|Name:||Yafiz Siddiqui, Samia Anwar Rafa, Arnab Saha & Humayra Anan|
|Studio:||Level 5, Term 1|
|Studio Master:||Prof. Dr. Catherine Daisy Gomes, Mohammad Ruhul Amin & Simita Roy|
|University:||Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET)|
The proposal “Chennai Chooses” was one of the three special mentions by the jurors in the design competition Designing Resilience in Asia (DRIA) 2019 and was appreciated for the social innovation. The annual DRIA international design competition encourages foresighted urban and architectural design proposals, as well as promotes innovation in building technologies to ensure a specific community’s resiliency particularly prior to and during a disastrous event. A different community in Asia is picked every year as the competition’s test site through careful joint research. This year the event was organized by Department of Architecture, National Cheng Kung University (NCKU), Taiwan and the international competition took the theme of “GROWING CITIES, SHRINKING WATERS: Re-think the growing Chennai, Re-imagine the shrinking Pallikaranai marsh.” The proposal was presented before an international jury board including- Oscar Carracedo (Director,DRIA International Research Programme), Sean C.S.Chiao (President, Asia Pacific, AECOM), Brian McGrath (Professor, Urban Design, Parsons School of Design), Chang Ching-Hwa (Founding partner, Bio-architecture Formosana), Renee Y. Chow (Chair, Department of Architecture, UC Berkeley), Huang Sheng-Yuan (Founding partner, Fieldoffice architects), Ranee Vedamuthu (Professor and Dean, Anna University, Chennai).
| From the submission |
In 2015, Chennai made the headlines of the international media after it faced one of the most devastating floods in Indian history. At the same time, India saw its first crowd sourced flood map, a map that took information from people to mark inundated roads and relief centers. The history of Chennai shows an intimate relation between the people and their surroundings. But in the process of rapid urbanization people lost the feeling of ownership to their city which resulted into societal reluctance. The city wide development plans could be much more spontaneous and efficient if people participated in the design process.
This idea sparked the inspiration to create a mobile phone application where people can come together and actively participate in city decision making. A platform has been proposed which will empower people and put them in the driving seat, a platform where Chennai chooses.
A comprehensive interface will guide users through three different scales where they can participate. In order to achieve a resilient city resilient homes are the first step. Therefore, the process starts from home and follows a bottom up approach.
In the Your Home section, the interface will show the user three options. Garbage, rainwater and soakability.
In the Garbage option people are shown how they can participate in the overall waste management system by sorting their household trash.
In the Rainwater section a user is shown the ratio of rain water to ground water consumption. The interface takes information from user and calculates the capacity of the rain water tank.
The Soakability section shows the ratio of hard surface to permeable surface in a household. A user can increase soakability by rooftop and lawn gardening, vertical farming, etc. People’s participation in the home scale will be rewarded in cryptocurrency which can be used to attain everyday commodities.
In the Community section the user will find the ongoing projects in their locality and the prospects of those projects. The users will get to up-vote and down-vote the projects and choose from different options provided to them by the designer.
As a model community, the Pallikaranai area has been taken and the design strategies proposed interventions in this community has been shown through the interface.
The first intervention is the proposal of reviving the nearby Buckingham canal edge where the programs of the public spaces will be generated by crowd source data to create spontaneous activity zone. The city will act as a backdrop and the architecture as an accessory to bring the landscape to the foreground and reengage the people with their surroundings.
The next intervention is the Dump Park which will be situated at the Pallikaranai marshland. The perungudi landfill, at the heart of the marshland has reached its capacity and a Government proposal for a waste to energy plant is in place. The idea of integrating a public space with a WTE plant has been explored here so that the people of the nearby neighbourhoods can be aware of the waste management process that started from their household by sorting their trash. An uninterrupted walking trail is proposed to conserve this the marshland, one of the last remaining wetlands of Chennai.The waste to energy plant is connected to the walking trail and accommodates public activity on the roof thus the architecture facilitates an uninterrupted flow of nature.
Next a sponge park is proposed where the community parks can be transformed into rain catchment basins. These parks will act like sponge and absorb excess rain water and recharge the level of ground water. These parks will serve differently in dry and wet seasons.
Apart from these proposals, increasing permeability of the streets with the help of permeable paves and layers of vegetation can add to the water system.
The example of Pallikaranai can be treated as a pilot project to be replicated around different points in Chennai. The city option of the app, shows the scope of replication of the smaller design interventions around the city, in a larger scale.
Under this section the first proposal is a city wide sponge system where the percentage of hard surfaces are reduced both in home and community scale to start forming a city wide network.
The second proposal is the transformation of the Buckingham canal edge by replacing the flood wall with a natural slope or berm. This can increase the infiltration of the soil and the over flow of flood water can be slowed with the help of a vegetation layer.
The Buckingham canal can be divided into four zones after examining existing land use, activity pattern and natural advantages. In each zone a variety of activities are proposed from which people can choose and which will form the future image of the city.
Similar to the canal edge, the riverfront can be retrofitted with a plantation buffer which will help the rivers to grow
The garbage network that has been proposed in the pallikaranai area, can be replicated and effectively applied in various other points across the city
Taking note from Chennai’s past the future growth of the city will be directed towards landscape oriented development through crowd sourcing.
This platform will inspire Chennaiets to raise a wave of brainstorming regarding their city. As a result the city will start to think for itself and learn how to make the best use of its work force to solve its own problems. Inclusive and transparent collaboration among all stakeholders will pave the way to the future vision of Chennai, a future where Chennai will choose to be resilient.
CONTEXT contributing editor : Md Tarek Morad, Architect & Assistant Professor.