I have chosen to get rid of everything on the blog and go for a bare – and sparse minimalist look.

Focussing more on design and so this is better.

My Transport Work

It was the day of the annual rickshaw race from Mathura to Agra, a distance of approximately 70 kms. Something out of the ordinary was about to happen that day that would have significant implications. Dayal Singh came first in his rickshaw but was really significant was that he reached Agra 45 minutes before any of the others. He was riding the ‘rani ki palki’ (the Queen’s palanquin) and this was seventh prototype made by the project – and by this stage the weight savings had reached about 40% over the original.   In 1998 the Institute of Transport and Development Policy (ITDP – New York) was looking for help to keep their project alive in India. Their Agra Cycle Rickshaw project was funded by USAID and had an Indian partner the Asian Institute of Transport Development (who then became a source of many funding for students wishing to work on transportation problems like – a sky train for Delhi). It was June and typically I was at this time looking for a funded project for my thesis students and said we would be interested in the design and development of the rickshaws. Two students worked on this project producing prototypes and tested them on the roads with the rickshaw wallahs of Agra (the Dayal Singh race story is from the first year of the project). In time the government departments and a host of manufacturers got involved with the project. And the project worked out a robust methodology to propagate the new design – this it involved training manufacturers to make the rickshaws, changing perceptions of the judiciary and the police, fuelling a lot of press and publicity, working directly with the wallahs for testing and feedback, getting city and state governments to support the fledgling businesses with seed funding and finally identifying new cities for implementation of the project. In year two the project team developed a new design for the Becak in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. The project has changed the lives of roughly 100,000 people in four cities in north India – Agra, Mathura, Delhi and Ajmer. It has brought down the weight of the rickshaw by half. For the first few years I operated a fleet of 12 rickshaws on IIT campus. These were initially prototypes and were for testing, but the system survived and began to be seen as a live exhibition. Suresh a Rickshaw-Wallah worked on the project and now earns a living running the fleet.

A part of a recent grant application is a project to look at a small increase in human power practice – and to do a prototype project with a city council in Victoria. Meanwhile Ban a Masters student (I was on his supervisory team for a while) has successfully completed his project on the bicycling system for Melbourne. And in this process have developed a shared interest with two of my colleagues (Mick and Malte) in the program with an interest in bicycling – which is a similar interest in Human Power – I have taken to cycling as my mode of transport to understand the culture of cycling in Melbourne as an act of coming closer to their understanding of things.

Key Words:
Rug Rider

Blog (2) Transport document/ archive TBC

500cc Car Doodles

I sat watching tin tin and drew cars from the video image – and then started doodling to follow the lines as they loop around. Maybe a car design lurks here.

tintin cars.jpg



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The engagement with China and India takes a new turn in my head as I think more about the discussion with Paul James. He mentions Shanghai and Chennai. It takes me a while to begin to appreciate the potential in these two locations. I am am going to go now to these two cities in November – change things around a little bit.

More interestingly for me both UMAP and New Endeavour for next year can be turned towards these two cities. And into that I can feed the three projects: Waste, Spending Habits and Diabetes. With the credit structure being 12+12+24/ Studies+Elective+studio and a few options of what happens in which course. I now need the local context and collaborators in those cities. For Shanghai it looks like it has to be Shanghai University. I now have to start finding links to interact with them.

On the cards is a linking up the Hi Tech Park and the possibility of setting a link with an incubator, or a starting a project on design development in Diabetes.

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It was 11.30 and Mark walked in with the 3D drawings of the ‘hobby horse’. It was amazing. Now here is what happened:

1. I post the jpg of the illustrator files on the net. No dimensions.

2. I ask Mark over the phone if he would like to join the group. He says yes and asks if the images are on the reflection blog. I say yes and we set up to meet on wed.

3. Mark arrives with a 3D CAD model.

The important thing here is that we haven’t discussed the details and the dimensions. And he does a cad from an elevation jpg.

IA little later Liam and I sit over coffee and talk about this being a possible methodology. A way to go about doing competitions collaboratively.

I must also mention that I have no CAD skills, and rusty drawing skills. I can do illustrator drawings – basic ones – but find the experience confronting. So now I feel liberated – which is always very good.


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Changing Tracks

The year started with loads of writing – collaborative writing. At the end of which I was happy to confesss to myself that I found writing a bit difficult – not all that much fun. And as a designer the ‘fun’ element in my work/practice is somethign I have to protect. Also too much writing – makes one a writer.

So I stepped back and asked myself what I really wanted to do. And it looked like drawing won.

Looking back from here the past three years – after I moved from India – appear to be driven by a desire to establish myself among my peers. And this took the form of both lots of work and lots of left of centre initiatives. And then of course I had to have acknowledgement – a award would be good. So that was acheived. And in the process I found myself in a place where I expected myself to deliver things – papers, books, research grants – which I didn’t really enjoy.

I am now looking forward to indulging in design – and doing this thru competitions.

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Geared rear steering

Then I did another one – which actually works better if used for a trike. And this ended up looking like a Hobby Horse – so that what its called.


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