Bridging the Digital Divide with Sparchitecture

More than 4 billion human brains are not connected to the global machine that is internet. The enormity of this divide is cause for concern. So how do we bridge this divide? India has the greatest disparity between total population and internet users out of all the countries in the world. The majority of users are located in urban areas, the rural parts are digitally disconnected.

By trying to include an exemplar rural community in West Bengal into the global digital network, we aimed to develop an architecture that considered India’s local resources and culture. By using Jute which is a vegetable fibre that is also the highest produced agricultural product in India, we intended to show-case the communities local materials and skills. India’s cultural symbol is represented by the spindle. We took the idea of the spindle to an architectural level by developing a spinning system that would create architecture and become the catalyst for the construction of a spillage (spun village).

The community’s internet inclusion would be manifested by the setup of a blog that would advertise the community and promote their growth by attracting tourists to come and visit the site. With the growth of the community the spaces would accommodate visitors and the site would become an ecotourism destination. Ultimately, this scheme was conceived to diffuse the ideologies beyond the borders of the community, spreading local ideas. This exemplar settlement would become a precursor for change in other communities across the developing world that have the right to the internet, unleashing a cornucopia of human thought!

By Maria Valente and Anam Hasan

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