Friday, March 26, 2010


As much as I resist the idea of design of completely new cities in my posts here, here and here...I am curious to see how will these developments grow. Recently I had an opportunity to visit Lavasa one of the new city-like developments in India. The development is an hour away from Pune by road, which provides it a locational advantage to attract the critical mass of population required to trigger the first steps towards urbanization of these peri urban fringes.
Quite contrary to the Modernist cities that were designed in newly formed nation states after the second world war (Chandigarh, Brasilia) with their sense of socialist utopia, the new cities are private investments finding more ease dealing with environmental sustainability than social sustainability. In such a scenario where, the new processes of urbanization are reconfiguring the hierarchy between people through redistribution of natural resources specifically land and water based on property ownership, environmental sustainability becomes the only tool capable of assimilating the schizophrenia born out of the inherent contradictions between the desire of design and interest of enterprise.
How will the development achieve cultural diversity inspite of selective citizenship awarded based on ownerships? How will rights to the city be decided after complete occupancy is achieved? or what will be the 'social condensers' required in such cities? are some things that we will have to wait and watch.
Maybe over a period of time the informal may take over the concrete, the mud may soil the paved to blur the all encompassing designers' lines, maybe these new-single serving cities too may grow over their long multi-generational life to become something completely different...but for now they remain selective with regards to their citizenship and embedded with many maybes.

1 comment:

  1. totally resonate with your agreements as well as the apprehensions!