Heritage Responsive City: Case of Old city, Ahmedabad

Urban Heritage Precinct is referred to a living heritage embedded in urban settlements. It mainly includes architectural monuments, human habitat living in old houses, informal activities on streets, multifunctional usage of common plazas followed with traditional lifestyles and rituals. This research studies the unique habitat, by taking a case of Ahmedabad, India. Ahmadabad consists of around 55 lakhs of population and one of the fastest-growing urban economies of India. UNESCO inscribed Ahmedabad as a World Heritage City. The urban growth of the cities around the existing historic precinct, as well as the increase of the population, has led to the need to protect and preserve the heritage precincts. The research will lead to perceive How currently growing urban settlements responds to existing heritage precincts? The research further examines whether the planning framework benefits the local economic development and well-being through the inherent value of precincts.

Addressing Spatial Disconnect

Street connectivity
The term “street connectivity” suggests a system of streets with multiple routes and connections serving the same origins and destinations. A well designed, highly connected network helps reduce the volume of traffic
on major streets, improves pedestrian accessibility and ultimately improves livability in communities by providing parallel routes and alternative route choices. Local street connectivity provides for both intraregional and inter-neighborhood connections to knit developments together, rather than forming barriers between them.

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Cities dealing with it’s FSI policies

Aerial View of Mumbai City
PC@ Unequal Scenes

Currently, the base FSI in the Mumbai city is 1.33, which has now been modified and increased to 5 for commercial and 3 for residential spaces. While the base FSI for commercial development in Mumbai suburbs has been increased to 5. The FSI for residential spaces remains unchanged at 2.5. The FSI for commercial structures has been linked to the width of the road, which means wider the road, more the utilization of space.

For a long period of time, Mumbai’s FSI has been restricted under the assumption, that higher FSI would generate more built space, leading to higher density and with existing limited infrastructure, the city would become unworkable urbanization. Few other concerns were also shown as increasing FSI will lead to congestion on streets, it might favour developers etc. (Firstpost, 2018, April 19)

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Counter magnet to decentralize a metropolitan city

Post-independence newly formed urban settlements were receiving support and facilities from their respective state government authorities and are developing faster than the mother cities. On this background the 1965 (MARG) article of Correa, Mehta and Patel distinctly stands out. It did not crave for limiting growth of Mumbai city but making room for its expansion on the mainland. The MARG article proposed a large integrated city on the mainland single major urban center on the mainland opposite Mumbai, of equal prestige and importance which could develop into an area, as large as the old city rather than number of separate small satellite towns. Thus Navi Mumbai came into existence.

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Rise of New Urban settlements

The origin of New town concept has its roots in Garden city movement founded by Ebenezer Howard in the late 1800’s in Europe. A new town is a planned community mainly built in a previously undeveloped area (Ratoola Kundu, 2010). Conceived as a crucial instrument for balanced urbanization. New towns are being built considering a pragmatic way of resolving the urban issues of the time.

Since ancient times, philosophers, planners, architects, and engineers are attempting to explore concept and ideologies to create a new city for better life. How a city be more ordered and how society might be more perfect. Developing New towns on clean slate occurred a better way for planners and urban designers rather than dealing with mess of realities of existing cities. The causative factor responsible for modem new towns have been to either promote a planned dispersal from congested urban centers or to provide a nucleus of special functions such as industrial, educational or administrative.

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