Thursday, January 21, 2010

City Design in India

It may be useful to establish a Research unit to support a Municipal Corporation or Urban Development Authority in every Indian city.

This unit is required to develop further design concepts that will benefit the city in the long-term. There would be research activities conducted here (both by the Unit Staff & external Consultants) without the pressures of time and the urgency of constantly executing projects and “making a visible difference”. Projects would be allowed time from 6 months to 2 years before implementation takes place. Short-term deadlines and handling of the day-to-day problems of the city would be carried out by the other departments of Municipal Corporation or UDA. A Research unit of this kind will maintain consistency of vision for the city’s development over the years.

The following projects may be initiated at the Research Unit for City Design (RUCD) :
- Socio-economic and physical surveys of specific areas within the city
- Documentation of Streets & Public spaces
- How to utilise Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for Infrastructure planning, such as water supply, telephone cables, sewerage system, drainage system, etc.
- Developing Urban Design guidelines
- Development of Urban spaces – squares /plazas and spaces between buildings -Improving Traffic sense and Civic sense amongst the Public (through awareness campaigns & educational packages for schools)
- Renewable energy systems – implications for the city, e.g. solar energy for street lighting
- Street design & Art in Public plazas
- Exploring the use of Rain-water harvesting on the city scale
- Environmental planning
- Fellowship programme for design & planning studies
- Exposure lectures / programs/ visits for the town planning staff
- Maintaining a network of Resource persons / professionals for projects to be undertaken
- Evaluating Building & Planning norms and making them more realistic and designed to make a better city
- Evolving strategies for the sustenance and future development of old, historic parts of the city
- Building and maintaining a Public library of City Design & Planning (with books on Urban architecture, Street development, Landscape Planning, Squares & Plazas, Lighting, Outdoor Environment, City Planning, etc.)
- Questionnaire Survey of Residents in the city regarding the day-to-day problems and facilities required.
- Questionnaire Survey of Visitors to the city (this may be carried out particularly at Professionals’Conferences being held in the city)

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