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Bangalore will be a megalopolis

DNBAN51011 | 12/13/2011 | Author : K Jaisim | WC :639

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 I am writing this article sitting in idyllic Suvidha (a village for the elderly) on the outskirts of Bangalore, having run away from the mad rush and pollution that drives one mad.
Urban design and planning
As late as the mid-1970s, I walked this Garden City with many from all over the world — especially architects from Singapore, who admired the way this regal city was and learnt from it to establish one of the finest cities on Earth: Singapore.
How things have changed? If there is a word deeper than chaos than this is it.
Where from here? I am an eternal optimist. I strongly believe that we are the stage where habits change.
The challenge is phenomenal. But having toured the rest of the country, which by comparison is miserable by any measure, I am convinced that this city will rise again.
Urban design and planning are important. But it becomes impotent when it follows a western model. Utopian thinking — such as bicycle, bullock cart tracks, etc. — make no objective contribution or sense.
I am convinced it is not too late to go underground on many aspects and leave the surface alone to slowly repair and recover its wounds. Whatever is left we must conserve and conserve with responsibility. Shift the emphasis of growth to the peripheral areas.
The link between Bangalore and Mysore and Tumkur — interspersed with other second- and third-tier cities with high-speed transport, both public and private — will make an emphatic impact. People want and desire mobility between home, work and entertainment.
Imagine a scenario of high-density residential areas and work and entertainment spaces interspaced with large green spaces maintained and enjoyed by the very people who are an integral part of this scenario.
If only the very voluntary organisations which make a noise about decency and sensibility were to focus their energies on making citizens aware and respond to make all the five senses integrate to make a civil society possible for one and all.
There ought to be no rigid guidelines but abstract overall objectives about high rises and sprawl. Both have merits.
Here is where architects come in. This neglected breed of professionals must take on the responsibility to ensure that their designs and creations have a sustainable and flexible model, with that rare sense of aesthetics, which make life worth living with context and content.
The garden city of Bengaluru will, yes, be a large megalopolis and not just a metropolis. Politicians and bureaucrats must only set guidelines and not be the doers. This aspect of private-public participation must be clearly defined and practised.
Yes, we should have had underground metros and not widened our internal roads, not made underpasses and comical bridges and turnarounds. Bureaucrats and politicians became urban planners, designers and architects all moulded into one. They thought they knew better. People from villages and other parts of the world migrated to this rare plateau of the Earth for its friendly climate and people. They did not save, respect or preserve — they just stamped everything down.
Fortunately, today all the senses have woken up. We need to change and for the better. We have learnt that haste makes waste.
As an example, make metros a pleasure to travel in by making it first class. So that individuals using cars will rather use this transport. The average citizen anyway uses buses and other modes.
Nothing comes free; some sort of payment must be levied.
The hinterland or the suburbs will grow. With wisdom, Bangalore will not just spread but grasp technology and grow tall.
High rises with imaginative architecture can be wonderful spaces to live and work. With them will also come many underground malls and city centres which will allow the green cover to remain, the micro-climate to flourish and make daily living for all citizens a pleasure.
The joys of a good place...



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