Dreaming up a sustainable city


Over the course of 5 days the industrial design students of Anant National University were challenged to explore what sustainability meant to them and how a strengthened commitment to sustainable practices by those shaping the city of Ahmedabad might inform its development.

The aim of the workshop was to encourage students to unpack the large and complex concepts of sustainability and foresight, and make these approaches relevant to their own needs and interrogations.

This was done through a wide range of activities from simple desk research, to world-building, to 3D modelling. Each activity and tool contributed to making these concepts more approachable and personal.

๐Ÿ”ฎ > DAY 1

Who shapes our futures?

Discussions around the future(s) are evolving, the students were challenged to try and go beyond Euro and techno-centric futures and draw from the city's histories to give a richer, more nuanced take on their narrative.

๐ŸŒบ > DAY 2

Futures & sustainability

We then spent a full day reframing and unpacking what sustainability meant to the students using as a starting point Tony Fry's definition: "Sustain-ability [...] is โ€˜the ability to sustain.โ€™ That is to say the ability to constantly learn, work on, and improve that which is vital."

๐Ÿ› ๏ธ > DAY 3

Building Tomorrow's Ahmedabad

Building on this new foundation of what sustainability and the future might look like, each group chose a specific location in Ahmedabad for them to project into the future.

๐Ÿงน > DAY 4

Refining the vision

The fourth day was dedicated to refining these visions: deepening their understanding of the neighborhood they were working on, detailing the narrative developed for their character and refining the visual treatment they were hoping to apply.

โœจ > DAY 5

Presentations & feedback

The final day was set aside for a public presentation with several guests joining from around the world.


The students mixed research and fiction to arrive at a vision of Ahmedabad that was unique to them. The experience also resulted in the emergence of new questions on sustainable practices, setting them off on their respective learning journeys.


Each group of students was given one neighborhood in Ahmedabad to ground their investigations in. The locations (see the map) each presented unique geographical, economical, and social perspectives that the students had to account for by focusing on the story of one individual living in them.

Telling the story of an atheist priest who wants to clean garbage and want to make a robot from E-waste and garbage to clean the street...

Telling the story of a young nutritionist motivated by the expected loss in agricultural lands near Ahmedabad to start a practice of organic eating by setting up nutrition parks at Sabarmati Riverfront.

Telling the story of a clean mobility energy start up's CEO attempting to revolutionize long range transport by turning Ahmedabad airport and Hansol into a mobility park.

Telling the story of a Sustainability Specialist trying to modernise waste treatment in an Ahmedabad that has become self sufficient.

Telling the story of a Tourist Archaeologist trying to respectfully revitalize heritage site in an Ahmedabad became world famous for sustaining the lifestyle of its forefathers.

Telling the story of a Tourist Archaeologist trying to respectfully revitalize heritage site in an Ahmedabad became world famous for sustaining the lifestyle of its forefathers.

In our team we tried to come up with such infrastructure that preserves the local traditional businesses while keeping modern technologies in consideration.


The questions that emerged from the fictions shed light on the many dimensions through which sustainability can be investigated. In them, you can recognize the optimism, skepticism, curiosity of the students and in all likelihood out own!

๐Ÿ—‘๏ธ > Waste Management

  • โ†’ How can waste management be handled at the neighborhood level?
  • โ†’ How will the waste generated be stored and segregated?
  • โ†’ How can waste be a source of income for this community?
  • โ†’ Keeping the sewage and drainage system in mind, how to keep river away from the waste?

๐Ÿ”‹ > Energy Generation

  • โ†’ Which alternative fuel sources could be used for air travel?
  • โ†’ Are biofuels reliable enough for airtravel?
  • โ†’ How to generate electricity for the greenhouse equipments without using riverfrontโ€™s energy?

๐Ÿšˆ > Mobility

  • โ†’ How can waterways be utilized for transport of vegetables produced in greenhouse instead of roadways that cause air pollution and are more costly?
  • โ†’ How can helping converge different modes of transportation aid the adoption of travel alternatives?