Novel way to harness public spaces

Novel way to harness public spaces

A group of 13 architecture students from Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology, and Sustainable Urbanism International (SUI) Lab, Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, Columbia University have successfully demonstrated constructive use of vacant public properties.

For the last two and half weeks, the students are working extensively on transforming the area beneath Anand Rao Circle flyover into a clean, green and recreational space. Under the guidance of their professors and assisted by workers, the students are creating a play area, fixing benches and planting saplings on the vacant space beneath the flyover.

Speaking about the project at the workshop titled “Transforming Waste to Public Space: Designing for Sustainability under Bangalore's Flyovers,” here on Friday, Pari Agarwal, a student from Columbia University said: “During our study we found that in the span of a decade, 1.50 lakh square metre of area has been utilised to construct flyovers. But the spaces below them is being used as garbage dumping sites or are left vacant. With Anand Rao Circle flyover as a model, we are showing how such spaces can be made use of. 

“With the help of waste tyres, discarded wooden doors and window frames, bamboo, scrap metals, aluminium, oil cans and wires we have created benches, amusements for children, and shady spaces to relax. So far we have completed work on the west of the flyover.”

Of the Rs 30 lakh allotted for the project, the team has till now spent Rs 2.5 lakh. Saplings procured from the Horticulture department will be used for greening the area.

Prof Jyoti Hosagrahar, professor at Columbia University and head of project said that spaces below the flyovers were being well utilised world over. She said they were being used as amphitheatre, cafeteria, exhibition centres, gardens and even homes in places such as Hong Kong, Mumbai, Singapore, Mexico and London.

“The main purpose of the workshop is to propose interventions for space beneath and around flyovers, provide safe space for pedestrians, use of recycled waste, provide activities like running, playing, sitting and temporary art galleries and crafts area, plant materials that grow in shade and need less watering and also ensure that the interventions are low cost, engaging people and attractive,”Jyoti added.

Speaking to media after attending the workshop, BBMP Commissioner N Lakshminarayan said: “All flyovers in Bangalore should get a makeover. But, the only contention is people should not misuse the space. I have asked for a detailed report of all flyovers and have instructed the engineers to prepare a plan and submit it at the earliest for implementation.” 

He pointed that every open space in Bangalore belongs to BBMP and they will be converted to green spaces. Criminal cases will be booked against those who are defacing public properties. He said he will ensure banners, posters and flexes are removed and Bangalore is greened. 

“Of the Rs 50 crore allotted in the budget, we have spent Rs two crore in improving junctions. The balance will be utilised for these purposes,” he said.

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