Cities in India have a long history of evolution. So, the Morphology of Indian cities reflects its development during different historical phases.
Mostly all cities are partly spontaneous where history has played a more important role and are partly planned because of deliberate government policies.
American cities are much younger and therefore Central business district has exclusively commercial function, high risers, and skyscrapers.
But the Indian and European Central business districts are older. The cities will have a traditional architecture of not more than 2 or 3 stories. They will not have an exclusive commercial function. Such a Central business district will have a commercial function on the ground floor and first floor while the upper stories will have residential dwellings.
Since Indian and European cities are much older and have a long history, the region around the Central business district is always crowded with narrow by-lanes and a lack of civic amenities. Under the colonial experience, the New Central business district which is more planned was developed.
Almost all traditional cities of India have a lot of influence of different cultural architecture.
- The oldest cities with ancient origins have typical temple architecture. Temple towns of South India i.e. Madurai, Rameshwaram, Kanchipuram, Varanasi, etc.
- In medieval times with the advent of Muslim rulers, there was the influence of Islamic architecture (Persian influence). Indo-Saracenic style architecture with domes, minerals, gardens with waterfalls, Char Bagh pattern, etc.
- The European architecture is found in the presidencies and in the important administrative towns across India. The English brought with them railway colonies, civil lines, cantonments along with wider paved roads and better landscaping.
Social segregation is almost a feature of every city.
In European and American cities, the traditional segregation was on income lines. In India, segregation is based on racial and caste lines. Almost all cities of India have migrants from different regions and hence the cities also have linguistics segregations.
There are two models which can depict some of the features / Morphology of Indian cities
- The Bazaar Model
- The Port Based Model
The Bazaar Model
The planned extension will have its own European CBD and there is racial segregation.
The Port Based Model.
Many cities like Kolkata, Chennai, Madras, Pondicherry developed around the ports. The ports were once factories. Eventually, the ports were fortified and served both military and commercial functions.
For Example, the city of Calcutta developed around Calcutta port. It has the fort, Fort William which initially was a factory and eventually armed. The European town is distinctly apart from the native town. The native town is a neglected unplanned region with old Bazaars and lacks amenities. The European towns and its planned extension have both racial and income class segregations.
The structure of planned cities in India
Almost all planned extensions in India were done during
- Medieval times with Islamic architecture
- British times with European architecture and better amenities
- Post-independence modern planning which is invariably sectoral model (Iron grid model) Example - Chandigarh, Noida, Salt lake city, Navi Mumbai.
The sectoral model has a very efficient utilization of space in terms of connectivity with roads Crisscrossing at right angles.
Each sector is planned as a relatively self-contained sector with a shopping complex, schools, health services, etc.
Sectoral planning with mixed land uses tries to concentrate population so as to avoid the need for commuting over long distances for basic amenities.
Planning requires more clustering and encouraging vertical growth to deal with the congestion problem in the cities.
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