Written by Aggam Walia
Southern sectors of the city need more greenery and parks as do the new townships coming up on the periphery of the City Beautiful. This was the consensus at the Chandigarh College of Architecture, as it celebrated World Heritage Day with a seminar on the theme “Natural Landscapes”in collaboration with International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS).
Prof. Amita Sinha, a visiting professor at IIT Kharagpur, initiated the event with a talk titled “City in Nature- Planning the Urban Periphery”.
She was followed by architects Amrit Panwar and Parmeet Singh Bhatt, who talked about Chandigarh’s transformation from a rural landscape to an urban one. They also shared proposals regarding the city’s urban plan for 2031. A panel discussion was held after this where academicians like Prof. Rajiv Lochan and Prof. Ravinder Kaur, joined by others, talked about the urban-rural divide and the future of Chandigarh’s landscape, among several other things. The event concluded with a book launch of architect Saumya Sharma’s “Approach to Conservation and Restoration – A Specific Focus on Cultural Heritage of Shimla”.
Prof. Amita Sinha took the examples of cities like Jamshedpur, Lucknow and Varanasi to explain the various influences on their landscapes. She also spoke of the need to integrate nature in cities.
Sharing proposals for the city’s future, Panwar emphasised on the need to have more parks and open spaces in the southern sectors. She also felt that the surroundings of the Capitol Complex have to be revisited. She advocated for the conservation of the Sukhna wetlands and hoped to see migratory birds in the area.
The panel discussion, which included geographers, historians, lawyers, architects and planners, talked about the ways of addressing Chandigarh’s peripheral problems. They looked at various aspects of the issue by talking about the ecological, economical and social factors it concerns.