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The project is about the city in spaces, an attempt is to rethink the periphery and turn it to an active edge where a series of spaces are created between the street and the plot.

​As the cities are becoming more formalized, the street-side activities and the pause points are reducing or are under rapid decline. These informalities at times become the city spaces but are neglected while developing.  Major street activities are found along these vacant lands as they act as a generous spillover space while giving an active and opportune frontage of the street while temporary inhabitation is also less conflicting because there is limited need of having to move again and again until something is coming up on the land.

Here I have chosen the institutional vacant land which sits vacant to accommodate any future expansion of the institution but meanwhile, through its edges, it accommodates the informal activities that create pause points and active social junctions that support the city. These lands are also rentable to the city for its several events and festivals.​

The institutional lands of the city cater to its educational needs. Learning and development occur through conditional accessibility to the students, staff and teaching community. Over time, the nature of these lands shifts and morphs to allow for different forms of access. Educational lands have considerable vacant lands that act as semi-public spaces with conditional access. However, conventionally these institutions often exclude establishments like community centers or provisions for education through learning centers for the marginalized communities on these lands


Why along the institutional lands?

  • Vacant land margins of the institutional premises allow various activities to operate along its edges, i.e social and religious activities, livelihood, vending and market. (in this case, secondary activities along the vacant land edge supports the city, street flow and junctions - not the vacant land)

  •   the edges become magnets for food stalls, cloth markets and other forms of vending to attract the student crowd from these institutes( a secondary  set of supporting activities catering to the institutions )

Overall Understanding


The Activities along the periphery was majorly observed with respect to the activities right behind it. As seen here the major activities are lined along the institution land serving them as a secondary source. Along with this the additional vending by the pavement dwellers and religious activity spillover is also observed on the periphery of the institutional vacant lands. These lands have public access to it where it is also given on rent to the city for celebrating festivals. So this space becomes the spot where the pavement dweller finds an opportunity to work in and out and the vendors get a back edge where there is less fear of displacement. Another point observed was that the institutional vacant lands are kept open to the public as it allows the lands to have activity in it like a celebration, learning to drive or sports played over weekends and during early mornings. Such activities in turn prevent the unwanted green cover from developing on these lands and save any removal cost over it for any future development and expansion of the institution. Also, these institutional lands are viable spots for vending because one can attract and serve large groups of students and other members of the community.


There are multiple activities around the vacant lands with respect to space occupied near the edge as opposed to its surrounding context.

Here are photos showing the activities and reasoning for the space usages. 

To the site-specific, AES Ground is given for rent for the celebration of function because of which the informal settlements came along which then shifted to the footpath and the occupants' livelihoods depend on working here along the edges. the. Few have been shifted from their previous work (mentioned by them, at rakhiyal working in some factory, had lost jobs and living space) where the ground gave them opportunity to earn for their livelihood. A similar case to the other vacant land that comes under AES, behind torrent, also has activities(like, vending, living along margins, cow and bird feeding etc.) being performed to respond to its immediate context. Right across the road as well as to its diagonal there is the temple where It is a  ritual amongst the several visitors to feed the animals and birds along the edge. The junctions attracted more people coming in, looking for an opportunity to work or in search of the food that the temple provided., This also led to the formation of informal settlements on the edge. There are also several intriguing yet rare activities cropping up in the spaces between the informal settlements where kids from these settlements are being taught by a group of students near the temple.


AES Ground near thaltej crossroad

The site has different edge conditions on every side and has different activity along with it.

There is also the variety of the land-use to it which defines the activities, which are, Street, Residential, Public garden, institution, entertainment/ commercial (Door Darshan Kendra). Also majorly primary street is passing across the plot, which has more public access. Where the building at its edges has its back towards vacant land.

​So here there is an opportunity to create a series of spaces along the edges with respect to its context, which also becomes a more approachable space for the city and becomes a model for the future development of the institutional vacant lands.

Two conditions observed on the site

Activities abutting the periphery but towards the site

Activities abutting the periphery but along the footpath.

Site edge activity condition

Site Access

Activity vs Access

Sections - Identifying existing conditions

Design Strategy

Opportunity spots whereas per the interaction of the city and periphery activities to introduce.

From the opportunity spaces, types of spaces were observed which were Exceptional in the way they exhibited their inherent condition.

(Several such spots were identified with a different set of configuration leading to a specific site condition that can be identified across all institutional vacant lands)

As per the opportunity spaces following strategy iterations were followed for activities. 

Variation along the Periphery

Understanding the peripheral activities, spaces and the context - parts of the edge expands towards the vacant land and towards the street

Paths as a connector 

pass along space/pass v/s through the space

As per the variation of spaces the paths were switched in and out.

Design elements and Arrangement

The elements were selected as per the current as well as the possible need for future development of the institution.


Designing Sectional kits to approach master plan

From the section designing the plan was approached for the design decision and spaces to approach as per the existing as well as the proposed street and plot activity and dimension.

Design Plan

Zoomed-in parts

1. Larger space near junction having opportunity space for certain activities.

The auto-stand connected to the walkway that passes through the bird feeding area. That further connection to the tea stall has an importance of the junction leading to the connector. This pedestrian and cycle connector leads to the crafts market with a cow feeding junction right across which then turns to a different space as per the condition of the plot.

2. The plot has an opportunity as it has a junction on both its end and these two can serve different activity space to the city. Here looking at the current activity and future development of the plot, the junction has the market of food and others. Also, as per the development and the need of the plot these spaces create an opportunity for secondary supporting activities.

3. The central access to the plot having the main entrance space that can be followed by the institutional land for its future development. Also, the bus stop is right next to it with the larger strategy of the land to develop and the institutional/city bus for easy access and increased public transport if connectivity is maintained.

The attempt was at identifying all replicating conditions through sections and spaces that can be addressed through a specifically developed kit of parts to respond to all institutional vacant land edge spaces for the city as Pause Points that ease connectivity and enhance the city's public life experience.
Thus the idea is to create City In Spaces.
Heenal Chavda| UD0816 | Urban Assemblies - The Vacancy Phenomenon
Bachelors in Urban Design | Faculty of Planning | CEPT University
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