Maha Kumbh Mela: Now a Harvard University case study
The Harvard team would seek answers to the "question of 'How on earth is an event of this size possible'," city-based writer Logan Plaster, who would be part of the team visiting the Kumbh Mela, said. "To fully grapple with this question, the scale of the Kumbh needs to be put in perspective."
The Graduate School of Design team would study the Kumbh Mela as a case study for the "pop-up mega-city" and would map flows of people and infrastructure.
The FAS team would look at various religious and cultural aspects of the event, including the kinds of religious groups present at the festival, devotional practices, tourism and environmental concerns, while the health team would study water quality, sanitation techniques, health clinic readiness and presence and networks of hospitals and public health facilities.
The team from Harvard Business School would gather information on business practices of the Kumbh, including the interaction of the public and private sectors and would also examine the way in which technology, media, internet connections and cellular networks play a role in this year's logistics as never before.
Plaster said the scale of the gathering can be gauged by imagining the entire population of Shanghai-about 23 million-camping on a four-by-eight kilometer field, along with "the mass of humanity every last man, woman and child in New York City and you're getting closer to the Kumbh's expected attendance. But still not quite there."
He hoped that by studying a pop-up mega-city, researchers would learn lessons applicable