Amidst the present scenario of unprecedented growth and change across all levels of urban settlements, especially in our part of the world, the need for increased networking and dialogue between the participants of such change becomes imperative. The emerging directions of change and developmental choices as witnessed all around us today raises immense challenges and possibilities towards a dynamic and contributory role of the urban design profession within different societal conditions. It is at this significant juncture that the newly constituted Institute of Urban Designers India (IUDI) as a national level association of urban design professionals, academicians and practitioners has come into being.
URBAN DESIGN emerged sometime in the 1960s. Post war, rampant urban development across the world found almost everywhere looking like everywhere else - banal, monotonous, humdrum.The need for attractive, identifiable, memorable urban space evoking a sense of place became strikingly visible. Thus the field was born out of a quest for quality of the urban environment.This quest continues to date in responding, refining and regulating urban environs that have both functional and aesthetic appeal to those who inhabit it. Urban Design is an Attitude which nurtures the collective spirit of looking beyond the individual to the public.Whereas Urban Design as a Profession believes in the principle of the Second Architect recognizing and engaging with the work done before. It creates an informed position and pushes developmental objectives from the perspective of that position.
The urban condition of many South Asian countries like India is unique in their complexity, plurality and hybridity. Multiple layers of historicity juxtaposed over one another and their simultaneous living existences within the urban fabric have created complex dynamics of form, function and structure at every instant.Over the years, the planning process focusing on expansion based strategies has added new layers to the existing multi-layered structure of the cities constantly overlooking the inherent complexities of existing layers and their interrelationships. Leap-frogging and lapses in the planning process to recognize these distinct layers have led to failure of our planning policies to make the city compact and sustainable. Every subsequent layer seems to have come up in isolation and negligible inter-relationship with any of the existing layers, as the city keeps growing into a fragmented metropolis.
The Observer Research Foundation, in collaboration with the Heidelberg University, GIZ and the Indo-German Chamber of Commerce and in partnership with IUDI and SPA-Urban Design, will conduct a one-day workshop on Smart Cities on August 9, 2016. The workshop will take place at the Observer Research Foundation, New Town, Rajarhat, Kolkata.