On a hunt for the city’s forests and lakes
By Ramzauva Chhachhuak | Express News Service | Published: 05th January 2017 06:46 AM |
BENGALURU: The city has always had a close relationship with Nature. It once had over a 1,000 lakes and a forest cover that would put most cities in the country to shame. Many would, now, rightly argue that things have greatly changed with rapid urbanisation and population explosion.
At such a time, a project to create an ecological map of Bengaluru to document the “relationship between Nature and culture” and build a base for future research in the city’s ecology is being undertaken.
Called the ‘Ecological Maps for Indian Cities’, the project has been started on a pilot basis by the Landscape Foundation, a non-profit organisation that promotes landscape architecture. The foundation has tied up with Milaap, an online crowdfunding platform to raise funds.
Started about two weeks ago, the pilot will cover Bengaluru and Delhi and be completed by April. The project in this city is being spearheaded by two city-based landscape architects and will involve naturalists, historians, social scientists and spatial design professionals.
Geeta Wahi Dua, Campaign Manager of the project says, “Bengaluru has a strong Nature connect. Everything around the city is centered around a network of lakes which is intriguing. For the ecological map for the city, we had to consider the evolution of the city’s natural history, natural features before settlement, how lakes were numerous earlier and now considerably less. We will be looking at old archival maps and other sources to make the maps.”
There will be documentation of natural and man-made structures in the city – parks such as Cubbon Park and Lalbagh, monuments, lakes, urban forest like the Turuhalli forest. “These will be marked on the map with a photograph and a write-up. We will be elaborating on interesting few areas,” adds Geeta.
The map would be 28x19 inches in dimension, with one side listing significant features and the other side listing information on natural history from 1700’s, 1800’s along with a narrative from historians and geographers. There will also be Kannada versions of the map.
Prashanta Bhat, one of the landscape architects involved with the project, says that the project will be a “one-stop shop ecological map” that will diagram all the ecological features in the city and make one understand how they all link up together.
“Once done, such a map can be used for various purposes such as preparing a master plan for the city or figuring out green spaces to name a few.” It can be used by students, general public, professionals and development agencies.
T M Poonja, technical officer with Survey of India, Bengaluru, says that a project to prepare an ecological map for Benglauru had not yet been undertaken by his organization. “It would take a lot of effort that will involve doing a lot of ground work, accessing satellite images old and new. One of the oldest maps available for Bengaluru is from 1935. Resources such as this need to be accessed and updated,” says Poonja.