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Thesis | Native fishing community fueled and owned, cultural, experiential and livelihood hub

Mumbai University | BArch | Thesis 2018
Instructor: Ar. Sukumar Dharmadhikari

The modern day original inhabitants of Mumbai, the fishermen community is struggling to maintain their identity in the city. The driving force in the study and following design is to dissect the Koliwada Trilemma. The complex problems faced by the local fisherman of Mumbai, the Kolis, can be categorized into three prime trajectories. The trilemma can be looked through the physical, the cultural or social and the economic lenses for deeper understanding of the concern. The Koliwada, the house of the Kolis which was the symbol of prestige for the Kolis for the past 500 years has become an obstacle to sustain within the developing infrastructure of the city. The growing population has further impacted the already compact homes of the community. Lack of sanitation, transport, open spaces, water are mere by products of the limited land spread and ever growing population. The increasing contamination of the ocean and sea construction further crippled the fishing community due to decreasing produce. The lack of economic stability and physical infrastructure had a domino effect on the social and cultural lives of the community. The dying fishing community needs revival on these three major fronts to sustain itself in the city.

Experience in AR

Research and Analysis

This study involved an in-depth understanding of the daily lives of the fishermen and observing their needs, obstacles and ambitions. 

Screenshot 2022-07-06 152633.jpg

This study involved documenting existing housing typologies at Worli Koliwada.








1. Community Center and Exhibition Area

To pitch the history, culture and produce of the fishing community to the rest of the world, the fishermen must hone multiple skills. Therefore a community center for the fishermen to interact with visitors and tourists and an exhibition area showcasing the Koliwada’s culture will give it the recognition it deserves in order to survive.

2. Restaurant

A local cuisine restaurant is essential in order to generate one of the revenue markets within the Koliwada. This not only gives the fishermen a new business opportunity but also gives the tourist or visitor a wholesome experience. Another by product of this function is the revival and recognition of the food and culture of the declining fishing community.

3. Fish Processing Center

A major drawback for the fishing community’s economy is the lack of physical infrastructure to sustain the fishing industry. Therefore, it is essential to first aide the Kolis with a fish processing unit so as to preserve and treat the produce. The fish processing unit consists of the treatment of produce, packaging, and cold storage.


The current sale of produce in the Koliwada is scattered and unorganized. The fishermen sell fish outside the Koliwada on a street. However, it is essential for to centralize the selling area to one built up location in-order to generate more consumers and exposure of the place. This not only will organize the produce sales but also make it more convenient for both the community and the buyers.

5. Boat Building and Repairing Center

The lack of transportation connectivity of the Koliwada requires a boat repairing and building center within the Koliwada. This not only enables the Kolis to control the number of ships at sea but also ensure there is fast repair for maximum productivity without any transportation hassle.

Mixed Reality

Virtual Reality

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