• Aarushi

5. System Mapping

The Stage 1 Primary research and Ani Hila Village trip provided me with various elements to understand and map out the community system. I found a very strong opportunity for the people from domestic urban space to learn and connect with people of Ani Hila. In order to further investigate on the possible solutions I looked at various elements and processes of both the spaces (The Village and District Meerut).

I looked at various solutions the people of Ani Hila were using in their day to day life, some of them were as following:

  1. Gobar Gas or Bio Gas Plants: The people of Ani Hila were very smartly using cow dung to generate fuel and electricity through the Gobar Gas Plant. In a gobar gas plant, “gobar gas (cow dung gas)” is obtained by bacterial fermentation of animal refuse. It is produced by the anaerobic digestion or fermentation of biodegradable materials such as manure, sewage, municipal waste, green waste, plant material, and crops. The people were using different scale of these Gobar Gas plants to produce fuel and electricity for their family.

  2. Water Management: Ani Hila has a strong water management system, they use and reuse water in an efficient manner through rainwater harvesting, hand-pumps, wells and tube wells. They reused water (also commonly known as water recycling) by reclaiming water from a variety of sources and then reusing it for beneficial purposes such as agriculture and irrigation, potable water supplies, groundwater replenishment, industrial processes, and environmental restoration. Rainwater harvesting helped them manage and reduce peak demands during summer months, saving treated water helped them reuse the water for more important and appropriate uses. Rainwater harvesting was very efficiently their primary source of water for many uses and situations, they used it as a great backup water supply for emergency situations.

  3. Food Production, Farming and Manure: Their farming techniques did not involve using any pesticides and fertilisers. The manure they primarily used was made by using the earthworms: Vermicompost. Vermicompost contains water-soluble nutrients and is an excellent, nutrient-rich organic fertilizer and soil conditioner. They also used greenhouses to fulfil the all year along requirements for fruits and vegetables. Similar to Gobar Gas plant, the greenhouses were also of different scales to fulfil different families requirements.

  4. Waste Management: The entire Village produced less than 15% of the recyclable waste, rest of their waste for biodegradable and hence was regularly used to generate fuel and electricity. The rest of the 15% was heavily reused, much longer than the actual life of the product.

I was fascinated to find the innovative use of cow dung in the lives of people of Ani Hila. Starting from using the cow dung for manure, gas and electricity, they also used cow dung to line the walls of their houses as a thermal insulator. Cow dung was also used to make various products, such as, books, baskets, shampoos, decorative items etc.

Ideation Sketches by Aarushi

The in depth study on the methods and lifestyle choices of the Ani Hila people really helped me to build overall system pictures. Which in turn helped me compare and investigate the drastically different mindsets and material choices of both the groups of people. This research gave me a better understanding of the bigger picture of the entire system and it presented me with possibilities of connection, trade or exchange of materials, learnings and experiences between people. In order to further research on topic I decided to conduct interviews with participants from both rural and urban communities.

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