Arid City is loosely based on Shekhar Kapur’s Paani, a film which which dealt with the Privatization of water.


Arid City is the story about a generic city that reconfigures itself after the commodification of water. This disruption led to a vertical stratification between the haves and the have nots where-in the former took shelter from the harsh conditions of the sun and built themselves an subterranean utopia. The utopia was a direct result of occupying and monopolizing the ground-water aquifers-similar to river valley civilizations.


The built environment is a by product of man's need to draw sustenance from a body of water. Every nascent civilization developed along a river and arising through its requirement of flood control and irrigation, required central coordination and a specialized bureaucracy. Based on the method and intensity of built intervention some of these civilizations often functioned as democracy while others would result in the formation of hydraulic despotisms. However, with technological progress and increasing urbanization, underground aquifers took precedence over surface water, allowing for the formation of the contemporary city. Inspired by vernacular wind catchers and water reservoirs like āb anbārs and qanats in Iranian antiquity, SIPHONS exist to ventilate subterranean dwelling spaces carved above channels of aquifer. Laced with micron thin solar panels and interwoven with optic fiber data cables, the large interlocked sheets of bimetallic blades kinetically respond to sun and wind directions. While its primary function is to harvest moisture, wind and solar energy, the distribution of SIPHONS through the city are meant to reflect the metaphor of water monopoly through Urban form. 

The thesis attempts to challenge the idea of design fiction that exists solely for the
purpose of speculation, but opening up possibilities for further innovation within cities by using
diegetic prototypes as more than a mere tool for speculation. Narrative then simply acts as a vehicle for thought to break down the barriers and limitations
that are based in reality.

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