it got the local voices and administrative officials on the same platform. The dialogue was initiated and the struggle began. Citizens numbers did catch the eye of the government officials, which started moving their machinery to develop a beautification project for the rivers of Mumbai. The proposals had several ground issues and lack of a sensitive approach. The premise of the project was based on engineering outlook rather than identifying the river as a living entity and then trying to address the ground issues which intensified with time and negligence. Reversing this equation was very important and that where the transformative change making (TCM) method was our tool to create a hope of possibility and reinstate the dialogue with the Municipal Corporation of greater Mumbai (MCGM), governing body in action. It allowed the team to step back, take an overview of work and spend some time identifying the allies and its role in the entire game plan. It helped us evolve strong narratives which in turn directed our action plan. Currently, we are in the process of addressing the ground issues by initiating discussion with the governing bodies at various levels. Trying to create small venture by providing guidelines on creating the project mandate, articulating the team by specifying the kind of experts required on board and so on. How much of it is adopted might be questioned at this moment, however the team believed that the exchange of ideas across table and being heard was one of the larger leap into the system. To create an impact one will have to work with the system and Riverse, is a small step towards it.
‘Riverse’, as an equation which has the potential of creating the change in the way future of urban rivers is envisaged and articulated. The equation germinated through the journey of rivers of Mumbai and can augment by accommodating various other urban rivers across boundaries and keep navigating its way forward.