Reading the City

I think I’m transitioning pretty well to Bombay. I’m trying to do something new each today, from walking new streets to finally ordering food from a stand. When I first arrived, the overall urban fabric and street life was so different from what I was used to that I literally couldn’t read it. I didn’t know the signs, the cues that every city and culture has to establish what’s normal and what’s out of place. I know that I’m still missing the majority of the vocabulary, but things are starting to become legible.

The biggest way I’ve noticed this is that I’ve started to perceptually filter. We all do this normally every day, since the majority of the things in our environment are expected and repeated. But when I first arrived I was paying attention and focusing on everything all at once, which is pretty exhausting.

Sorry for the window glare, but the photos above are from the new IDEO office in Bandra, with downtown Mumbai in the distance in the first photo. It’s a raw space in a new building, and today we started working with an architect to design and build it out. I’m not sure if it will be complete by the time I leave, but I think it’s going to be a great space.