• The chief function of the city is to convert power into form, energy into culture, dead matter into the living symbols of art, biological reproduction into social creativity.

      Lewis Mumford
      Much discussion and debate transcends around the notion of urban change. The urban landscape is changing as we speak. Cities cater to expanding populations, dire economic needs and disappearing spaces. The concept of Urban Change is thus a social, political, architectural, historical and of even geographical interest.

      The Ghats or communal laundries were built around a 150 years ago by the British in Mumbai, India. It was primarily meant to take care of the laundry for the viceroys and British officials. After independence the Mumbai Municipal Corporation took over Dhobi Ghats and began leasing out the wash pens. In all there are 709.

      These concrete wash pens or tankisformed row upon row, are each fitted with their own flogging stone and are occupied by one Dhobi, a washer. The clothes are washed in murky water, hit against the stones, tossed into huge vats of boiling starch and gifted to the scorching sun to dry. The following day they are ironed and piled into neat bundles.

      Set in the bustling city of Mumbai, the Ghat, the most famous being the Saat Rasta near the Mahalaxshmi Station is where 500 dhobis and their families assemble to wash their lives away.

      Workers, mainly from the northern states like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, have migrated to Mumbai spanning 15 generations to inherit their father’s and forefather’stanki. They live with their families in shanties surrounding the Ghat.
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