Creat. Sp.

Re-Planning \'Planned\' Public Spaces: The Neighborhood Market of Sector 15 in Chandigarh

Niyati Jigyasu

PUBLISHER The Author(s) 2014. This article is published with open access at

From the Greek Agora till today, market places have always been an important component of a city\'s public realm. These are the community \'s \'open-air living rooms which, while contributing to the city\'s economic growth, are platforms for unhindered social and cultural public interaction, and, even serve to encourage upward mobility in society. However, concepts of the public space in planned cities, especially the utopian productions of the 20th Century, are more focused on the physical and visual aspects of public space, and activity patterns regulated by the designer\'s vision of ideal societal behavior. Time, on the other hand, has shown that most of such planned spaces have performed differently, transforming in response to market forces and users predilections, thus highlighting the indispensable need for inclusiveness in urban design. Chandigarh, India\'s iconic 20th century planned city, is no exception. While many elements of the original plan had proved to be fairly robust till recently, one of the first ones to defy and demolish the planners\' perceptions was the Neighbourhood Market. Over the years, the cumulative effect of several \'unplanned\' (and, thus, unforeseen) user groups, activities, societal and technological advancements has transformed each of the markets in distinctive manners. Today, the challenge of accommodating various socio-cultural and economic groups, creating inviting and safe public spaces, satisfying the high end retailer, and supporting small-scale, informal commerce, while adhering to the \"Chandigarh Edict\", continues to confront planners and administrators. Clearly, some critical re-thinking is in order. This paper is based on an academic exercise undertaken by the author in 2011. Taking the particular case of \'Sector 15\', the objective was to understand the nature and causes of various transformations of the neighbourhood markets of Chandigarh, and, to explore pragmatic design possibilities of creating a stimulating and comfortable urban centre which, while respecting the intent, spirit and framework of the original urban concept, would give due credence to the present-day needs of its multiple sets of stakeholders.

Page(s) 105–125
ISSN Print : 2321-3892, Online : 2321-7154
DOI 10.15415/cs.2014.21006
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