LED 2016 Group I Landscape Democracy Challenge 3

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Country INDIA

Rationale: Why have you chosen this case for the landscape and democracy seminar?

Existences of public spaces in cities are essentials for social interactions to take place, fostering creation of sustainable, safe and liveable cities. Although public spaces are often designed for certain activities, existence of unplanned spaces seemed interwoven in the cityscape, some in the form of „leftover spaces‟, including under the flyovers and bridges, which offers abundance of opportunities. This case of Kitchlu Chowk flyover in the city Amritsar,India is meant to connect two sides of a gap, to bring them together, but as in many cases these flyovers in the urban settlement often act quite intentionally as barriers because the space beneath them is so problematic. The place is left unused and overgrown with weeds, or to give it up for some perfunctory use, like parking or are ofetn prone to best cities for shelering anti social activities or informal encroachments. Instead of dividing neighbourhoods, the elevated highway in Amritsar can serve as a foci for the city. Hereby a constructive, democratic attempt is required to review activities that can be initiated under flyovers by its local community.

Representation of your observations


Major challenges for changing the situation

The major challenge lies in the hand of the local government and the planning commission for the city to control the situation in an most appropriate way which can be proved to be increasing healthy community spaces in the neighborhood. Never the less this place belongs to public and only because it has no definition so far it is used or say 'misused' by the homeless people and some anti social elements of the community. Fortunately we could also see the space being used as a shelter for the commuters, para transit vehicle drivers (In Indian context it is rickshaw puller, autorikshaw pullers etc.) and by two wheel drivers but in a non organized informal way. this space under the flyovers have been a shelter to the homeless and needy in the city.

Democratically based change

Give direction to the people to reclaim the land for the developing a healthy constructive space.The Kitchlu Chownk flyover, runs from the dense Market area all the way to Airport road, jumping over some of the densest and most frantic crossroads of Amritsar. It is a mess of traffic above and a mess of traffic below. All accommodations are made for the car and truck, while pedestrians are left to fend for themselves.  While the flyover features prominently on all maps of Amritsar, the space beneath it is a curiously overlooked space. Still, a host of activities happen here nonetheless, from informal markets spring up selling everything from chai to chickens, fish to fruit. Street children play games; mothers wash clothing, cook food and sell small goods in the tiny leftover spaces of intersections and traffic medians. In the evening, food stalls set up shop and laborers gather to share food and drink, some eventually falling asleep in the vacated parking spaces. The flyover is considered dirty and dangerous. It is a space to rush through on your way from one neighborhood to market.  But, this need not be so.  Space under the flyover is having wonderful potential.  It is sheltered from the rain and from the heat of the sun. The flyover itself was proposed as necessary civic infrastructure. Why can’t this idea be extended below as well? What better place to open up a little room for the citizens of the city? With a few small interventions and amenities, we believe that this patch of land could be completely transformed and that if given the chance, these slender patches of space would find a host of uses that would be constantly changing over time, responsive to collective need, present aspirations and seasonal calendar Instead of parking, we can propose spaces for play, for shelter, for community building, for worship and for celebration.


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