Image 3 Cartography RBRC

Image 4 Mime act by Dhwani Doshi RBRC

Image 5 Project Provocateur by George Verghese RBRC

Image 6 Lexicon RBRC

Rebel Bodies Rebel Cities
Víctor Cano Ciborro + Mansi Shah

Public spaces in Indian cities are not just an agglomeration of buildings but are entwined with complex social processes. The spatial compositions embody different aspirations, needs of people and actions that override what might be the permissible use of space to a more everyday or desired use of space. This ensemble of needs and collectively shaped areas is often read as civic disobedience, violation, and informality and it is opposed even if it contributes to vitality, activation, active frontages or safety. The book Rebel Bodies Rebel Cities continues this theme and puts forth pedagogy and design projects by students that draw upon complexities of an extremely contested urban area in Ahmedabad: Bhadra Fort Precincts. It is a place where several local forces and top-down control together manifest in a myriad of unplanned actions and differing interests on the ground making it one of the most volatile public spaces. To comprehend this extremely heterogeneous and contested territory the methodology employs observing, listening and cartographying the space and its historic layers from an ethnographic viewpoint. It develops a particular language of visualisation that builds sensitivity while recording the unseen processes. The design deliberations react to the context and values instead of being resistant to it and begins to represent processes; relations’ people hold to the site as fundamental organising principles. This book aims to create contemporary and practical propositions to offer alternatives to contentious heritage sites, manage marginal productivities or ways to reuse neglected buildings through an emancipatory and pertinent design approach.

This unit was taught as an L2 studio unit in Bachelor of Urban design at CEPT University


Bio Víctor Cano Ciborro is an architect and holds a Master in Advanced Architectural Design by ETSAM in Madrid (Spain). He has been teaching in ETSAM, Architectural Association or CEPT-University (India), being in 2019 Visiting Researcher at University of California, Berkeley. His work has been recognized internationally in different Biennials of Architecture and Urbanism (Oslo 2016, Venice 2016 and 2018 or Chile 2017), and published in ARQ, MONU, LOBBY or Horizonte-Weimar, among others. He is co-founder and principal of ‘Arquitectura Subalterna’ and is currently finishing his PhD dissertation related to Narrative Cartographies in contested territories.

Mansi Shah is an architect-urban-designer. She is currently based in Ahmedabad and is teaching in Bachelor of Urban Design, as Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Planning at CEPT University. With teaching, she works on her independent research projects on different subjects under ‘Ahmedabad Mapping Project’, ‘City Water Walks’, and ‘Productive urbanism’ (research on productive and edible cities). She has a keen interest in pedagogy and research and has carried out several publications, workshops to explore innovative ways to support her research and learning for students. She has also co-authored a book ‘Prathaa: Kath-khuni architecture of Himachal Pradesh’.

2021, Soft cover, section binding, 230x144 mm, 156 pages

Title Rebel Bodies Rebel Cities
Authors Víctor Cano Ciborro + Mansi Shah