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Peter Smithson on ‘Belonging’

A narrow street in Dharavi. Source: Dharavi: Documenting Informalities

In a book called Dharavi: Documenting Informalities a group of artists from the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm document the results of their collaborative engagement with residents from the well-known Dharavi settlement in Mumbai. Addressing the dual representation of the settlement as eyesore to some and home to others, the authors go back in time to the words of British architect Peter Smithson:

"'Belonging' is a basic emotional need — its associations are of the simplest order. From 'belonging' — identity — comes the enriching sense of neighbourliness. The short narrow street of the slum succeeds where spacious redevelopment frequently fails."

Peter Smithson at the Congres Internationaux d'Architecture Moderne in Aix-en-Provence, France, 1953 (via Dharavi: Documenting Informalities, 2008, pp. 25)

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