BENGALURU: Bengaluru is turning into a city of chaos, with its exploding population and jumble of traffic. Large part of this could be sorted through good design, and a group in the city is working towards it.
“There is lack of planning and design in practically every aspect of life in Bengaluru,” says Shyamala Prasad, newly inducted Chairperson of the Bengaluru Chapter of apex professional body called IIID (Indian Institute of Interior Designers). She adds that they are working to make a difference and hopes that “decision makers will approach them”.
IIID, with 30 chapters across India, has interesting initiatives that includes Designuru (which encourages public consultation in urban design), and SWAP and CoDe through which they salvage material from construction to build community spaces. On Friday, IIID inducted its new managing committee.
“Mayo Hall is an iconic structure which needs a change,” says Shyamala, who has been practising for two decades. “It has such amazing spaces... we could create so many public activities, in and around the building, and make it more accessible to citizens, to appreciate our past, and integrate our present.”
Construction debris is a bane for Bengaluru, occupying footpaths, choking lakes and using up landfills. IIID’s new head says that they may need to invest into R&D to solve this issue. Meanwhile, its members have encouraged “debate and dialogue” over it. “In our own way, we are asking our members to minimise the debris, by upcycling the usable material to repurpose spaces,” she says.
In 2009, the first phase of High Line in Manhattan, NYC, was opened to the public. An abandoned railway line was converted into a public park that runs for 2.3 km. Shyamala has many social-design projects that inspire her, but what stands out is this New York High Line. “What makes it special is that the initiative was taken by the citizens,” she says.
She admires the work of BV Doshi, internally acclaimed architect who founded School of Architecture in Ahmedabad and pioneer in urban planning, low-cost housing and environmental design. “His contribution to architecture and education is truly admirable,” says this alumna of Maharaja Sayaji Rao University in Baroda.