The capitalist market has full control over the present and future nature, character and emergence of our city’s public spaces. Infrastructure leftovers are the residual vacant lands as a resultant outcome of the infrastructural venture of capitalism. Government procedures and external market forces define the timeline and parameters of a project, where priorities are set on the rapid completion of the project in order to save more funds. The sheer size and scale of infrastructural projects is so large that they take up lots of space and this coupled with hasty planning of such large systems lead to formation of weird land residues. . So, if the land is suitable for commercial or residential uses, it gets marked for that. While the land parcels which aren't, are simply left vacant or rarely used for limited formal programmatic uses. So this begs the question, why do the “unsuitable” vacant lands get no acknowledgment in the larger planning framework for the city lands ?
The general perception of suitable spaces is limited to the following uses - be infrastructures, high rise apartments, square/ rectangular shaped parks, commercial complexes etc. This rigid understanding defines an accepted notion of spaces based on factors like what can be effectively replicated due to their standard dimensions and shapes our ideas of how convenient it is to construct them and procure funding for the same based on calculated agendas of revenue generation. .
So, in weird residual spaces like these, it becomes increasingly difficult to identify their potential as a public space or even possibly a productive space when measured against the above conventional standards. This project looks to understand and establish the metric of weirdness for such sites to re-imagine them as equally valuable assets to the city irrespective of their unconventional forms, their ambiguous levels or their configuration of space. They are linear, triangular and several other shapes, their forms are deemed unsuitable for development. and they are ignored and left neglected. Is this the structure or the preset algorithm we want to accept , which can decide the fate of our urban spaces? These voids in the urban realm can be addressed and turned into something useful for the city. They may not be commercial or residential land uses but they can add value only if they are given recognition.
To Acknowledge the leftover
The leftover spaces need the acknowledgement. Their very existence is ignored and unidentified because they are not considered suitable . The project aims to dismiss this perception in order to really acknowledge and celebrate the infrastructural leftovers for what they can be.
EXPLOIT THE WEIRDNESS
The way to really acknowledge leftover spaces is to acknowledge their character. One of the reasons why these are leftover is because of their weirdness. This very element needs to be celebrated and exaggerated for it to become an asset for the urban realm.
FOR THE CITY OF AHMEDABAD
Sabarmati Railway Junction
The Sabarmati Railway Bridge is located on the northern part of Ahmedabad, it is a critical railway junction which facilitates the diversions into the Torrent Power house, Sabarmati north station (passenger) and Sabarmati Station (goods). The leftover spaces sit huddled between several overlapping infrastructures (flyover/ railway line / metro) .
Observations & Analysis
Continuous disposal of garbage : The railway junction has a signal where the trains stop , and passengers throw garbage outside the train. This has been a pattern for decades.
Enclosure : the retaining walls encasing the leftover land, prevent access and visual sight.
Not a space to traverse: even though there are multiple access points around the vacant land, nobody uses it to go from point A to point B.
THE WEIRD FACTOR
The overarching weird factor of the site, was the landforms and their level changes make the space interesting. This is the one quality that can be exploited for further explorations.
The design proposal has been articulated through the site photographs.
The Design strategies are elaborated below.
Manipulation of levels
Connections for external accesses