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preserving polyculture

Intent: To develop the site that caters to the existing activities as well as create opportunity for new activities that can exist with the current development, through the power and potential of collective urban memory.

Power and potential of Collective Urban Memory

Lack of policy and ownership disputes between government and the khedut association was the cause of greenbelt being vacant for about 30 years. During this period the city grew past the greenbelt and adapted to the land being vacant. Systems and activities have developed, ranging from everyday to seasonal, that cater to neighborhood and regional scale. People playing cricket during morning or evening attracts hawkers and food vendors creating a system. Similarly, a fair or a festival market attracts such small businesses. Everyday uses of a land may vary from a playground to a karate training ground to a driving practice ground and for some it acts as a parking or space for vendors to set up their vegetable laaris. These activities, everyday or seasonal, have become the identity of that particular land where it is practiced. The polyculture of the site is being converted to dictating monocultural development defined with fixed uses that kills the plurality.

 

User defined land identities as stimulants for social reform

The identity of the same land parcel might differ from person to person but it is that activity or use that creates that identity. Mirchi Maidan, for neighborhood residents, creates a mental image of the ground near Vadaj circle. It not only caters to the spice market but also acts as a playground or hold temporary yet repetitive activities such as a fair. Single land parcel holding multiple uses.

 

Since the dispute resolution in 2013, new development with singular uses have emerged rapidly. This new planned development neglects the existing uses that these lands hold. The existing activities are present because of the vacancy of the land caused by the dispute and lack of policies. For as long as these lands remained vacant, they proved their opportunity to cater to multiple uses. These uses are not limited to the neighborhood but extend to different parts of the city. As a user, these monocultural development makes the space feel empty whereas its vacancy provided value to this land because it always provided the user with an opportunity to change and adapt to their needs. 

Choked imagination dictating monocultural development

The monocultural development of the land is negligent towards the vacancy phenomenon. According to Vacancy and the Landscape: Cultural Context and Design Response by Carla I. Corbin, ‘Any fragment of land, no matter how unobstructed the view across its surface, is inhibited by its cultural or natural history.’ In line with this thought, it justifies the different uses and its importance to the cultural history. 

 

Polycultural habitats evolved from traces of current systems  

By retaining the existing activities and systems in contrast to the new monocultural development, I intend to treat these greenbelt land parcels such that they show their polyculture. To stop these monocultural development that carries the same use at any given point in time, killing the multiplicity of the land.

 
GreenBelt history

The site for intervention is located in the west of Ahmedabad. This site has multiple activities and experiences of the past and is also currently under rapid development process.

Greenbelt has experienced vacancy for about 40 years due to the failed policies and disputes between government and land owners. 

The greenbelt dispute ended in 2013, resulting in rapid development across the greenbelt.

During this vacancy of 40 years, city has adopted and grown past this greenbelt, encroachment of the green belt can also be seen with only traces of greenbelt left on the western part. 

 

Site Introduction

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Activities on Site...

Series of activities have existed during its vacancy ranging from everyday to seasonal activities. These activities have become identity of this space that differs from person to person. A system of dependency between these activities has existed, some activities become anchor points for other activities to grow on site.

The dispute over greenbelt ended in 2013 which resulted in rapid development of the site being filled with monoculture. Single building use being stamped on the greenbelt treating it as an empty space.

This monocultural development disrupting the existing polyculture on the site, taking away the memory of the user. TP schemes have a potential to last for years and with the current planning, it is supporting the monoculture development.

 

Restructuring of TP Scheme

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The current development through TP Scheme, it creates plots with a single use on a space that caters to multiple uses and activities.

The government land could be used to develop spaces that caters to the existing polyculture of the site and create new opportunities.

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Proposed structure of TP Scheme. The government land can be used to create a large open space that connects to other open spaces.

 

Resolution of dispute over Greenbelt land, development began based on the proposed TP schemes. As per resolution in 2013, 40 percent of the greenbelt land is under government and the rest 60 percent was given back to the private owners. TP schemes are a powerful tool to develop a site because it continues for years with minimum change. 

The project is about restructuring the TP Scheme to create a network of open spaces between east and west of the site by linking it through the greenbelt.

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Strategy

The strategies are dived into 2 scales, at 1000 scale formal strategies are applied to restructure the TP scheme and form the network and at 200 scale functions are added to the created space which will retain the site memories and create opportunity for new.

 

The formal strategy is further divide into 3 parts

Existing Geometries

Access Points

Open Space Network

The access points that open up on the site are connected with the grid formed by extending the existing geometries that helps in creating hierarchy of open spaces.

 

Carving out the space for intervention, existing site trails and tree geometry is used to create different spaces like Maidan, parks, party plots etc. which helps in creating a public space that depicts the existence of greenbelt which was the cause of polyculture that the site has today.

Activities

Green belt is a large open space that caters to many different uses at different parts and developing with singular uses that will last up to years because of the TP mechanism. It disrupts the existing system which caters to city’s needs and holds possibility for more. This project tries to retain those memories and create spaces that could grow more and can also extend to other parts of the city through the network of open spaces.