In the past ten years, cities have grown at an unprecedented rate. This fast rate of growth has a considerable effect on the physical aspects of the city. Expansions have taken place in both directions horizontal as well as vertical. The whole energy of building industry has focused on individual units, where each building looks different from the other with an obvious desire to dominate each other. This has overshadowed the other aspects of city building.
Cities have transformed over ages since time immemorial. Most of the cities were transformed without an intention of doing so; they simply transformed by defining and redefining the relationships as per the needs of the society. There was a belief in the innate process of development or transformation of cities-incremental growth and evolutionary process. Owing to technological advances, city expansions and transformations are happening instantly. This has left no scope for interpretation of relationships by users; rather users are given transformed spaces to adapt themselves to. This has induced a gap of procedural evolution between what existed and what is existing.
Considering the old cities and the city extensions, the morphology has transformed to an extent that one finds it difficult to recognize a certain city from its form, street character or urban spaces. Within a certain city the walled area lends a unique, coherent and a united character; whereas all the new developments are similar and are fragmented. It lacks a sense of oneness or unity of urban form. The fabric fails to create a whole, a singular entity. The relationship between the Urban form and the Urban Space constitute the essence of the city. Any modulation in the relationship is reflected and felt in the form and space.
what does this say then? that cities naturally start out as fragmented pieces of a development in the hope that they would evolve into a more integrated form where their features or character are more clearly defined? that cities are not really 'designed' despite the best human intervention, but that it is more of an evolving interplay between the built form and the humans that use them?
Well this is a critique on the development process in developing countries like India; where
The first layer of defining space or land is by assigning land uses or in planning terms what is known as zoning.
The second layer is defined by the codes or bye laws of development.
Both these layers are 'dictated' by experts planners, designers, engineers etc.
Beyond these layers they are not evolutionary once these layers are executed on site, the revival or renewal to cater for needs is piece meal and more importantly hardly in the hands of the users(the common concerned public).
Now the stagnation of relationships I was talking was an after effect of this process which doesn't evolve because it is restricted to be evolved. the restriction comes from the bye laws and the complexities in the mechanisms of city planning.
I am pursuing Master in Architecture with specialization in Urban design from CEPT University. This is a premise for my thesis, Transforming the urban fabric: A typo-morphological approach to designing. the case site is Vidyadhar nagar in Jaipur designed by Ar. B.V Doshi (although the project did not reach its completion under him).
Your comments are most welcome.:)
Doesn't a harmony still exist? Every city does have its own unique identity. Simla is different from Chandigarh or Chennai. Berlin is different from California. Are users given transformed spaces to adapt to or do they adapt the space/place because they like its form, feel and experience? Accepting your idea, is there no way to give a form to an Indian city years after it has developed? Like Jaipur can't we paint (figuratively) every city in its own unique color?
Unfortunately, the harmony doesn't exist, what u r rite now terming as harmony is globalization taking over SE Asia. The identity that a city is being lost. Dubai for example. Is any of the Bhurj a representative of the old city buildings that exist there? Dubai is an extreme case.
But lets talk of some place you might have been to.. how about Shahjanabad, Delhi. Old city Delhi-6. Well are the apartments or the bungalows any where close to the house block in old city. The courtyard has gone the facade is way different. I accuse a little to modernism that struck India quite late. and a little to as Ar. Prem puts it
"...there is a tendency to judge the aesthetics of architecture from how it strikes the eye. But what does one do once the novelty of the initial view wears off. The actual use of architecture typically involves a daily routine of inhabitation where after some time the conscious spectacle of viewing the building recedes to the background."
And yes as far as jaipur is concerned well my site is in jaipur..Vidhyadharnagar to be specific and it is painted pink all over..
What i am trying to put across is that its not in form or shape or colour the essence of the city lies... it lies in the reationship of the inside to the outside the urban form to the urban space.
what about the pulse or the vibrance of a spontaneous city growth that contributes to the urban space. chandigarh in its approach is still clinical compared to benares. also vidyadharnagar has not been built as conceived by doshi. a city needs time to be able to prove its efficiency in terms of urban space and form. ritu gulati
Thanks for your insight.
First the case i am studying and a critique i put forth are not on the design by B.V. Doshi but instead what is currently on the site (i.e. what was executed by JDA).
Its been over 25 years the city was designed. Although it is difficult to decide what span of time should a city be given to prove its efficiency. But owing to the issues in urban form the bye-laws or development has not changed. Their approach had failed to reach the desired aim.(of development reminiscent to Jaipur)
Unfortunately they fail to recognize the gap between what they expected and what has come about. In my purview a significant change was required.
Coming to your point of vibrance and pulse of the city... Yes Chandigardh is clinical and stringent(in terms of development process) in its approach, leaving a very little scope for interpretation by people. And so is the case with vidhyadhar Nagar. The attribute common to both is the set of bye-laws that do not give scope for varied interpretation. Instead the role of the architect eventually becomes to put the built mass within the setbacks and give it the elevational characteristics as prescribed. Is is not difficult for the user to interpret- extend, reduce, transform, or change by any other manner. These are the attributes under which the old city of benares has evolved. The bye laws today don't permit one to do so. They are prescriptive. In a prescribed environment does it leave a scope to induce vibrancy by attaching activity and time to it?
Network Theory: The Magnasco Laboratory - Loops in optimal transport networks - Flow of water around an injury in a leaf:
i am studying transformation of havelis of jaipur during history . their is a detoriation on the heritage and historic value of haveli due to the transformation with passage of time. the street pattern , heights, width , courtyaard ,etc, are essential factors in influencing the haveli typology. do the surrounding areas also have any impact on haveli transformation and how significant are these transformations???