Monthly Archives: June 2008

The Architecture of Delhi Today

I just came across an interesting article dissecting the architecture of Delhi over the decades.

But some architects question whether stark, strong-lined Modernism was right for young India’s capital. “We have this complex of not being modern enough,” says Aman Nath, who with Frenchman Francis Wacziarg melded historical restoration and tourism in their Neemrana Hotels, housed in forts and palaces. “So you copy what already happened somewhere else, but it already happened, so it can’t be modern. It’s always passé. Straightlined, geometric Modernism didn’t work here.”

Still, many architects say India’s early Modernists, through a dialogue with forms being developed abroad and vernacular architecture, successfully expressed an Indian interpretation of a particular style. But after the first two decades after Independence, it becomes harder to find architectural works that accomplish that.

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Rethinking India’s Urbanization

India’s urbanization over the last two decades has been unprecedented in history. At no time have cities grown at such alarming rates. And the lack of initiative and policy early on is now catching up with alarming results.

Even after adding two additional lines (increasing capacity by 50%)on the suburban network, there is no difference. Trains are still jampacked with people and the metro wont be available for a few years. The solutions are many but they are stop gap, ill conceived, short sighted and half baked.

All the good that India Shining brings will be undone if infrastructure does not play catch up. And infrastructure is only one element of the entire urbanization phenomenon.

At a recent conference on Urban habitats…

Philipp Rode, Executive Director, Urban Age; Associate, Cities Programme, London School of Economics & Political Science spoke on “Shaping Cities of Our Future”. He revealed the findings of the Urban Age India Conference held in Mumbai last year and released the Urban Age India Report. “India’s urban agenda is clearly a global issue given that India is the second most populous country in the world. Indian cities are faced with issues of social equity, of overloaded infrastructure and environmental sustainability. The way these cities will deal with these problems and how the upcoming cities will be planned can have a decisive impact on the world at large.” said Mr.Rode

Anupam Yog Founder & Managing Director of Mirabilis Advisory who anchored the discussion concluded that building successful cities which drive economic growth while reducing poverty will be critical to the future of India.

Historically India has been averse to the phenomenon of urbanization. The current response towards urbanization is also marked by short-term and quick-fix solutions. But, there is a critical need to develop innovative ideas for future cities with a long term view. The symposium attempted to better understand the opportunities and challenges that existed in shaping that vision and implementing it.

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India and Japan discuss urban development

India and Japan are embarking on sharing expertise in urban development.

The working group held wide discussions on re-use of recycled water for non-potable uses, water training institute, earthquake disaster prevention and urban governance and urban planning in India and JNNURM.

Issues like sustainable urban transport in metropolitan area, Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) policy in urban areas, model city bus services and capacity building in public transport sector were also discussed.

Several areas were identified by the working groups for exploring further cooperation. They are clean development mechanism projects in the areas of sewage treatment/other urban sector projects; energy recovery; best practices and emerging technologies in water and sanitation sector; metropolitan planning urban renewal.

 

Mumbai Metro rail project to earn carbon credits

The Mumbai Metro Rail project has been in the news for decades. However it is only very recently that it became a real project and is being executed. When completed it will alleviate a lot of the pressure on the local train systems.

Interestingly it will also earn carbon credits.

BL reported that, after Delhi metro rail, it’s the turn of the Mumbai Metro rail project to earn carbon credits. The project will generate 651,938 carbon credits between 2011 and 2020. At the current market price of about INR 1,320, the credits will generate revenue of INR 86.05 crore.

Mumbai Metro One Private Limited, the special purpose vehicle for the project, has submitted a detailed methodology report to the executive board of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change seeking clean development mechanism registration for the project. [link]

Carbon credits are a key component of national and international emissions trading schemes that have been implemented to mitigate global warming. More about that on wikipedia.

Foreign Architects Rush into India

The profession and practise of architecture in India has undergone a complete transformation in this decade. The last eight years have been a boom time, not seen since the heady days of Post Indipendance India.

The booming economy and the burgeoning middle class has prompted developers to bring in foreign architects with foreign fees to design everything from airports to residential and office towers and bungalows and resorts.

Foreign architects bring in the tried and tested processes and function precision to bring about a complete turnaround in the way projects are designed and built. They pair up with Indian firms who have the expertise on the ground to get things done and built.

Foreign architects for the most part are bringing in foreign solutions and design principles which may not all work in India, but the public does not think a second before lapping it all up. We are literally bringing New York, Chicago, Tokyo or Shanghai to Bombay, Delhi, Calcutta, Madras and countless other towns and cities.

Only time will tell if this is successful in the long term. India is not the only place in the world where this is happening. China is way ahead of us in transplanting urban fabric from the West into their cities.

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