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Urban Landscape Futures 2023

Riverside Revamp: Bring the activities onto the River

  • Tags

    Riverfront development, Public space, Gandhinagar, weaving with nature, sabarmati riverside, productive landscapes, socio cultural design, dry riverbed

Authors: Dainty Doe

The project centres on the redesign of a dry riverbed, a versatile space currently underutilized due to a lack of thoughtful design. The goal is to transform it into a vibrant, multifunctional area that not only maximises its potential but also serves as a deterrent to illegal activities like sand mining and poaching. This endeavour is deeply rooted in the appreciation for the rich biodiversity in the site, which includes diverse flora and fauna such as trees, peacocks, birds, and monkeys. The design strategy ensures the harmonious integration of these natural elements into the urban landscape. The approach to this project is underpinned by two fundamental principles: the creation of functional public spaces and a steadfast commitment to regenerative nature conservation.

Human-designed spaces can coexist seamlessly with the natural world while fostering community engagement. This embodies a new perspective on urban landscape design that prioritises functionality, sustainability, and ecological responsibility. Through the transformation of a dry riverbed into a thriving urban ecosystem, we aim to demonstrate the potential of spaces that blend diverse activities with the richness of biodiversity, redefining the essence of our urban landscape.

The Sabarmati River in Gandhinagar ia a  dry river, with its flow dynamics subject to variations corresponding to the changing seasons. During the monsoon, it experiences heightened activity, while in drier periods, its flow may diminish. As a pivotal water source for the region, the Sabarmati holds considerable importance in the local landscape and ecosystem. An ash dumping yard in situated in the northern part of the river. Given its toxic nature, only a few species of plants and mushrooms were found.

Adjoining the river and the villages are farm lands. These lands tend to extend onto the river when it is dry. Even terrain where the plantation of trees is used as a boundary demarcation for the people. 

Located like an extension of the central axis, this area is rich in flora and fauna. This area is seasonally used for religious activities.  Additionally, it is also being used as a dumping ground for waste with haphazard parking, underutilized public space, eroded embankment, and lack of public amenities. However, it has ample opportunities due to its connectivity to the J road, native flora and fauna, site for migratory birds and camping, activation of the riverbed, and creation of walking and bicycling trails.

It is the only area in the river that has water for the most time. This space is located right next to Sarita park, a fort and village where the people use this space primarily for fishing. Filled with a rock embankment and a steep slope, the site is accessible through one route. 

Activities happening in and around the riverbed are being mapped to get a better understanding of the usage of the sites. This also essentially points out the strengths, weaknesses, problems and opportunities present in the site.

To develop a recreational space aiming to activate, engage and enhance the dry river bed. The constant movement of animals in the area, along with an existing space that is used for gathering

The proposed plan shows the nine identified and designed areas of camping sites where each of them is equipped with a toilet and cooking blocks. The sites are connected by secondary streets (12m), literary streets (6m) and trails (1.5m). Additionally public amenities such as parking spaces

The design includes a cafe and utility area connected through a mesh of trails with grass mounds. The main focus would be the public viewing deck, that connects the upper level (bank) to the bed though a series of terraces and stairs. The river-bed is programed for activities in the summer, which can be overlooked from the elevated trail. 

The section shows the integration of the pavilion with the bank and the bed, acting as a connector. Stairs are added in steep slops for accessibility. The roofs of the pavilion are also made accessible to main use in the monsoon.