TRADITIONAL SOLUTIONS FOR MODERN CITIES

In this age of globalization, the cities across the globe are now part of one large interconnected, interrelated & interdependent web & have dynamic ever-evolving functional linkages with each other. India, which is now creating a significant impression in this vast global web due to its developing economy (which is quite stable too from the global ups & downs) & large efficient human capital, is slowly emerging as a frontrunner in the global scenario.
Let’s consider an example. According to traditional aspect, the success of the settlement significantly depends upon how integral are the built up and open spaces. In other words, activity spaces and living spaces are merged with each other. Here, it is very clear that according to it, the intense and healthy social life emerges out of appropriate symbiosis of built form and open spaces. Thus, a traditional city form, which follows these aspects, often reflects the closely knit fabric of built and open spaces. Then, the architecture itself is actually an expression of built, open and the relationship between them.
It clearly suggests that positive open spaces have architecture of their own; the important thing is how homogeneously those is integrated with architecture of built spaces to make it a designed space. Here lies the basic essence of the traditional aspect that the designed spaces are essentially ‘finite’ in nature; the only challenge is ‘to provide the extent of such finite space by design’.
The problem often arises when the unfamiliar planners or the ‘foreign’ thoughts of planning try to fit their work in the local environment & topography. It’s not that they are wrong in their aspects, but what they don’t consider is the traditional aspect or approaches, which are more preferable for local scenarios or conditions which don’t try to conquer nature but try to harmonize it. As it is said, history is the best tutor; & it is the traditional settlement which gave us the concept of hierarchy of open spaces and their significance in achieving better living conditions.
We often realize this that apart from ensuring lively & dynamic open spaces, the ‘katras’, the ‘mohallas’ and the ‘chowks’ that were the expression of the extended joint family system and clan relationships, also fostered a strong sense of psychological and physical security. Some recent housing projects have attempted to recreate these values in current terms and these suggest new directions of interest, as in the case of TZED Homes in Bangalore. Thus, if the larger mass of housing that is now being implemented on a colossal scale as per the so called ‘modern’ physical plans across the country were based on clear traditional concepts of spatial organisation, pedestrian linkages etc., it could contribute in a big way to restore some measure of structure to the massive urban sprawl that usually characterises most of our Indian cities.
Rohit Dubey,
Alumnus, M. A. N. I. T. Bhopal
Aayushi Mor
Alumnus, MANIT, Bhopal

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