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Preserving the Image in the City

Original sketch perspective of street character

Allowing for Change

Chandigarh is a living city that is constantly growing, adapting and changing. The struggle within the city is how to allow for inevitable change without losing the distinct character so clearly established in the original design.

Different parts of the city face different design threats. The city’s commercial and institutional streets are established built forms and the threat of being torn down and reconstructed is minimal. Two key issues are AC units and unregulated signage that overrun façades and mask original designs. “Quick Fixes” of simple design legislation amendments can camouflage or organize these elements to complement the existing façades.

The city’s residential stock is in much greater flux and requires more robust, long-­term strategies for control. Houses are continuously subjected to the demands of the real estate market, where the transfer of property, demolition and remodel take place unevenly across the city. However, the greatest threat to the character of the residential neighborhoods may be an increase in population. Chandigarh is continuing to densify beyond the planners’ original expectations, and the city’s housing stock needs to adapt to these new external conditions. With housing prices in the city skyrocketing, the contemporary household composition includes multiple generations, as children cannot afford to move out and buy their own plots, as well as domestic workers and their families.

With the city built out, lot size adjustment is neither possible nor feasible as a long-­term solution to the housing demands. One way of meeting the demands of a growing population and adapting to this new household composition is allowing for an extension of the height limit of existing housing. This new building type will need a new set of frame control parameters.

Street perspective today, Sector 22

See also: Preserving the Image in the Periphery

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