Social and Cultural Expressions | drashti thakkar
With the constant expansion of the city and reduction in public spaces, it’s cultural and social activities are endangered. The city needs breathing spaces where it freely expresses it’s social and cultural practices. Institutional vacant lands can act as reserves for such public activities .
While the city fails to accommodate for several public activities, institutional vacant lands allow them to flourish. These large sites have been informally allowing many temporary activities ranging from celebrating cultural festivals to temporary exhibitions, transforming themselves into cricket grounds on Sundays to casual playing spaces during the evenings. These vacancies hold more value than just being land for the purpose of building luxury private institutions and burying the multiple narratives of the city and its people. People’s claim on these lands should be recognized and harnessed for an active urban public life.
These Institutional vacant lands are like memorials that have witnessed the city’s transformation pre and post institutional era. The introduction of these several institutional establishments in Ahmedabad was a path to upgrade the city’s image through education. Similarly, these reserved institutional lands can act as a medium to preserve the city’s public spaces.
By utilizing the vacancy of these educational institutions which allow various social and cultural practices to play out, we can introduce several of these alternate hybrid public spaces in the city. Accessibility to these lands is the tool that will ensure the co-existence of cultural, social and institutional activities in the city.