Did anybody else notice how his problem statement, aims and approach
contradict one-another? My reading is, the problem says "we need to
invent fresh approaches to approach problems of the south asian city"
and his aims and approach say "let's generalise the question to South –
South-East Asia, and then apply old categories, and metamorphise
previous situations: (1) let's talk about masterplans (2) let's talk
about NGO and the poor (3) let's talk about how globalisation and
liberalisaton don't explain everythig (4) let's talk aobut slums (5)
let's talk about gated communities (6) let's talk about schools, tv,
magazines and perhaps internet/blogging/wikipedia.", but these six have
been in circulation for the last forty years.
Would AZ-IN want to talk about City-Machines and Heterogenesis and
satisfy the problem?
Indian Architect & Builder
Special Issue – August 2007
Contemporary Urbanism: The South Asian Experience
Cities have been studied and ideas for its growth and development have
been proposed continuously. Urban culture and geography have also been
documented and theorised to a good extent. One of the problems with
urban studies is the assumption of a historical continuity in the
imagination and planning of cities. This we feel has resulted in the
short sightedness of our methods and approaches in trying to comprehend
or resolve urban situations (read problems). There is a popular method
with which we approach the city as an object of study – every problem is
a larger and bigger version of a previous problem, every situation is a
metamorphosed form of an older or previous situation.
Is it possible that some times we are facing completely new problems? If
we ask old questions to new problems, we may not be working with right
answers. Are our tools for understanding urbanism today, adequate? Do we
need new methods, systems and frameworks to understand our urbanism
today, in a way that we can address its situations (do not read
problems) comprehensively? Is every urban situation, essentially a
problem? If the answer to this question is ‘yes’ we have not moved far
from the late medieval imagination of urbanism, which modernism also
followed. It is actually primitive, but even today we still talk about
ghettoising slums by dislocating them to urban peripheries, or even
eradicating them. Organisation of cities under strong planning systems,
including citizen-participation models are models that focus more on
control mechanisms, rather than facilitating evolving models or situations.