[one_half_last][alert-success]Architect: Mohan Rao [/alert-success]

Following the national competition purpose of seeking innovative ideas for providing disaster prone resilient design/ planning for Surat city, the approach undertaken was based primarily on two parallel yet interrelated strategies of ‘land value economics’ and ‘landscape infrastructure’ that seek to inform a multidisciplinary proposal to equate both scales of urban planning and urban design.

In relation to the ‘natural and industrial risk’ parameters of the site (Ichapor) and its regional location, the development strategy was grounded on the potentials and limitations of the existing micro-planning tool, namely the Town Planning Scheme (TPS), and its necessary remodelling to invent a strategy that would provide a more equitable and balanced form of development and social structure. Within such a strategy the introduction of ‘Ecological Infrastructure’ as a design tool not only allowed to rework land dynamics and economics by equating non-built components in tandem with built fractions – as opposed to conventional notions but also derive malleable urban relations by negotiating natural (flood mitigation) and social (urban spaces) for the low lying flood prone site.

By establishing the economic worth of the ecological infrastructure, the new model for development demonstrates the gain and benefit ecosystems services can deliver to local communities. As a result, the proposed area becomes a resilient sustainable development, socially viable, naturally stable and one that relates to its regional forces of urban distribution. More importantly the proposal is foreseen as a prototypical development whose urban relations and development issues could be scaled and differentiated to meet the demands and forces within the given flood prone region.

The approach undertaken by Integrated Design was primarily based on the opportunities and limitations of the existing micro planning tool – namely Town Planning Scheme – to reinvent a strategy reconciling the inherent conflicts between urbanism and ecology. The town planning scheme mechanisms and their implications for the site have been examined through the first section of the paper. While thinking simultaneously at the smaller and larger territories, the concept of ecological infrastructure has been introduced as a flexible design tool to perform non-defensible mechanisms. The proposed new ecology for the site is details out a new model for development that places the principles of urban and social equity as the basis for development of areas prone to natural and industrial risks. By correlating ecological infrastructure with land values economics, it aims to provide wider benefits for local communities. To conclude, the approach undertaken does not propose a final product but rather a process that allows re-thinking the relationships between urbanism, landscape and ecology based on a collaborative mode of working. As a prototype, the proposed development could be scaled and differentiated to meet the demands and forces within the given flood prone region.


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