Creat. Sp.

Defining The Identity of Technocentric Transformations In An Urban Edge – A Case of Kazhakuttom, Trivandrum

Shahanaz Jaleel and Jacob Cherian


Technocentric Development; Technocentric Transformations; Urban Edge; Urban Identity

PUBLISHER The Author(s) 2016. This article is published with open access at

Technocentric developments often result in creating a socio-spatial duality in different contexts, forming a place identity with contesting nature of the global and local settlements. The location of technocentric campuses in the urban periphery results in a haphazard development with little response to the context, also resulting in social strife and generating possibilities of marginalisation and gentrification of the local communities in near future. This will affect the urban life due to a discontinuity in the urban realm. The current transformations include functional change of existing residential units into mixed-use commercial and lodging facilities and, conversion of vacant plots into high density residential and commercial functions. The transformations seen at the site of the case study also include the conversion of the earlier dead bypass stretch into a highly active corridor with restaurants, informal eateries, and hang out areas targeting the techie population which adds to the changing urban identity of Kazhakuttom. This paper attempts to envision the future development and urban identity of Kazhakuttom as the new economic district of Trivandrum city as a favourable work-live-entertainment environment with support facilities, while also incorporating local aspirations to ensure social and spatial continuity. The methodology involved a detailed macro and micro level primary study and analysis of Kazhakuttom so as to identify the issues. The methodology included correlating the primary study with literature study on concepts and theories of identity, glocalization, and hybridization. The design cues from related technocentric contexts in Silicon Valley, Gurgaon and Bengaluru allowed developmemnt of design strategies for integrating the technocentric campuses with the local context and culture of the place.


Kazhakuttom is an emerging technocentric zone on the urban edge of Trivandrum city, characterized by IT/ITES developments forming a Special Economic Zone (SEZ). It is located between Attingal and Trivandrum city, at the junction of the NH-47 and NH bypass. It is well connected with the airport and Kazhakuttom Railway Station (Fig. 1) According to the 2011 Census Kazhakuttom has a population of 38,837 [3]. The major technocentric campuses in the region are – Technopark, proposed Technopark Phase-III, UST Global and, the Infosys Campus. These are integral to the economic growth of the city. Technopark alone has 47,000 employees [18], with more than 50% a floating population from all over India (Fig. 2a). In addition, Kazhakuttom has numerous educational institutions. At a macro scale, the presence of numerous institutions has made the place very fragmented. The catalytic effect of technocentric developments, e.g.,banks, hotels, restaurants, hostels, lodges, hyper markets, etc. that cater to the new population – has given rise to scattered developments along the bypass and adjoining areas (Fig. 2b).

These new global developments, characterised by introverted and exclusive iconic buildings form zones, which strongly contrast with the local context. This creates inactive edges along campuses in Kazhakuttom, which affects the continuity of the urban realm. They stand as independent entities, poorly integrated with the context and have affected the identity of the place. The completion of Technopark Phase III in the near future will generate an additional 50,000 jobs [18], which will catalyze even more service-based developments. They have to be well integrated such that the inactive edges lacking visual continuity and activity causing fragmentation is minimized.

Page(s) 97–102
ISSN Print : 2321-3892, Online : 2321-7154
DOI 10.15415/cs.2016.41005

The design approach involving integration strategies, concepts of identity, glocalization and hybridization will result in a contiguous urban realm in a technocentric context with place based references. The existing transformation along the NH bypass has been made into an opportunity to devise context specific design guidelines to realize Kazhakuttom as the future technocentric hub of the city, aiming at global and local integration with service-based opportunity producing an enhanced place-based identity that will also add value to the imageability of Trivandrum.

  • AHMED A.S.S. (2011) Modernization and regionalism: Approaches for sustainable revival of local urban identity. Procedia Engineering, Vol. 21, pp. 503–512. Available from: article/pii/S1877705811048788, [Accessed: December 08, 2014].
  • BREAKWELL, G. M. (1986) Coping with Threatened Identities. London: Metheun..
  • Census data, Trivandrum District Collectorate, Election data, 2011.
  • CORREA, C., (1983) Quest for Identity. In: Proceedings of the Seminar on Architecture and Identity, Kuala Lumpur, 198v3. Singapore: Concept Media/Aga Khan Award for Architecture, pp. 10–13.
  • FRAMPTON. K. (1983) Towards a Critical Regionalism: Six points for an Architecture of Resistance. In: FOSTER, H. (ed.) The Anti-Aesthetic: Essays on Postmodern Culture. 1st ed. Seattle: Bay Press, pp. 16–30.
  • FRIEDRICH. S. (1998) Spatial Aspects of Cultural Identity and Social Segregation. In: TAN2 Conference Report on Cultural Identity and Spatial Segregation, 5-8 Nov. 1998.
  • GOVERNMENT OF KERALA. DEPARTMENT OF TOWN AND COUNTRY PLANNING (2012) Thiruvananthapuram Master Plan (Draft). Thiruvanthapuram: Thiruvanthapuram Corporation.
  • HARVEY, D. (1990) Chapter-17: Time-space compression and the postmodern condition. In: HARVEY, D. The Condition of Postmodernity – An Enquiry into the Origins of Cultural Change. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, pp. 284–307. Defining The Identity of Technocentric Transformations In An Urban Edge – A Case of Kazhakuttom, Trivandrum 101 101
  • KUDUG, D.C., CEBI, D.P. (2014) Exploring Emerging Identities and Generation of Hybrid Urban Forms in the City of Doha In: Composite Cities – Proceedings of the European Symposium on Research in Architecture and Urban Design, Istanbul, November 12-14, 2014. Istanbul Technical University, pp. 042:01-15.
  • LYNCH, K. (1960) The Image of the City. Cambridge, USA: The MIT Press.
  • NORBERG-SCHULZ, C. (1979) Genius Loci: Towards a Phenomenology of Architecture. New York: Rizzoli.
  • PROSHANSKY, H.M and FABIAN, A.K. (1987) Chapter-2: The Development of Place Identity in the Child. In: DAVID, T. G. and WEINSTEIN, C. S. (eds.) Spaces for Children - The Built Environment and Child Development. New York: Plenum Press, pp. 21–40.
  • ROBERTSON. R. (1992) Globalization: Social Ttheory and Global Culture. London: Sage Publications.
  • SAASEN, S. (1996) Whose city Is It? Globalization and the Formation of New Claims. Public Culture, 8 (2), pp. 205–223. doi:10.1215/089923638-2-205
  • STALLMEYER,J.C. (2011) Building Bangalore Architecture and Urban Transformation in India’s Silicon Valley. New York: Routledge.
  • SWYNGEDOUW. E. (1997) Neither global nor Local: ‘Glocalization’ and the Politics of Scale. In: COX, K. (ed.) Spaces of Globalisation: Reasserting the Power of the Local. London: The Guilford Press, pp. 137–166..
  • TAJFEL. H. (ed.) (1982) Social Identity and Intergroup Relations (European Studies in Social Psychology). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • TECHNOPARK (2015) Technopark Phase III. [Online] Technopark: Harmony @ Work. Available from: [Accessed on: 20/06/2015].
  • TWIGGER-ROSS, C.L. and UZZEL, D.L. (1996) Place and Identity Process. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 16 (3), pp. 205-220.
  • TWIGGER-ROSS, C.L., BONAIUTO, M. and BREAKWELL, G. (2003), Identity Theories and Environmental Psychology. In: BONNES, M., LEE, T., and BONAIUTO, M. (eds.) Psychological Theories for Environmental Issues. Aldershot, England: Ashgate Publishing, pp.203–233.