Yashshree Karandikar

LA4008

Shopping through a Forest

The project aims at converting a regular market street into a market inside a forest experience for the users. The streets occupy maximum open space in a city and thus play an important role in bringing people together as a community for different kinds of activities throughout the year. The project intended to attract people from the city not just for shopping but also for different cultural activities by creating a safe and comfortable environment for them. The street being a connecting space between old and new city will help create awareness about the history and heritage among the people.  

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Site Details: Nagpur lies in the eastern part of Maharashtra state and the selected site is located in the central Nagpur area. The location makes it easily accessible by the whole city. It gets its name from the only fort in the city, Sitabuldi fort, which is adjacent to the street. Sitabuldi market is the first retail market established in 1947 and continues to do so until this day. It has proximity to all three public transport - the Main bus stand, railway station and the new metro station. The eastern part is the old city and the western is the new city. The images show the density of traffic on the street. It is completely occupied by pedestrians and vehicles throughout the day.

Site Analysis: The street being a retail market receives maximum traffic flow. It is a one-way street for the vehicles due to the same reason. This leads to heavy congestion on the street and causes accidents. The maps show the flow direction of pedestrians and vehicles in that area. People prefer parallel roads rather than the market street to go from old city to new city or vis-a-vi. Half of the street is occupied by street vendors. The sections show the current situation on the street with different street widths. The hawkers take over the space in front of the existing commercial shops on both sides of the street. This leaves a very restricted area for pedestrian movement. Even the narrow by-lanes are occupied by these vendors. The hawkers set up their stalls around 9-9.30 in the morning and wrap up by 11-11.30 at night, while the shops open by 11.30 am-12 pm and also by 8.30-9 pm. The public starts coming in around 12.30 pm and the street is occupied by them till 10.30 - 11 pm.

Site Analysis: One of the important observations on the street is the absence of vegetation throughout. The map shows the vegetation in that area. Nagpur has harsh summers and it is very difficult to walk in summer even during the evening hours. The absence of vegetation is one of the major reasons why people do not stop and pause anywhere on the street other than for shopping, There are no shaded spaces to be used by the pedestrians. The lack of green cover is consistent throughout the street and into the adjacent lanes. The street also has abandoned buildings in old Wada-style construction. There is a Heritage structure on the street which has lost its identity. There are no spaces for people to interact and for hawkers to take a break during the day.

Inference & Vision: From the site analysis it can be inferred that the first half of the street attracts maximum crowd due to the presence of roadside hawkers compared to the second half. This is the reason why the first half is active compared to the second half of the street. The street has one or two trees inside the adjacent lanes but none on the main shopping street, which makes it difficult to use during harsh summers. The absence of trees is also responsible for the lack of pause points on the street. There are old abandoned structures on the second half of the street which have the essence of old structures of the city but are overlooked by the public. The vision for the street is to create an experience of shopping through a forest. To reconnect the old city and the new city, also provide a safe environment and opportunities for pausing and gathering for a longer period of time. The lack of green cover in the current conditions can be taken up as a good chance to create brea

Corridor plan & Strategy: The strategy is to convert it into a pedestrian street during the day while allowing loading and unloading vehicles during the late-night hours. Introducing green cover throughout the street and incorporating small pause points, street vendors to create a comfortable space for the public. The central part of the street will have the activities while leaving the shops fronts open for better interaction with the public. The central strip will have a mix of spaces for street vendors, pause points and food stalls for the people to move through it. Additionally, the entrance, central & exit plaza will help give an identity to the space and maintain continuity till the end. The interaction nodes will help reduce the fatalities at the junctions. The before and after sections show the transformation of the street. The canopy will provide shade and comfort for the people to move around on the street.

Masterplan: The 500 m detail plan shows how the different strategies are incorporated on the street. The idea was to introduce modules with different spaces. Different options were explored before selecting this option. The module has a base of hawker spaces paired together. The rest of the space is for the movement of people. Then green pockets are incorporated to create the pockets. From the three different options for the modules, this is the selected module, which provides maximum porosity, ease of movement through the space and multiple entries and exit options while engaging the people through it. The green pockets also have different vegetation depending on the use, size and experience of that space. For example, one pocket will have a dense canopy while the other can be a clearing where people can sit and relax. The section along the street shows the modules creating interesting canopy and forming urban forest on the street.

Pocket plan: While detailing the plan, the modules on the street are enhanced according to the adjacent activities on the street. Open spaces are created in front of restaurants with extended seating to increase public interaction. Green pockets are introduced in front of the heritage structure to create awareness in the public about the history and heritage of the city. These different pockets help to develop different experiences on the street and keep it interesting and engaging. The entrance plaza is kept open and welcoming. The planters also have in-built seating for the public to spend time even if they are in the area for other engagements. There are a few shops between the entrance place and the street, this will create curiosity among the people moving along the main road and attract those people on this street. Similarly, the intersection nodes are designed to maintained porosity and increase visual connection.

Kinetics: The views show different spaces on the street. Each space allows the public to have a different experience while moving through it. Due to the flexibility of the modules and the absence of permanent structures, the street can be converted into different spaces when required. For cultural events, the space can be converted into a bigger space that can incorporate a temporary stage and seating. The location of the site will allow other festivals like food, dance, art to be held here.E.g., During the cultural event, it can be converted into a bigger space which can incorporate temporary stage and chairs. During other festivals or exhibitions, temporary shade can be created with stalls below it.

Material Pallete: The materials used on the street are derived from three factors - Forest experience, Heritage of the city and comfort of the users. The vegetation for the street will be native from the forest around the city and vegetation from the city. Stones like basalt sandstone found locally will be used for paving and street furniture. It is very important to select the material which is familiar to the citizens and provide them with a comfortable space. Different sizes of trees are used in different areas to cater to the requirements of the space. Larger open spaces have wide canopy trees to provide maximum shade for people to sit below them and spin some quality time. Similarly with the understory grasses where the public access is allowed and shrubs and hedges to protect the trees in some spaces. The saving material is kept the same with a different colour to demarcate the difference in hawker spaces and walkways. The views show how streets behave throughout the year.

The forest on the street will have a major impact on the heat island effect around the area. It will help the street in many ways, one of the most important being important in the quality of life. Trees and vegetation on the street will lower the surface and air temperature by providing shade. Evapotranspiration will help reduce peak summer temperature. Trees will help reduce pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. This will help improve the air quality. The shade from the trees will protect the paving and reduce maintenance. And finally, The vegetation will help absorb the rainwater and recharge the groundwater table. These interventions on the street will help to attract people from the city not just for shopping but also for different cultural activities. The modules throughout the street will help activate the second half of the street as well as continue to create a forest experience throughout the street. The comfortable and safe environment combined with the forest experienc