'Place making as a multi –faceted tool in urban design’ – a strategic planning approach in case of Hubballi City, Karnataka, India

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Submission Summary
Cities are the main engines of economy & human activities attracting flux of population from rural to urban areas. These cities hold high potential to create synergies and allowing development opportunities. Cities are also the places where inequalities are stronger and, if they are not properly managed, their negative effects can surpass the positive ones. Thus, urban areas need to manage their development, supporting economic competitiveness, while enhancing social cohesion, environmental sustainability, quality of life and shape public realm in order to maximize shared value of a place. To ameliorate the situation there have been multiple efforts in terms of sustainability policies and missions, the most recent one being the ‘smart cities mission’ which also stresses the sustainable development of Indian cities. This paper is an attempt to fulfill the motive of the Smart Cities mission of sustainability by assessing Place making as a tool to configure waterfront dynamics to community engagement activities, to make people centric design which contribute to people’s health, happiness and well being. It is necessary to rethink on the matrix of urban design & urban planning in making cities more connected with its People – Place – Values. In the past, Hubbali City’s cultural matrix shared a symbiotic relationship with the green & blue networks that traversed the city in a manner that could be characterized as the urban commons. However, over the past few decades, industrialization, changing economic drivers, and dominance of private over public interests led to the over exploitation of natural resources. This in turn led the green and blue networks to be compromised and relegated to the background. However, on the contrary, today rivers or lakes are not more than sewers in the city, acting as a backyard & affecting the ground water table & ecology within the city. The present state of the city highlights the urgency & the impact of urban issues especially in these crucial times of climatic changes. Shifting land use patterns in the city have also resulted in disruptions to the overall continuity of the city’s urban form and loss of values & meanings that were traditionally associated with urban open spaces. Specifically in the case of Unkal Nala, a canal which originates from Unkal Lake in the northern end of Hubbali city, the urban growth patterns of the city have led to the concentration of low income houses along the water edges, self-build practices, illegal appropriation of spaces and illegal waste dumping into the water. All of these practices have caused the Unkal Nala, which was a source of sustenance in the past, to become the backyard or sewer of the city in present day Hubbali. The water edge and what used to function as the urban commons is now comprised of multiple examples of what Roger Trancik refers to as lost spaces. ‘Generally speaking, lost spaces are the undesirable urban areas that are in need of redesign- anti spaces, making no positive contribution to the surroundings or users. They are ill-defined, without measurable boundaries, and fail to connect elements in a coherent way. On the other hand, they offer tremendous opportunities to the designer for urban redevelopment and creative infill and for rediscovering the many hidden resources in our cities.’ This paper is an effort to draw attention to these lost spaces along Hubbali’s Unkal Nala and rethink in a holistic manner that is coherent to the present day needs of the city and its residents. It is an effort to redefine the urban commons through a place making approach.
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Submission Type
Research Paper
Submission Track
4: Safeguarding the Urban Resilience
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