MonthJune 2013

Past, Present and Future

In today’s world of our continuous race to find utopia, there has been a sudden realization amongst people that it is their own actions which has now lead them to grave environmental issues like global warming, pollution etc. This sudden realization has made people go back in time, and made them think where had they gone wrong? On thoroughly analyzing their doings people realized that in the hunger to make themselves a part of an utopian society, they forgot the earth, which is the sole reason they are alive. Instead of utilizing it, they exploited it. Instead of being sensitive towards it, they just kept fulfilling their under thought visions of utopia.  But what now? The damage has already started. Then some learned person reminded everyone of a proverb we have all learnt about in school, ‘its better late than never.’

Now there were people who reacted in different ways to this situation. There were few who in the greed to reach utopia, continued giving a deaf year to everyone. There were other few who in a try to save the degrading earth decided to go back from where they had started. 

But the main question is man, after progressing so much, after years of development how far can he go back? Is it possible? Is it feasible? Is it practical? And the main question, is it the solution?

Architecture is all about designing for the people with the help of the environment and not about overpowering environment.  But man doesn’t need to go back from where he started. Our traditions, our culture tell us how to harness the nature to the best in a particular context. Man must understand that, today, the context has changed. It’s no more possible to live in the present by blindly following the past. Our history must be identified as a progressive appropriation of rational foundations of knowledge. Historicity must be defined as the use of the past to help shape the present, but it does depend upon the respect for the past. * Every civilization has its own period of youth, maturity and old age and once it dies its necessary to continue ahead and not begin again from the start.  It’s necessary to not blindly criticize the new styles of architecture but to look into the commonsensical approach in architecture on the basis of traditional wisdom to achieve an outcome with relevance to the overall context, architectural sensitivity, availability of resources and technological advancements.

Hence, the idea is not to waste time replicating the past but to chart out the likely available futures on the basis of traditional and modern knowledge systems together, which will try to achieve the infinite existence of man on earth in harmony with the nature.

*The consequences of modernity – Anthony Giddens

TOURISM – An upcoming industry

Rapid advancements in technology, transport, science, communication and finance altered the way in which society viewed itself, and transformed it into an International Community. No civilized community produces all the things which it consumes which leads to an exchange within communities and nations. A nation deals with one or all the aspects of commerce namely, the production, manufacture and the distribution of the commodity, reaping a profit from their respective specialty. The nature of the commerce depends on the geographical nature of the nature. Some nations have few but abundant resources while others have availability of a variety of resources in a limited quantity. The economy of a nation solely depends on these resources.

Dubai is a very classic example of what I am trying to get at. Dubai’s economy was built on the back of the oil industry. Slowly, people realized that these resources are limited and being situated in a desert they had very few other commercial opportunities. Hence, the governments decided to diversify from a trade-based but oil-reliant economy to one that is service and tourism-oriented. They shifted their focus to building hotels and construction marvels. And the result is known by everyone.

On the other hand, Indian culture, being an amalgamation of traditions owning to its diverse geography, languages and religions, has accepted global influence.  The morphological structure of metropolitan Indian cities are a reflection of its multi-ethnic population base, the historic layering of its urban fabric, which lead to the merging of different cultures. This rich culture and history provides India with numerous destinations right from pilgrimage places, forts, palaces, tombs, architectural marvels to the breath taking natural scenic destinations like the Himalayas, 4000 km long coastline, deserts, coral reefs, islands, backwaters and metropolis like Mumbai and Delhi. But our country is yet not expanding the tourism industry to that extent. The resources of our country are spent in mimicking the trends in western countries. Instead, the resources should be spend in enhancing the already unique features of our country which will in turn automatically attract tourists.

Also it is very necessary to make people of our own country to realize the treasure of natural and man-made attractions they possess and make them respect it. For our country to progress it’s very important for the citizens of our country to change their attitude, to start seeing the originality and software of our country. To notice the meta – physical aspects and qualities the places in our country possess. The day when our citizens start seeing this hidden beauty and respecting what they have, will be the day when our country will turn from developing to DEVELOPED.

RE-ASSESSING THE URBAN SPACE

I have been staying in Mumbai since my birth. But I am still struggling to try and understand the nature of cities. Thousands of questions rise in my mind every day. What is a city? How did it come into existence? Why do we need cities? Keeping in mind todays pace of globalization, will the city disappear or will the whole planet turn into a vast urban hive?  

According to what I have learnt so far cities are a complex system of people, environment, infrastructure, transport networks, governance and services together. Cities throughout history have been the central hub of activities which has led to increase in migration in the cities all over the world including Mumbai. This increase in density in the cities have rendered the urban space incapable of satisfying the needs of its citizens. This is the start of all problems. This is the point from when our graph of development has stopped progressing and we are still termed as a DEVELOPING COUNTRY.

 

The need for cities in earlier times aroused so that people could have a sense of security, their community could be better defended (particularly if surrounded by a wall and other defensive structures) and served the needs of people to make their living in a world where transportation and communication moved at a very slow pace. But these reasons do not stand valid in today’s context as defense has moved far beyond the town wall and transport and communication has become very fast, varied and convenient.  So now the question is why do we need cities today?  If a remote village can get the almost same facilities as the main city center one doesn’t need to live in the center to participate in an activity.

The incapability of an urban space to suffice the needs of people has now led to decentralization.  Edge cities are formed around the main city. These edge cities have become a larger magnet to the metropolitan area. 

In olden times, people used to live behind their work places. Then as transport developed people started travelling to their work places and now, again people are saturated of travelling to work which has led to the new culture of ‘ Work from home.’

Now is the need to seek a reciprocal relation between these smaller and larger units, based upon each performing the sort of task for which it is uniquely fitted.

The visible city then becomes the indispensable place of assemblage for those functions that work best together when they are superimposed within a close range. A place where meetings and encounters and challenges, as between personalities supplements and reduces again to human dimensions. 1  

 

 

 

  1. The city in  history – Lewis Mumford

ALONG THE JETTY….

Along the jetty...