Author : Almudena Cano Pineiro

University : Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura de Madrid

Status : BArch, 2013

Advisor : Luis Basabe Montalvo

Title : Urban Strategies to Regenerate Indian Public Space | A case study of Pols in Ahmedabad

This research explores potential methodologies for urban interventions in historic city centers. The traditional fabric of those areas is currently facing the effects of external forces resulting from rapid development and intense socio-economic pressures.

In contrast to renewal programs that ignore the existing architectural and cultural heritage, this project proposes a number of innovative strategies for regenerating the traditional public space. Such as a catalogue of urban tools that both solves the lack of infrastructure (water, drainage,…) and preserves traditional way of life by improving the quality of the common spaces.

The pols of Ahmedabad are regarded by historians, architects and urban designers as one of the finest surviving examples of urbanism and domestic architecture in Indian tradition. They represent a beautiful manifestation of compact and climatically responsive urban settlement where the past and the future are still able to coexist. The itemized analysis of the tissue reveals the need of small-scale interventions to regenerate existing spaces. Five test cases are identified as representative sites for implanting a network of interconnected devices that positively transform and reorganize these scenarios. These artifacts are designed to harness local resources, materials and technologies, with a high commitment to social and environmental sustainability. In the Pols, community life is closely linked to the urban morphology and for this reason, the proposal tries to reorganize the urban scene by restoring the identity  of the public space as a place for daily activities and social interaction.

Rather than determine a single solution, this project aims to create a flexible and adaptive system conceived for managing a variety of urban contexts with similar degrees of complexity, in constant development with shifting paradigms. The proposal calls for an integral approach in the revitalization of traditional urban areas. This intervention in the city core is thoroughly focused on: natural, social and cultural resources; sustainable local technologies; and both individual and collective values. The ultimate purpose of this research is to empower and increase the capacity of a society to develop the required skills to build its own future.