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Urban fabric in the hands of developers and builders
Hi all, this is my first posting to this website.

I am an architect working in Bangalore for a firm. Lately, what we see is that Bangalore city is inundated with developers and builders who are controlling the city fabric and the outcome undoubtedly is not very pleasant. Architects tend to succumb to their demands, and finally, one gets to see a structure that is nothing more than a sore on the face of earth. What is noticed mostly is that architects and urban designer/planners get to play a very small role in the development of the fabric of an urban scape.

So, the question arises: How much should an architect be involved in designing the fabric of the city? Shouldn't architects and planners be more sensitive to the issues unaddressed? Most importantly, what is the role of a developer or a builder in promoting a planned and systematised growth of a city?

This is not just a problem in Bangalore, rather in all fast growing cities, in India at least.

Hoping to hear from all of you.
Pramod Gupta
Responses
 
Urban fabric in the hands of developers and builders
Hi Pramod,

It is the developers, builders & contractors who control the construction industry (leave aside the politicians for the time being), purely by the force of their money & muscle power. The amount an architect gets for designing & supervising the 'builder' is very small compared to the effort he/she takes. Thanks also to the little or no effort by the Council of Architecture to improve situations in this direction. This, I think is the prime factor leading to the percieved `insensitivity' of the architects.

I do not think that the architects are insensitive. We are just not organised enough, inspite of huge powers that have been vested upon us by the various forward thinking authorities. This organisation can come only from the top level.
Chitradeep Sengupta
Urban fabric in the hands of developers and builders
Pramod, the question is how does one ensure that the overall urban fabric is woven with robustness and richness.

Robustness in the sense that vehicular access will always be needed in cities, but not at the expense of the richness of the complexity, difference and multiplicity of urban functions.

There are various ways to go:- (a) On a green-field area, lay down access roads and allocate large empty "island" plots for general use (this very workable system was used in the ancient world). (b) On a brown-field area, either (i) create radiating nodes and drive in diagonal main roads (Paris, Hausmann), Or, (ii) create a grid of roads and squares to overlay the city (Barcelona).

Builders and developers are interested in extracting the maximum profit from any building. So they will tend to both (a) build upwards without regard to the access problems they create, and (b) build in key locations (for shop sales) denying these key areas to the more socially useful "public use" buildings.

Unfortunately, overall city planning is done by committees and bureaucrats, who do not care as they do not have to live or work in the muddles they create. :(
Frank John Snelling
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