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Posted by : Mayur , Belgaum, India, Urban Design
15 Jun, 2020 20:59:10
The Constitution of India gives all of its citizens certain Fundamental Rights out of which Right to Freedom which includes Freedom of expression, assembly, movement, more specifically in the physical aspect, can and should be upheld by not only by the urban designers but also the ULBs and DAs.
COVID19 has taught all of us that interdependence works far better than independence. Hence, taking this emotional intelligence (EI) forward, it will be interesting to make our Indian cities healthy, convenient and beautiful, in the future. As we are bound to maintain physical distancing for many months after COVID19, our ULBs and DAs in discussion with the urban designers should make provisions for wider footpaths and adequate sanitization facilities in addition to plentiful restrooms, seatings and garbage bins along the entire walk circuit of the cities.
It may also be wise at this time to revaluate our Tier (2 & 3) city making process. Are our civic spaces democratic? Convenient? Inclusive? I think, not yet. We have missed a strong factor within the convenience aspect of our cities, so far. That factor is called as Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED). CPTED makes the women, children and the elderly of our cities feel safe when they are out of the comforts of their homes into the streets or other civic spaces. Thus, safety is a part of convenience as you could see. I believe that cities can be inclusive for all of its residents and visitors, only when the civic spaces are truly democratic in nature. Hence, continuous circuit of wider footpaths based on ergonomic and COVID19 studies, adequate lighting of the streets and civic spaces, appropriate landscaping which doesn’t block sightlines, surface finishes that are easy to maintain, clean and walk upon, are the need of the future. Access locations/ Egress locations of our streets or civic spaces should be well monitored by natural surveillance. The edges of our streets and civic spaces like parks and playgrounds should be well guarded physically using porous fences/ grilles, so that no physical harm is caused to the user from any accident. Public transport adds to the inclusiveness of the cities. Choices are integral part of democracies.
Lastly, the aspect of beauty is essential for not only imageability of any city that tells one city from the other, but also it enhances psychological well-being. Just as the blue-green-brown ratio of any city marks its liveability, similarly the beauty aspect of any city adds up to the attractiveness of any street and (or) civic space. Thus, ULBs and DAs along with urban designers should write the future of our Tier (2 & 3) cities for an inclusive democratic outcome.