Architect Karan Grover has cited examples from other countries that could be lessons for urban planners and government advisers in India for jettisoning a commercial attitude towards city development.
He told the audience at the Connext Bangalore Dialogue that “When you visit the monuments of yore, you will find incredible respect for the green spaces. What are doing to our cities today? There is no city where we have not encroached on lung spaces. In the race to sell space, we have destroyed nature. Look at River Yamuna, it is 100 per cent ecologically dead. We need to draw lessons from the river restoration project in Seoul (South Korea) where a highway was built over the polluted Cheonggyecheon river in 1971 to have a cover for the pollution created. But this, they realised, only led to further degradation of the ecosystem. The city authorities demolished the nearly six km highway over the river in 2003 and restored the riverfront for recreation. Now two lakh people gather there every evening.”‘Horrendous’
“Our architecture is horrendous,” underlines Grover, “because it does not respect nature. Nor does it provide any delight.”
Coming down heavily on blindly replicating buildings that have nothing to do with our climate, culture and customs, he said, “The architecture of place, which is rooted to our context, was influenced by my interaction with monuments at Champaner. We need to address environment along with saleable space.”