Urban Spaces of (Re)Use

Title: Urban Spaces of (Re)Use

Author: Pritika Akhil Kumar

Year: 2017

Abstract: India is a country in transition. As the Indian population catches up with the developed world, its needs have begun to go beyond the bare necessities of “roti, kapda, makaan” (food, clothing, housing). In this scenario, there is a strong need for an environment that encourages free conversation and active citizenship. Being a country that has never subscribed to Western ideas of public space, however, truly
democratic spaces for public discourse do not exist.

On the other hand, there is also a need to protect the rich history and heritage associated with Indian cities. Barring a few, many of the historical structures in our cities have been ignored and allowed to perish in favour of “modern”, globalised structures. As a result, important fragments of our history are being lost in our blind pursuit of progress.

This thesis seeks to find a resolution for both these important problems by exploring the possibility of utilising deteriorating historical structures to create a third space for public discourse. For this purpose, the historic neighbourhood of George Town in Chennai has been chosen to serve as a testing ground, being home to a number of such structures. This area is suitable for such a study as it presents multiple
complexities that are unique to the Indian condition. The project is seen as a commentary on Chennai’s existing urban conditions and the reasons for its present position. It is aimed at creating a model to revive and rejuvenate neighbourhoods of historical importance in decay for community engagement and also to investigate their worth and practicality in contemporary society.

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Urban Spaces of (Re)Use © 2017 by Pritika Akhil Kumar is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.