Kolkata Jute Mills

This project studies the remediation of industrial decline and potential for post-industrial redevelopment, using the case of West Bengal’s jute industry in India. The jute industry has long played an important role in the economic, physical, and social development of the Kolkata Metropolitan Area (KMA). Political turmoil, limited capital, and synthetic fibers have left the industry in decline. Currently, jute mills exist in semi-operational states on valuable land along the Hooghly River running N-S through KMA. The rehabilitation of these jute mill buildings and land holds substantial potential to aid KMA municipalities in meeting demands for affordable housing, economic revitalization, regional ecological and open space, and socially equitable development. 

This project is in cooperation with Professor Siddhartha Sen from Morgan State University. Together, through semi-structured interviews, site analysis, and data collection, we analyze challenges that impede the reuse of jute mill manufacturing compounds, as well as potentials for redevelopment. Through collaboration with relevant actors in KMA such as jute mill owners, policy and planning experts, real estate developers, and architects, we are working to elucidate policy and development barriers and propose resolutions to critical urban brownfield redevelopment issues in the Global South. Findings from this research will be presented in one to two peer-reviewed papers and will be shared with stakeholders through a white paper. 

Urban Design Strategies for the Jute Mills of Kolkata

From 1874 to 2006, the Surah Jute Mill was part of the sprawling network of jute production in Kolkata. Since then, it has been sitting vacant in an otherwise centric and lively neighborhood. With land being in high demand and low supply in the city, we view the site as an opportunity to provide much needed relief to this land pressure.

This proposal embraces Kolkata's dense and dynamic urban fabric to build flexibility and organic growth into the design process.

Authors include: Xio Alvarez, Adiel Benitez, Patricia Cafferky, Somala Diby, Angelica Door, Nynika Jhaveri, Eytan Levi Yanchao Li, Tess McCann, Alberto Meouchi, Blanche Shao, Gabriela Zayas del Rio, Carmelo Ignaccolo, Arindam Dutta, and Brent D Ryan. 

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