by Nisarg Shah
The project examines different ways of green productive spaces in the city. The aim is to define a distinct connotation by stitching the productive landscape in the currently sparsely developed built forms. The Central vista is seen as an important public space which would bind the city of Gandhinagar and transform into a space which the inhabitants of the city could use in their everyday life. In the current context, the project raises questions like – What is an ideal public space? Can only a green lawn be the symbol of power? Why can’t we think of a productive use of the city greens that can also support public programs?
The central vista is imagined to become a space which offers a connection between people and landscape.
Vision for Gandhinagar 2030
Gandhinagar is designed and planned as the new capital and has been the seat of administrative power. The spatial orientation of the city with the scale and positioning of these administrative buildings has been the primary focus. This urge to showcase administrative dominance on public space is reflected in the layout and design of the central vista – the central green spine that spatially divides the city. As there is so much stress on exhibiting power on the landscape and that is why we see the curated lawn in the central spine of the city. Though planned with ample amount of public open space, the loose, nondescript lands at the centre of sectors also lack definition and purpose.
The design focuses on stimulating association by linking urban development and productive landscape.
Catalogue for contextualizing the programs at the city level
The Central Vista
The central vista is imagined to become a space which offers a connection between people and landscape. The design has been done keeping in mind the character of the space which is currently just garden or lawns. There are three major levels of intervention which is done in the central vista, farms at the periphery, urban forest in the central area and architecture intervention which gives an opportunity to inhabitants for experiencing the forest along with their everyday activities which could happen there.
Moreover, the central vista has been designed such that there are multiple access points, car drop off points and pause areas within the patches. The farm patches have been divided into vegetable, grain and flower patches in the periphery with a predefined pattern for each which becomes distinctive yet comes together as a colour patch. The contours have been proposed in the sides of the footpath which becomes a point to rest along the street for pedestrians and also small vending activities could happen along it.
The planting palette has been selected such that the inhabitants experience a colorful variation, height variance and diversity in flora and fauna throughout the site. The experience of transition from road to the urban forest is gradual. Along the road, the farms would have vegetables, flowers and grains which are up to 5 m of height, from here the central patch which is the urban forest becomes an area with 10 m and above tree height.
The Cafe and Library Activators are proposed such that these spaces become a part of the resident’s everyday life which redefines the idea of public space by bringing the interaction of people with nature closer
Cafe becomes an important part for functioning of a space for a longer time. Therefore spending time in the central vista and predominantly in the urban forest requires people to have access to food and also the cafe over the years becomes an important part in activities such as feeding birds. This would develop a stronger connection between people and landscape.
Library is crucial to provide information to the residents about farming and developing a productive landscape near their home or the central patch of the sectors. Along with this it could offer various genres of reading material.
The Viewing Deck and Amphitheater Activators are envisioned to become recreational spaces where the inhabitant along with the function also explores the modulation in the topography in the central urban forest
Viewing deck is envisioned as a social architectural incarnation which develops a visual connection with the surrounding and observing different species of trees and birds. It was imagined to start a dialogue between people and birds visually which is placed such that it becomes part of the forest and also people could observe the natural movements that take place in nature could be viewed by sitting in the space.
Amphitheatre would invite various people for conducting various public events or gatherings which could happen in this space at the city level.
The sports area Activator invites people from all the age groups and is placed such that it gives a unique experience to the players as well as the spectators. The Market Activator becomes a space where people could buy the vegetables, fruits, grains or flowers which are grown in the periphery of the central vista. Also, the seasonal variation of the site during spring and monsoon is depicted.
The idea of keeping the activator in the urban forest is envisioned to be taken over by the birds habitat, flora and forest over the years which brings the interaction between the inhabitants and landscape closer.