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Prasanna Mattikop


Reimagining the grid - A biophilic neighborhood

Belgaum, rapidly developing under the smart city mission, has street development on a higher priority. As the street morphology in the city varies from organic, to grid patterns with service lanes, to rigid geometry of schemed layouts, here sits a neighborhood which dates back to the British times. Once a colonial setup with grid layout and service lanes, studded with stone bungalows hidden inside tropical landscape settings, is now fast growing into a dense urban fabric. This rapid transformation needs to be addressed so as to avoid degradation of altered hydrology, lost green cover, garbage disposal, sanitation problems, reduced interaction and dilution of social ties that once people shared. All of these are directly hampering the street usage pattern in this neighborhood currently. To add to the above the service lanes particularly defeat their very own purpose in today’s context and lay in social stigma as a neglected backyard, thus leaving a huge amount of public space unattended. The intent of the project revolves around three major aspects: 1. Reimagining the dead service lanes and activating them. 2. Promoting walkability and sociability in the neighborhood. 3. Connecting the neighborhood with the restricted forest adjacent to it, inorder to restore the fragmented ecology. Hence, the overall structure of the project largely focuses on creating a neighborhood that interacts with its surrounding in a cleaner, safer and a progressive manner. It reconnects the natural facets, works with the upcoming growth while achieving a balanced future with an inclusive development approach.

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Deciphering street morphology and introducing study area. The study area being a neighborhood with a grid layout with alternately placed service lanes.

Site analysis - Reading the neighborhood. A neighborhood with major 9-5 job employees shows extensive street usage due to a routine life style. Several seen and unseen impacts are evident here due to the changes in housing typology, landuse and mindless development.

Drawing inferences and seeding vision for the neighborhood development.

Strategies for reclaiming streets are primarily driven by 1) Complete reclamation along main streets without property openings involving pedestrianization; 2) Partial reclamation along mains streets with property entrances involves conversion to shared streets; 3) Impactful humanization along service streets to activate them as user friendly corridors.

Reclaiming street strategies master plan of the neighborhood- Visualizing street character of each typology.

Design development. 1) Deriving elements of direction – Map 1; 2) design mosaics based on a kit of parts - choice and rule based approach – Map 2; 3) Deciphering spatial attributes of each street typology – Map 3.

Transforming the street network - Proposed plans for completely, partially reclaimed and service streets

Derivation of material palette based on the idea of permeability and being contextually rooted. Similarly the planting palette ideates to form micro habitats along street networks and support ecological food chains.

Seasonal dynamics of streets based on the planting palette.

Anticipated transformation of the street network - Main streets transform into social hubs and service streets are humanized into walking alleys