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PERCEPTION OF URBAN

PUBLIC SQUARES IN INDIA

Dissertation submitted by
VAISHALI SHARMA
123701008
B.Arch. VII Semester C

Faculty of Architecture
Manipal University
Manipal

November 2015

Faculty of Architecture
Manipal University
Manipal

CERTIFICATE

We certify that the Dissertation entitled -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------, that is being submitted by Name & Roll no of the student, in the VII
semester

of

B.Architecture

undergraduate

programme,

Faculty

of

Architecture, Manipal University, Manipal is a record of bonafide work, to the


best of our knowledge.

-------------------------------Faculty in charge

--------------------------Director

ACKNOWLEGEMENT

I take this opportunity to sincerely thank the people without whose guidance
and valuable contribution, directly or indirectly the dissertation would not have
been possible.
First and foremost, I show my utmost gratitude to my professor and guide,
Prof. Deepika Shetty, whose constant advice, sincerity and encouragement
helped the project to take its present shape. Also, my gratitude goes out to my
panel professors, Asst. Prof. John Bennette John and Asst. Prof. Arun
Hariharan Natarajan; and also Prof. Sahana for the initial guidance and
motivated push towards the project. I would also like to forward my sincere
thanks to the Head of the Department, Prof. Nishant Manapure, for the
direction provided in the initial stages.
I am also extremely grateful to my friends and colleagues for their
cooperation, valuable inputs and support throughout the term unconditionally.
Last but not the least; I would like to thank my family and brother, Mr. Rajdeep
Sharma for their expert advice in all matters and the strength they give to
believe in the success of the project.

THANK YOU!

IA

ABSTRACT

Historically the public square has been an important element in the physical
designs of cities drawings its functions from the political, religious, commercial
and leisure life. The pedestrian use of these spaces were largely dependent
on the form, internal function, the adjoining land and building uses as well as
its connection to the city fabric of India. The analysis of such factors is done in
an historic and descriptive survey, field or questionnaire survey and study of a
few existing public places in India. The people who use the square come from
a wide spectrum of age groups, occupations, religion and classes. These
square seem to have an appeal to the community as a whole
If an open square is to be developed as a vital element within the urban
structure it should be planned to optimise the influence of those factors, which
will increase its amenity, desirability and hence the degree of its use, seen in
the light of an Indian context.

CONTENTS
CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION ..................................................................... 1
1.1 BACKGROUND...................................................................................... 1
1.2 RELEVANCE OF STUDY ...................................................................... 1
1.3 AIM ......................................................................................................... 2
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTION ........................................................................ 2
1.5 OBJECTIVES ......................................................................................... 2
1.6 DEFINITIONS......................................................................................... 2
1.7 SCOPE AND LIMITATIONS ................................................................... 3
1.8 METHODOLOGY ................................................................................... 4
1.9 OUTCOME ............................................................................................. 5
CHAPTER 2- LITERATURE STUDY ............................................................... 6
2.1 INTRODUCTION .................................................................................... 6
2.2 EVOLUTION OF PUBLIC SPACES ....................................................... 6
2.3 HISTORY OF PUBLIC PLACES IN INDIA ............................................. 8
2.4 URBAN DEVELOPMENT IN INDIA AND ITS ........................................ 9
PUBLIC OPEN SPACES.............................................................................. 9
2.5 CRITERIAS FOR PUBLIC PLACES IN INDIA ..................................... 11
TYPOLOGY ............................................................................................ 11
ACCESSIBILITY ..................................................................................... 13
ACTIVITY ................................................................................................ 15
SPATIAL ORGANISATION .................................................................. 18
SECURITY .............................................................................................. 28
ICON GENERATION .............................................................................. 29
CHAPTER 3- CASE STUDIES ...................................................................... 32
3.1

INTRODUCTION .............................................................................. 32

3.2

METHODOLOGY ............................................................................. 32

3.3

CASE 1 - JAIPUR ............................................................................. 33

3.4

CASE STUDY 2 AHMEDABAD ..................................................... 35

3.5

CASE STUDY 3- KOLKATA ............................................................. 37

3.6

CASE STUDY 4- DELHI ................................................................... 40

3.7

CASE STUDY 5- MELBOURNE ....................................................... 43

3.8

PRIMARY CASE STUDY - MANIPAL .............................................. 47

CHAPTER 4- DATA ANALYSIS .................................................................... 49


4.1 INTRODUCTION .................................................................................. 49
4.2 ANALYSIS ............................................................................................ 49
4.3 CONCLUSION ..................................................................................... 56
CHAPTER 5 FINDINGS AND IMPLICATIONS........................................... 58
5.1 INTRODUCTION .................................................................................. 58
5.2 FINDINGS AND IMPLICATIONS ......................................................... 59
Access .................................................................................................... 59
Image / Spatial Configuration .................................................................. 60
Activities .................................................................................................. 62
Comfort ................................................................................................... 63
Security ................................................................................................... 64
5.3 CONCLUSION ..................................................................................... 65
BIBLIOGRAPHY ............................................................................................ 66
APPENDIX .................................................................................................... 69
SURVEY QUESTIONNAIRE ......................................................................... 70

CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION
1.1 BACKGROUND
In India, as in most poor countries, the public place has always been the
street. The mixture of activities at street level hides a rigid stratification within
society. The cities are will, invariably, be divided into various quarters, each
housing or catering to a group defined by ethnicity, religion, or wealth. The
territories of each group may be rigidly marked- such as the high walls of the
rich- or more subtly demarcated, as in the narrow lanes leading off main
streets that create the boundaries of a Muslim or Hindu neighbourhood. While
each separate group has its own institutions and meeting places- religious
temples and mosques, clubs, society as whole has very few common meeting
gathering grounds. To feel themselves as part of a larger imagined
community' that transcends individual difference; people need to experience
the expression of this community in real, physical terms.

1.2 RELEVANCE OF STUDY


India, being in a rapid phase of urbanization; except very few urbanized
metropolitan cities, the majority of the small and medium size cities are now
growing since the last decade. The cities usually have traditional settlement
as an urban core, developed in the medieval period with an organic pattern
and almost frozen in time till the 19th century. Not only in India but in most of
the world, built environments evolved gradually and the values about human
preferences got embedded into it. For modern planners, the environments
with organic spatial organization are usually chaotic due to obvious geometric
irregularity which is considered as a disorder, but they seem to be in
harmony with the users. This harmony is getting lost in the emerging urban
environments of developing cities, though these urban environments satisfy
most of the physical parameters. Planners need to start designing spaces
keeping these user preferences and their connections to the environment in
mind. Such spaces should respond to the peoples common culture, history
and sentiments.

1.3 AIM
This dissertation attempts to discuss, elaborate and quantify on how a public
square, changes or induces certain behavioural patterns among the people in
India and the factors of a public space which allows it to be used most
effectively.
The dissertation is intended with the need of understanding open
environments in urban cores of Indian cities, in terms of their spatial
configurations as a result of user preferences. This may help to evolve a
humane approach to deal the emerging open spaces in developing cities of
India.

1.4 RESEARCH QUESTION


What are the various factors and elements of public city squares that
recognises the true function and character of the space and how these
elements are able to mould public behaviour for the effective use of the city
squares in India?

1.5 OBJECTIVES

To understand the meaning of city squares and effective-use.

To study the behavioural patterns and responses to different types of


city squares.

To determine factors and elements that caters to the effective use of


public squares.

To be able to identify forms and shapes that enhances the experience


of a square.

To be able to relate the above factors to Indian context and come out
with a list of guidelines for public space design in India.

1.6 DEFINITIONS
Public space or square is defined as the ensemble of state owned, free
access open space. They are like physical voids that offer breathing space
amid the built environment. They have a dynamic relationship between form,
space and function. The openness and robustness of it makes them the
centre of city events and act as social nodes. Every community needs a

symbol of its existence, a centre on which to focus life. Public spaces can be
such a symbol and are the pulse of a city. They form nodes or focal points,
symbolizing shared identity and culture. Urban public spaces can be defined
as elements within an urban fabric, which bind the different components of a
city together, reinforcing the urban fabric.
Perception is defined as the ability to see, hear, or become aware of
something through the senses. In psychology it is the neurophysiological
processes, including memory, by which an organism becomes aware of and
interprets external stimuli. It is the way in which something is regarded,
understood, or interpreted.
Urban is a word that pertains to or relates to a city. Urban fabric is the
physical aspect of urbanism, emphasizing building types, thoroughfares, open
space, frontages, and streetscapes but excluding environmental, functional,
economic and sociocultural aspects.

1.7 SCOPE AND LIMITATIONS


Among various deficiencies that our cities present today, a major lack is the
inability to promote successful public squares, where the population can take
advantage of a good environment which is reflected by good levels of static
occupancy rates. We need to understand the morphology and principles
governing patterns of space use of open public spaces. Often, public areas
either in housing estates, office developments or simply in areas of public
domain are relegated to become more of a no-go area than a lively urban
space; whereas other areas, perhaps not planned to work as "public squares"
seem to incorporate all the necessary elements to become a popular place.
The study will be restricted to the study of behavioural patterns in city
squares. Public spaces, relating to water front, residential areas, parks etc.
are ruled out.
Also, I will mostly look into the perception of people in such spaces and not
focus on the social interactive aspect.

1.8 METHODOLOGY
This research will be based on such variables that cannot be measured
directly as values, neither can they be defined. Behaviour of people is a
subjective term that differs from individual to individual and also from
environment to environment, dependent largely on the perception of people.
There will be no definite answer as to how a city square be designed to
induce the correct kind of behaviour. There will be a variety of different
spaces, experiences, structures, forms etc. that will affect different people in
various ways.
Hence, an effective way to determine the factors that stimulate people
behaviour, in a similar way is by studying the impact of various existing
examples of the sort as case studies, both secondary and primary. Primary
case studies will include activity mapping and visual analyses of the people
and interviewing some of the users for a better idea of the space.
Also, surveys, mainly visual surveys, can be done on varied age group of
people to get an idea of different perspectives of people of different forms of
spaces. Since, it is not possible to physically study the behaviour or
perception of so many people at varied locations, visual questionnaires that
might give the people an idea of the space, can be circulated and surveyed
upon.
Literature study of the space in question and the different behavioural
patterns is an obvious part of the research process, to understand the norms
of designing these spaces and how different geometries of a public square
within the fabric of a city, affect not only the people using it but also the
surrounding city. Also, it will give an idea about how effectively the squares
are used and what can be done for greater effectiveness.
A study of the history of public squares is necessary to understand how
these spaces acted in the past and why, how they evolved through the ages
and their impact on the social fabric and mind-set of ancient towns. This is
extremely important, as it gives us the roots of designing public squares;
understanding the reason behind their failure or success, will help in creating
more effective town squares.

Through spatial analysis, we examine plans and sectional drawings to


understand the relationships between the spatial characteristics of the square
and peoples activities, based on the literature review and secondary data
gathered. This includes defining the boundaries, surrounding context,
connecting networks, visibility, connectivity and the locations of the design
components
Also, a study of some public squares around iconic structures must be done,
where a more formal behaviour may be noticed. This will help in knowing the
factors or the elements that brings about order in a public square.
In this case, the behavioural patterns and perception are the dependent
variable on the nature of the public city square, which is independent of any
external factor. At the end, I must analyse and conclude on specific factors
that stimulate effective behaviour. So, the city/town square becomes a
constant, and the behavioural patterns or perception is the variable dependent
on the quality of space.

1.9 OUTCOME
At the end of this dissertation, I should be able to:

Identify typical criteria/parameters of a city square.

Their configurations and spatial arrangements for easy and effective


use by public.

The different forms, shapes and spaces and how they impact the user.

Come up with the best combination of factors and elements to be able


to design an effective city square of iconic character in India.

CHAPTER 2- LITERATURE STUDY


2.1 INTRODUCTION
Urban public spaces in India present a distinct dichotomy of constancy and
change. The constancy comes from the concept of public spaces being the
underlying spirit of Indian way of life. Tradition wraps public spaces with
people and their defined activities that stamp the permanency factor on them.
Integral spaces is the key to such constancy as the space, the architecture,
the urban art, people and function merge and have no distinct separation line.
The entering of the car and vehicles has declined the roles of people in urban
spaces. With enter modernity to cities changed the urban spatial structure of
roles. Square was the integration, the role of an invitation to stop and looking,
has changed the role of distribution and transmission. (Priya Sasidharan,
Dichotomy of Urban Public Spaces 2012)

2.2 EVOLUTION OF PUBLIC SPACES


The first city formations appeared 6000 years ago. The most well-known
earliest example of todays public squares is Greeks Agora. Democracy
shape Greek cities. The Agora was an open place in the city centre where all
kinds of gatherings; such as political meetings, athletic and musical games,
theatre performances and commercial activities took place. The geometrical
form of the agora was usually square or rectangle.
Similarly, the Roman Forum was a large open space where people gather for
political, economic and social activities. It was the combination of agora and
acropolis since it included more activities (such as shrines, temples, the hall of
justice

and

the

council

houses)

with

more

formal

order.

Later, Most of the open public spaces were shaped around religious buildings.
During this period commercial activities took place also in public spaces.
Therefore in middle ages, open public spaces were used mainly for religious
ceremonies, and as marketplaces.

In the neo-classical period (the Renaissance and Baroque period). Formal


designs and plans were very common in this period. Symmetry and order
were the essential principles in design of the squares .Monuments and
fountains were added to the design to create aesthetically pleasant
environments axial order, balance and hierarchy became main design
principles during the Baroque period. In this period, open spaces were
designed to create visual and ceremonial effects.
In 19th century, industrial revolution caused dramatic changes in urban
design and planning. The establishment of broad railway networks leaded to
population increase in urban areas which stimulated growth of cities. New
industrial areas were developed near cities and labour class began to move
into cities to dwell. There was an emerge of shopping arcades, shopping
streets, bazaars and department stores created a new form of public space,
especially for women. Pedestrian movement and freedom were limited. In the
second half of the 20th century, many urban squares turned into crossroads
especially in developing countries. (Memluk, Designing Urban Squares 2013)

F IGURE 1.

EVOLUTION OF PUBLIC SQUARES

2.3 HISTORY OF PUBLIC PLACES IN INDIA


The cities of India have had a traditional settlement as an urban core, which
developed during the medieval period under the reign of the Hindu and then
the Muslim rulers.in the ancient times, at the beginning of civilisation, the
Harappa Mohenjo-Daro cities were well planned. There public square was
raised on a mound with different structures like the Great Bath, Assembly Hall
etc., forming a vitality of public spaces open to all.
But later, when aristocracy came in to the picture, class differences led to
differentiation of spaces. The people belonging to the Royal patronage and
Brahmins would enjoy large open leisure gardens, geometrically set out,
within the palace boundary. This was not open to the general public. These
spaces were used for formal assembly or performances by dancers, religious
rituals etc. they would be grouped around ornamental elements that served as
a symbol of the State at that time. They sometimes served as parade grounds
as well.
For the lower classes, the place of congregation was the temple courtyard.
People of the same faith and belief would meet and interact. This again was
formal in nature to some extent owing to the sanctity temple traditions and
rules. Also, during the visit of the King, the space would be closed for the
public. Market places were another place which formed a public square. They
did not have any definite character, yet were popular users owing to the users
and the function. These bazaars would line along the streets creating a
character of its own. During festive times, these streets were decorated,
lighted up for processions. Hence, the character was mouldable.
The Muslim rule brought about order in the spatial planning. The un-built
spaces were given as much importance as the built- no distinction between
street and room. There was a grouping of rectangular pavilions along definite
axes and buildings were organised in progression around it. The pavilions and
open spaces were mostly enclosed by arcades or buildings on the sides and
had defined characteristics that formed an image of the space, meant solely
for leisure Monumental structures when built had sprawling gardens, spread
out in front. Everything was organized according to this principle: the layout of

architectural elements, the hierarchical organization of decorative symbols,


even the practice of gardening. The space would be divided into quadrants by
means of pathways and water channels. Intersection of two pathways would
form a nuclear element like a fountain or statue; hence interest exists
throughout the grounds. The pathways bordered patches of green lawns in
between. All were at right angles to each other, so the space had a number of
parallel sight lines and perspective view from different angles. It has been
considered a specific, self-contained entity removed from its contextits
surroundings, the city, and the environment- a religious paradise. By virtue of
its newness they have been preserved till date. But all these had defined
complexes. The mosque courtyard was another place meeting ground, open
to all.
With the advent of the British rule, Indian public places lost its traditional
value. Even with the irregularities of geometric ratios, the perception of
disorder was in harmony with the users. But he British, introduced their own
system of public squares based on length and breadth ratios, with large
gardens and central features. Though they beautified the space, they were
unpopular as the people it has been built for had no connection to them. The
crossroads before their government buildings also became squares but failed
for the same reason and their size compared to the population size of that
time. These squares became nothing but meeting and protest grounds for the
freedom fighters. The fall of the British rule, came with urbanisation and
industrialisation in India, which changed the nature of public spaces.

2.4 URBAN DEVELOPMENT IN INDIA AND ITS


PUBLIC OPEN SPACES
Concept of space in the context of the Indian sub-continent is that There is
no outer space without inner space". The space is constructed with
participation of the self. It is particularly this quality which results in its
transient nature and multiplicity of interactions in the same place.

(Priya CHOUDHARY 2012)

These are not concepts of space that are limited to

special sites and building in the city but are embodied in the ordinary domestic
spaces, street corners, open spaces, etc. in the city. The Indian cities are
chaotic urban spaces that seem to be a collage of disparate objects, people
and their activities.
India has gone through massive changes in the last two decades. India preliberalization is quite a shift from the post-liberalization India. The opening up
of the Indian economy not only resulted in the structural changes in the
industrial sector but more importantly it became a part of the larger global
network. There was a formation of the new young urban class in India. This
class is very different from the generic Indian middle class because it is a
product of liberalization. They are both demographically young and urban in
location, as well as self-consciously cosmopolitan in orientation. The
networking of societies has led to this new urban class wanting the best of
both worlds- the globalised society of the west and vestiges of our past
refashioned to suit the penchant for the pastiche and a larger cultural fusion
Our urban spaces, have witnessed a transformation. Malls, fly over's, metro,
wider roads, transit hotels, convention centres, cafs and such became the
focus of development. Malls were projected as the new public places to be in.
Malls are usually singularly controlled interiorized set-ups, which are at the
same time comparable to the scale of any bazaar, retailing out a diverse
range of commodities and mostly trying to create a private space within the
public realm. (Rathore, A Critique on Contemporary Urban Spaces 2013)

F IGURE 2.

TRANSFORMATION OF PUBLIC PLACES IN INDIA

10

2.5 CRITERIAS FOR PUBLIC PLACES IN INDIA


1. Typology
2. Accessibility
3. Activity
4. Spatial organisation
5. Image
6. Security
7. Icon Generation
TYPOLOGY
In India public places can be categorised into two types: Streets and Squares.
The streets developed around built or un-built spaces as a means to facilitate
the spread of settlement. Squares developed as a result of grouping of
houses around a courtyard, which later formed agoras, forums cloisters, open
grounds etc. in the very nature of these public places, the square is a more
attractive space to spend time in, than a street that is more functional in
nature.
Streets Indian urban cities are mostly divided into two parts; the traditional
city and the colonial city. In the traditional cities, the sic spatial characteristic
of elemental streets is felt volume, which is generated by vertical wall planes
that bound it on either side. Because of the mix of elements and function, the
streets act literally and metaphorically as exterior rooms of the city; they
function as places as well as links. Earlier the building fronts would face the
streets and their backs a courtyard creating a combination of open spaces.
However in modern cities, the variety of such spaces is diminishing. The
street no longer exists, but is merely a link- a road to transfer traffic.
Ellis classifies streets as unified wall or series of pavilions and elongated
courtyard. These produce a positive street space, generated from the building
facades, the streets being carved out of amass of buildings. Hence the street
is more volumetric and prominent the buildings. Therefore, the faade belongs
more to the street than the building. This was the type of organisation in the
colonial parts of the city.
Based on the activities that take place on the streets, they are classified as:

11

Pedestrian (static and dynamic) and Non-Pedestrian. Dynamic activities


would include walking, strolling, activities that are constantly in movement.
Static activities include sitting, standing, squatting, eating etc.
Spaces for pedestrians need to be complex and interesting whereas for
motorists, simple and tunnel-like. Speed is an important factor in what one
can perceive in unit time. While driving, one has high speed, so the citys
image becomes an amalgamation of partial views over time. However,
pedestrians have lower speed. They appreciate the finer details of the
environment. They are more aware of the place and hence have a clearer
idea of the meaning of space. The perception of complexity is relative to the
no. of noticeable differences per unit time and hence the speed. High speed
requires design to be having distant views, gradual curves, large regular
rhythms, symmetrical spaces and simplicity. Slow speed requires having
shorter views, intricate, complex and asymmetrical in nature, winding with
hidden views- to encourage walking and strolling.
Squares- in India, city squares and plazas, were introduced only during the
British colonial rule, which has become the hub of social activity. If we regard
streets as rivers channelling the stream of human communication.the
square represents a natural or artificial lake. Three elements define it:
1. Walls of surrounding buildings
2. Area of the ground
3. Sky over the square
In most traditional cities, these were formed at the intersection of two major
crossroads (chowks). They acted as market squares, mosque squares,
temple courtyards, open spaces, venues for cock fights, preaching etc. There
was a translation of Vedic principles and concepts to forms such spaces
within the pols, mohallas and group them to give a central location for
interaction. In metro cities, these chowks have merely reduced to traffic nodes
which need to be rehabilitated as safe public places.

12

In Islamic cities, these chowks or pavilions acted as units of space which were
multiplied along different axes at right angles to evolve into a city or fortress.
Buildings would be placed in the empty plots left.
Squares are often designed as formal and informal spaces. The informal ones
being more prevalent and used in India. Formal spaces have a strong sense
of enclosure with ordered flooring, lighting and street furniture. The
surrounding buildings also enhance the formality by their symmetrical layout.
Informal squares are more asymmetrical and relaxed in character with a
variety of architecture. But in both types, the designers pay respect to its
boundaries.
While both the elements- the dynamic street and the static squares seem to
be different, but are actually connected to each other in the cityscape. A
Street gives a much bigger importance to square than just forming the edge
and an important square can enhance the use of a street. Thus the way they
interact can bring another dimension the place.

ACCESSIBILITY
Access refers to how well a space is linked to its surroundings, physically and
visually. These spaces must not only be connected; easy to get to and
around; but also be seen from a distance (perception). The feel of
approaching a public place draws people to the open environment. This can
be brought about by gradual change of the streetscape, lighting, street
furniture or in the Indian context. An array or continuous row of shops will
serve the same purpose.
The most basic quality of a public space is the freedom for anyone to enter it.
There are three major types of access

Physical access A public space should be physically accessible to


the general public. Any sort of physical barrier such as gates, fences,
hedges or guards as in the outdoor stores, makes the space
inaccessible, hence not truly public.

13

Visual access Clear visibility of a public space is important for


people to feel free to enter a space and helps a user ascertain if it is
safe and inviting. While providing free visibility one needs to keep in
mind peoples need for relaxation and privacy. Hence a balance needs
to be struck between security by way of clear visibility and retreat by
way of shelter from direct observation.

Symbolic access presence of certain people or design elements


often suggests symbolic access to a public space; that is welcome or
not welcome.

These three types of access physical, visual, and symbolic frequently


interact and can present a strong or ambiguous picture of who is free to enter
a space and who has control over the right of access.
Often the placement of public squares is seen as an accident as a result of
organic planning more than forethought. However in the newly planned cities,
the choice is often deliberate. Centrality appears to be the norm for public
places, the principle meeting ground of the city. However, port towns develop
public places, apart from the central location, along the waterfront. These not
only cater to the existing activities of public places, but also they exploit the
waterfronts commercial value. Political and religious life can be celebrated
elsewhere within the city fabric, i.e. two separate areas for separate function,
both having a good a connection, intra as well as intercity. Moreover,
interlinking these two plazas will not be difficult as the water (sea, river, lake)
is the core value of the city, whereas the central plaza is the heart of the city.
The connectivity and permeability of the urban fabric allows for multiple
alternative paths and connections, between different spaces. In such a case,
they might act as a destination, a place to pass through or an incidental
destination. Together with compactness, the space combines different
interconnected and overlapping circulation routes. That increase individual
choices, contribute to higher probability of change and contrast, with a
diversity of people and actions. Also, the density of public places can be
managed through multiple entrances, buildings and facades.

14

According to the spatial organisation of traditional Indian public places,


continuity and linkages are important aspects. In the past Indian cities have
evolved through organic planning- shifting axis of movement. This has helped
to unfold the spaces gradually and introduce an element of surprise. They are
intertwined with the citys built fabric. We see that the public places have
evolved and are most functional in the central parts of the city, well connected
to the rest of the town. This link can be brought about, by either creating by
intention or default, public places near to, between or in front of religious
structures like mosques or temples, as these spaces gather majority of the
Indian crowd. Indians would tend to relate to such spaces more, with a greater
understanding of meaning and symbolism. As a result of these holy structures
and their meaning to the general public, these public squares become an area
of great interest and succeeds as gathering ground. In metro cities, public
areas are created where a no. of bus routes or subway lines meet. This
improves the accessibility to the area. These become amorphous squares
as a result of the traffic pressures of crossroads.
Another aspect that needs to be looked into is the diversified culture and
population of India. To bring in the different classes, castes and religion of
India to socialise in a single public arena is a great challenge in itself. This
needs strategic placement of public squares in areas between two different
worlds; e.g. - the New Market in Kolkata. Most Indian cities have a Muslim
community, a Hindu community, Parsi community etc. these areas should be
accessible to all joined by a string of public units and spaces (monuments,
gardens, offices, museums etc.) that make up a zone of common interaction.

ACTIVITY
The activities that occur in a public place- friendly interactions, public
concerts, community art shows etc. - are its basic building blocks; he reason
why people come in the first place and return. Activities also make a place
special and unique, which in turn also helps generate community pride.

15

These activities can be grouped as:


FORMAL

IN-FORMAL

Political

- Traffic

Defence

Religion

- Aesthetics

Leisure

The formal public areas are directly related and dependent upon the land, the
adjoining building use and function of the square. The function of these
spaces would change if the factor on which they are dependent changes, but
not necessary the form. They are formed in front or around religious buildings,
open yards in front of government buildings. Military parades and functions
may be held in large open grounds, with symbolic iconic structures, creating a
monumental public space. While the temples gathered for sacred activities,
the formal gardens of government offices expressed political power and
enhanced the arts- dance, music literature-serving as podiums to honour the
Indian spirit as well as commemorative events. Such spaces are mostly
restricted to India. These are known as associative function squares.
Informal public squares are like internal function squares, where
activities for which it has evolved and has been established take place
entirely upon the open space of the square, without this activity having
any dependency upon the land or building use. Its function is
independent and self-centred. Such activities include mostly a market
place for exchange and selling of goods in India. T his commercial hub
attracts majority of the Indian population from different classes and
backgrounds. Original bazaars of India had developed at the nodes or
junction of two man connecting streets. These squares, known as
chowks became the social hub, and they were often developed to give
it an architectural character to which the population could relate, e.g. The chowks of Jaipur. These form arterial node function squares. But
today they have reduced to mere traffic nodes where character and
space also does not help in its effective use as a public place, due to
increasing automobiles and busy lives. Areas with an ornamental
structure within a park serve for the sole purpose of beautification and

16

leisure, but again are mouldable to hold functions and concerts from
time to time.
Informal public places are flexible in design, that is, they serve for
various purposes during different times of the day and different
seasons. Within a day, the activities might change according to the
typology of the trading that takes place. Seasonal changes occur when
spaces are transformed using canopies and lighting alongside to
accommodate the religious activities, protests, ceremonies etc. Of all
the activities, the market forms an integral part of Indian public places.
Often the activities of a public space are a result of the affordance. It is
a matter of things to do and see which can be:
NECESSARY

OPTIONAL

SOCIAL

- Shopping

one undertakes

requires the presence

- Going to work

willingly or if time

of others.

and place permits

The distribution of necessary activities becomes a mechanism for


supporting optional activities, preventing single function areas and
monopolising social life. The integration of activities, function and their
users in and around public spaces enhances effective use.
We see that the function of a public place plays a major role in
attracting visitors- providing a smooth transition between the private
and public realm- which provides opportunities for public space use.
The relationship is bi-directional. Transparency in design will allow
public space users to perceive what lies beyond, communicating the
points of interest and activities and that there are possibilities of
retreat.
Different people and user groups use public space differently, based on
regional, ethnic and life-cycle stage differences. Class is an important
indicator of how users use a space. Lower income groups use space more

17

intensely and often prefer the street as public space. Public space is
extremely important for the lower income groups in, especially those living in
traditional neighbourhoods who need open space as a respite from crowded
living conditions, and for fresh air and recreation. Also the age of a person or
life-cycle stage determines their priorities and the level of mobility they have 6.
For example senior citizens are less mobile than teenagers and hence need
spaces that are easily accessible. The size and heterogeneity, also affects
the balance between the public and private Heterogeneity can lead to
withdrawal to the private realm.

SPATIAL ORGANISATION
The way open areas are arranged and patterned in a system of spaces is the
spatial configuration of the area. Irregularity is the primary feature of the
organic pattern, as it cannot be measured in geometric properties like rhythm,
symmetry, repetition, parallel elements, alignment etc. these parameters help
to find out order; lack of these properties is labelled as disorder. A public
place is about the part and the whole, that is, the spatial character.
Form- helps to define the boundaries of a public space. These boundaries
maybe obvious and tactile like the ground pavement, faade, row of trees etc.
the upper limit is formed by the roof lines or sky. Gestalt says, The spatial
form tends to continue in spite of change of use within and about the
squareit is as permanent as the elements that create it. volume is defines
by its bottom (the ground, the sides (buildings tress, hillside, river bank etc.)
and the open ceiling (the sky.) To deduce the form of a square, three
concepts must be studied:

Isovist- field of view from a particular point

Axial space- a straight line

Convex space- no line between two of its points; space


goes outside the perimeter.

To capture the features of the system of spaces, these axes are the lines of
sight and visibility, movement and permeability.

18

Based on these concepts, public spaces have been categorised by Paul


Zucker as:

The closed square- a simple geometric figure, such as square, circle,


triangle or quadrangle is the shape in plan of the closed square. Its
walls are usually defined by repeated architectural faade of a single
building or many structures. The abutting buildings are thus designed
both for individual use and in conformity with a spatial concept which
the buildings themselves make concrete and visible.. the only
significant openings would be the streets leading into it and the sky.
The interior ground space maybe developed with street furniture,
fountains, soft-scaping etc. the first closed squares appeared in the
planned towns of the Greek civilization and later in the Renaissance
and Medieval times.

F IGURE 3.

THE CLOSED SQUARE , PLAZA MAYOR IN MADRID

Plaza mayor in Madrid is an open central square, with access from any of the
eight two storey portals that lead to the surrounding streets.

The dominated square- directs the view to a single building or a group


of buildings or some other physical thing such as a large sculpture or a
spectacular view. In this type of square, the dominating element
visually controls the space of the square before it. The dominant
feature maybe a church, a palace, a city hall, or an open vista which
acts like a magnet to attract the perspectives of the square, creating a
motion and tension between the open space and the dominating
element,

hence

resulting

aesthetic

cohesion.

The

visual

preponderance might be a result of the dominating elements size or its

19

location or design relationship to the other elements of the square. The


parvis originally an enclosed space before the medieval church was
often such a dominated square; the church faade getting the
concentrated perspective.

F IGURE 4.

THE DOMINATED SQUARE , NOTRE DAME

The nuclear square- the spatial unity of a public square is not


necessarily dependent upon their architectural or natural boundaries.
Indeed any element is visually strong and large enough in size to form
a focus within the space of the square by acting as a nucleus to thee
square may result in an artistic wholeness in direct contrast to the
apparent non-coordination of the surroundings. For example- London
Trafalgar square.

F IGURE 5.

THE NUCLEAR SQUARE , TRAFALGAR SQUARE , LONDON

Here the nelson monument produces a sense of order and integration amidst
unequal sized buildings, uneven street widths, an irregular ground plan of
open space and buildings and a visually confusing meeting of streets on the
south side. Without the column, Trafalgar Square breaks down as an
organised spatial volume.

20

However, a nuclear square is not created with merely a statue, obelisk or


fountain placed in it. These focal interests may only contribute to the
furnishing of the square while the spatial classifications of the square is
determined by other elements

Grouped squares- in designing of cities, very pleasing results have


often been obtained when urban squares were developed in spatial
relationship to each other. Dynamic contrasts of successive spaces
may be ordered to create a planned sequence of crescendo and
diminuendo in the drama of the urban space.
Grouped squares were axially oriented in Roman and Baroque times. A
less formal non-axial relationship in the Renaissance grouped squares
was obtained by the opening of a common side and the intersection at
right angles of the axes. A third type of grouped squares results when
three or more squares are arranged about a common dominant
building such as a palace or cathedral. Lastly squares maybe grouped
without direct physical contact through the use of some linking device
such as a street, a church or an arcaded passageway. The specific
method may vary but the goal is to create mentally a relationship
between the physically separated units. There are many means to
achieve aesthetic unity between one square and another.

F IGURE 6.

THE ROAM GROUPED SQU ARES

The plan above is the ancient Roman concept of grouped squares.


The amorphous square- is used to describe and classify all those squares
which are Roman aesthetic point of view, formless. These are to indicate
many open spaces that formally bear the title of a square, even though they

21

are but crossroads such as New Yorks Times Square, Bostons Scollay
Square etc.

F IGURE 7.

TYPES OF SQUARES

According to Kostof, one of the main issues related to public spaces is


adaptability, making the connection with the form, in the broad sense of the
term physical structure, unavoidable. Every space is shaped according to the
functions that are performed in it, or conversely, the shape of the space
attracts certain functions. Thus, building a city house, church or park, and
according to the basic standards for accessibility, visibility, etc.., will shape a
certain form, or vice versa, in growing cities, existing free spaces, according
to the form acceptable (suitable) for certain function, will adapt to the
emerging needs.
In India, public squares are not as such designed for specific purposes but
they evolve as a result of the movement patterns in different activity zones like
religious, political, administrative, commercial, depending upon the culture
specific space proxemics
Dominated and Nuclear squares are mostly designed around monumental
buildings or structures. As the cities of India grew and expanded organically,
such squares are limited. Owing to the significance such structures, the area
around naturally developed as a public space, where people visited to feel the
pride of Indian history and culture, later, the area around these have been
planned to attract more crowd to enjoy the vastness and might of the gates
through different perspective views. But mostly such dominance of a building

22

or structure is seen with vast planned open grounds, like the Taj Mahal, Qutb
Minar. By virtue of their surrounding enclosure, they become more of a formal
space. They dominate over the entire complex creating awe among the
viewers.
All these spaces have character and meaning attached to them, so their value
is much greater. When statues or monuments or elements built to simply
represent a common meeting ground, their importance is lost in the hustle
bustle of the uncontrolled crowd and the encroaching cluster of shops and
vendors that start flourishing in or near the space, which also tend to serve as
an undefined boundary for the space. In case of a single line of axis for such
squares, the line gets lost in the convexity of the space.
Closed squares are virtually non-existent in India. Mosque and temple
courtyards can however be seen as closed squares, surrounded by arcaded
passages or cells respectively. All religious and congregational ceremonies
would be performed within the walls. Some market places of the colonial
times maybe designated as such as a number of buildings would be grouped
around a central court. But today the central court is lost due to the formation
of passages and aisled to provide for ordered movement. The aesthetics of
such spaces died because such alterations. Axial lines got lost with
development. Presently they seem like haphazard placement of buildings and
shops and do not cater to understanding of the space. Only the boundary may
be realised owing to the surrounding streets that forms the edge.
Amorphous squares are however much more famous in India. Many of the
cross roads when wide enough act as public places. Some develop as a
result of un-thought organic planning, while some are pre-thought and
designed, like the chowks of Jaipur, pols of Gujrat etc.

Shape is basically the two-dimensional study of the form. These do not lend
to understanding of the space as a volume but helps to understand the city
development and more importantly its proportion to the surrounding buildings.

23

The triangular spaces are the most characteristic setting for an open
air market. The shape is flexible and the sides tend to give bulging or
receding curves. Such spaces are seldom planned but develop as a
result of the loose connection of converging streets.

Rectangular squares are the most common because of the ease of its
arrangement. It allows directional axis towards a specific structure (if
present) or provide architectural emphasis towards the public space.

Circular or elliptical spaces are more common in European countries


as designed squares. In India, they evoke extra urban open circular
areas on which avenues converge.

L-shaped squares tend to develop as a result of planning and


redevelopment of unplanned cities, which is a combination of two
separate adjacent public spaces. It provides a diagonal view of the
public structures around. The space fixes a particular view of the
building, an accident of urban development. The corner of the L-shape
becomes a critical point of emphasis for the cohesion of the two
spaces.

F IGURE 8. D IFFERENT

SHAPES OF S QUARES

We understand that the creation of spatial sequence, can make the


environment more appealing, thus promoting the use of spaces owing to
views and vistas it presents in terms of aesthetics, viewing angles and
symbolism.

24

IMAGE
Comfort and image are the keys to whether a place will be used. Public
places are the centres of communitys and they shape the identity of the entire
city. The image of public places or squares is closely ties to the buildings
nearby and structures or elements that create space around it. The visual
complexity of the space- density and variety of elements- offers for passive
engagement. Passive engagement requires addressing two main issues:

Vantage points /sightlines

Seating areas

Whenever there are activity foci/focal points in a space, people tend to seek
appropriate focal points from where to watch the scene. These are usually
space edges, elevated areas or even surrounding buildings. The use of public
place will be prolonged if provided with places to sit. Moreover, most public
places are pedestrian; so these seatings should provide for a break to sit and
enjoy the space as a whole, on-going activities or everything at once. In India,
this aspect is majorly missing.
For one to get entirely engulfed in the fabric of a public space, there are five
main ways:

Food and beverage

Commerce

Public art

Size

Sightlines

The first to points are related to the activity of the space which have been
prevalent since ancient times; it is what gave rise to the whole concept of a
public square.
Public art on the other hand has transformed over the ages. In history it was
of the monumental sort, which was later replaced by subtler elements like
fountains and statues. These are now combined with a more modern

25

approach to art as murals and wall painting. These need to be strong and
flexible and also express a citys cultural heritage. If the user of the space is
able to connect to such public art, the space immediately leaves a long lasting
image of the space in ones mind. This art often form focal points, which need
not necessarily be at the centre. Sitte says, Centre should be free, art should
be alongside the pedestrian.
Public art in India is a new concept. Monumental structures are not seen as
art but as of historic importance. However in recent years, more and more of
such street arts can be seen near youth campuses, where the young adult is
striving to enhance the space they use as interactive and dynamic areas. This
may or may not lead to vandalism questions and protests. Hence it is our duty
to provide for public use spaces at points in the city based on the optimum
age group using that space, along with some minimum elements to improve
the image of the space. Hence, under-designing is preferred in some cases to
enable the public to mould the space as theirs. This helps attach greater
meaning and greater effectiveness. Hence, each individual becomes a
designer of the space.
In order to create a distinctive image of a public place, monuments or
structures

can

be

liberated

from

the

parasitic

construction

Disencumbering, i.e., the structure would be separated or isolated from the


adjacent buildings and ought to be viewed from
all angles, so it can be decorated better,
acquiring importance and dominance. It is an
aesthetic rule that viewer must not be disturbed
while looking at a work of art.
.

F IGURE 9. A RC

DE

T RIOMPHE , P ARIS

The image one perceives depends on the angle of vision:

27degrees, ratio of 1:2 of object and distance of viewing- clear vision of


architectural features.

18degrees, ratio of 1:3 of object and distance of viewing- sharper


picture of edifice and surroundings.

26

12degrees, ratio of 1:4 of object and distance of viewing- appreciates


structure as part of the surroundings.

F IGURE 10. V IEWING A NGLES

Apart from the separate elements that create the image of a space, the Size
and sightlines play an important role as they are the first aspects one
perceives as a whole; it is what make a place welcoming or not. Here, human
scale is a taken as a measure of true dimension. If the space is very huge and
vast compared to human scale, it encourages fear and not comfort.
1. It is suggested, keeping the human scale in mind, measurements from 1224 metres for small squares and up to 100metres for big spaces. Height
dimensions are also fixed to 70-100metres. The perceived ratios of public
spaces imply towards perception of atmosphere, spaciousness or
openness. This in turn, determines the image of a city. According to Spiro
Kostof, if a square is central to the design of a city, it must be scaled to the
relation of the town as a whole, i.e., the size of the plaza must be proportional
to the number of inhabitants. Hence, the growth of the town must be
considered. This may end up in two contrasting results;

A single purpose square may seem inhabited and large without its
intended crowd, even though small in size.

A multi-purpose square, when scaled to its most demanding acitivities


and crowd, may appear overlarge.

2. The size is also dependent on the architectural frame- if the surrounding


buildings are low, the space appears large and if buildings are too high, it
seems restricted. The proper height of buildings around an open square is
1/3rd to 1/6th of the breadth of the open area.

27

In Indian cities, public cities develop as a result of the open spaces left in
between the built structures. Hence the image of the space becomes a result
of how it has evolved. Large spaces between buildings, when not managed by
any authority, become points of vandalism, as the people are psychologically
detached form the space. Again, when the space is too small they become
cluttering grounds of garbage. Recently, successful spaces are developing as
a result of the evolving and designed infrastructure and cities. They function
as parks, market places, meeting grounds etc.
India is a country which carves its own spaces, for its needs; though not
designed they become popular regardless of the image, size or elements.
When we design for such a user group, all that remains behind is a physical
space, designed to accommodate public that has been stripped of its
fundamental property-inclusiveness. No matter how much goes into design
considering size, elements, building heights, shape etc., nothing can replace
the contributions made by each and every user who carves it over time.

SECURITY
People face a variety of fears in the urban environment- crime, terrorism, fast
moving vehicles etc. The lack of security, perception of danger and fear of
victimization, threatens both the use of public spaces as well as the creation
of successful public places. Hence it becomes a prerequisite of public places.
But again security should not be increased so much that it attains privatisation
and retreat from public areas. They dislike spaces which do not provide for
alternative paths and escape routes like subways, roadways, bridges etc.
More than crime actually existing in an area, it is the perception of it that
results in the retreat of people. This is addressed in three ways:

Visibility- the area where one is going to enter should help people to
judge the safety and their comfort level from a distance.

Symbolic cues- that is the type of people inhabiting the space and the
type of on-going activities.

Physically- the area should show segregation in terms of vehicular and


pedestrian areas, private and public areas.

28

Also, to restrict crime in public areas, there needs to be a balance between


collective and individual interests- freedom and control. Freedom, though is
an aspect of public spaces, just be responsible freedom. Control can be
brought about by:
HARD CONTROL

SOFT CONTROL

- Security officers

- not providing facilities/spaces

- Cameras

for unwanted activities

- Regulation on activities

- separate activities for groups

- Scheduling

with low tolerance

Exclusive design strategies can be of five types:

Stealthy space- camouflaging spacing by intervening objects or level


changes. This not only limits the run-off of criminals but also forms a
barrier between private and public.

Slippery space- cannot be approached easily dure to contortions or


missing path.

Crusty space- obstruction; like walls, gates, check points etc.

Prickly space- cannot be easily occupied, like sloped lands.

Jitty space- under active monitoring by patrols and surveillance.


(Protecting Crowded Places:Design and Technical Issues 2012)

ICON GENERATION
Sense of place is the primary responsibility of a public square. Iconic
architecture is such places make a space more distinct and identifiable; it
engulfs people in its extraordinariness and creates place-making. Iconic
architecture is defined as a building that is famous within the profession and it
would also extend to be famous for the public as it has special aesthetic,
symbolic, historic values attached to them. Apart from the above three
aspects it may also have high functional value, e.g. the High Dam in Egypt.
The place or structure receives identity when, .the extent to which a person
can recognise or recall a place as distinct from other places.

29

In order to view a structure, large in dimensions and vast in its symbolic


meaning, the space preceding it must at least twice its breadth in order to
accommodate the incoming crowd as well as to provide for viewing angles, to
not only capture the minute details but also as a part of the surroundings the
second consideration is very important because, unless a structure is
connected to its surroundings, by way of horizon or skyline or materials and
textures etc., it cannot connect to the people viewing it. In order to perceive as
structure, distinctively, it should un-follow the Gestalt principles of perception.
The structure should be overpowering, while the surroundings be of human
scale. Victoria Memorial in Kolkata fails in this aspect, as the lawns before the
building are larger and more widespread than the building itself. Moreover, it
also gets hidden behind the row of trees, beyond which the viewing angle is
very large to appreciate its beauty.
Such public arenas hold different values for different structures:

The Lotus Temple has a religious or meditational sentiment attached to


it. It is not just its form, but also its effective function that makes it an
icon. The design is hence formal, with defined paths and sprawling
lawns and specific points of retreat, generating calm and serenity. The
secret lies in the different viewing angles provided.

The Rastrapati Bhavan along with the Rajpath and India Gate is
representative of democracy in the country. The linearity of the site, the
perspective brought about by the boulevard edges and the dominance
of the Bhavan, seen through the arched opening of India Gate, evokes
great pride among the citizens. Its speciality lies in the sightlines
created.

The Stock Exchange in Mumbai denotes the financial and commercial


power of the country. The area in front is restricted to general public
use and acts more as cross roads, but is an icon for the city and
country. Here, the buildings element is what creates awe in the passerbys.

Structures like the Gateway of India in Mumbai, Red Fort in Delhi, Taj
Mahal in Agra, express the history of the country. These are some of
the most successful public places as it is what gives them identity and

30

meaning. The spaces show unrestricted movement denoting the


freedom instilled in them after struggle. Varied activities are also
provided in the vicinity to keep the people engaged. Here, we see an
overall iconic impression of the space- the walks, the architecture and
details, their size and scale all being catered to the optimum.

F IGURE 11. I CONIC

STRUCTUR ES

31

CHAPTER 3- CASE STUDIES


3.1 INTRODUCTION
India is a vast country with a lot of geographic, climatic, ethnic and religious
diversity. Hence, urban cores of cities from various regions of India with
similar topographic, climatic conditions have been considered for the study.
Though there are some changes happening in these urban cores in terms of
widening of the roads etc., yet the configurations are not disturbed largely.
The study of the important public places in these cities- Jaipur, Ahmedabad,
Delhi, and Kolkata will give us a clear idea of what might tend to attract people
to a place and return. The criteria for selection of samples for the cities are:

Size (population)

Climate

Developing Cities

Similar urban structure (ring radial) with traditional built environment as


a part alongside the modernity.

Cultural differences in terms of predominant religion (Hindu/ Islamic)

All these cities have a population ranging within 3-5 million, as per 2001
census. The climatic conditions are also similar as tropical or subtropical
climate with wet and dry or humid conditions. The elevation of these cities
from mean sea level is varying between 300500m above mean sea level.
The cores are mostly the dense parts of the cities and are at the geographical
centre of the present cities. These cores have residential, commercial and
sometimes industrial activities, thus resulting into a mixed land use pattern.

3.2 METHODOLOGY
The configurations of the public places in the select cities are investigated by
representing them in terms of system of spaces through axial maps.
Configuration parameters such as connectivity, local integration, shape, form
and spread of the space are considered. Connectivity of an axial line
measures the number of lines that directly intersect that given axial line. Thus
connectivity of a space represented as an axial space, denotes the number of
immediate neighbourhoods of a space. These public open spaces is then

32

reviewed with respect to the how the space is used and the activities that
occur there and whether the form, shape and extent of it has any implication
or not.
Secondly, the important religious, administrative or commercial urban activity
nodes evolve along movement patterns, depending upon the culture of public
spaces. Hence, to understand the human preferences in terms of norms
about culture, the placement of important religious, administrative or
commercial urban activity nodes, in the overall spatial configuration, are
observed.
A few international public spaces have also been studied so that the factors
that are missing in Indian cities can be applied to provide for better placemaking.

3.3 CASE 1 - JAIPUR


The city of Jaipur planned in a grid iron pattern was built with extraordinary
foresight and futuristic planning and is probably the only 18h century walled
city in India that can still cater to the present day pressures of vehicular traffic
on roads. It included innovative concepts in traditional planning guidelines
along with an appropriate adaptation of the terrain itself. Parallels can be
found between the Jaipur planning and the traditional texts on spatial
organisation. Public spaces in Jaipur have been plugged into the spaces
where the roads connect and is not a matter of co-incidence but a thought of
planning, which is why, even though these spaces are both cross roads and
public arenas, they have thrived through the ages.
Access- the east west axis of the town between Suraj Pol and Chand Pol,
have been divided into three parts by perpendicular roads. Another parallel
road to this E-W axis has also been divided the same. The intersection of
these cardinal axes defined the main public squares of the city; mainly the
Badi Chaupar and the Choti Chaupar. Between and to the north of these two
lay the palace. Hence, overall, the squares were connected by important

33

roads from all sides and also in the vicinity the structures of state importance.
These considerations result in an high influx of people.
Scale- These intersections form the chaupars or chowks; market places; sub
centres that subdivide the city. The width of the square chaupars was three
times the width of the main road. The main roads were 33metres wide and the
squares were approximately 100m x100m in size. This provides a perfect
viewing angle of 12degrees from the edge to the other edge, in which we are
able to appreciate the square as a part of the city surroundings. They were
wide enough to sustain not only for heavy pedestrian movement on the
footpaths but also four-way traffic.
Activity- Historically the chaupars were outlets for intense social use with
water structures connected by underground aqueducts, supplying numerous
sources of drinking water at street level. Today, these spaces are famous as
market places or bazaars like the Kishanpole bazaar, Gangauri bazaar, Johari
bazaar etc, whci stretch between two chaupars. Significant havelis and
temples also lie in sync with the market place. Presently, the centre of each
chaupars square enclosures with ornamental fountains.
Character- these bazaar streets have some typical features. There is heavy
use of chajjas resulting in strong horizontal lines; projecting blocks of the first
floors are supported on decorative brackets. Also a modular system of arches
filled with jalli or lattice screens form the faade that is not only aesthetic but
also cuts of the glare of the sun.

F IGURE 12.

BADI CHOWK , JAIPUR

34

3.4 CASE STUDY 2 AHMEDABAD


The walled city of Ahmedabad has developed on traditional city planning
principles centuries ago and even now it thrives as a vibrant community
space, comprising majority of the Hindu population. The public space is
served mainly by the active market places, attracting people and
entrepreneurs from the local community and the city for several centuries.
Today it is home to a diverse community of residents, business owners and
vendors from various economic and ethnic groups. Here, we are going to
study the Manek Chowk as an example of a public place in Ahmedabad.

F IGURE 13.

MANEK CHOWK , AHMEDABAD

Access- it is located between two nationally protected monuments, the Tomb


of the King and Queen of Ahmedabad. Since these two structures already
hold a lot of importance and are tourist spots as well, the space in between
automatically becomes a busy area. Thus, here we see that the access to the
Chowk is made successful solely depending upon its vicinity to another
famous public space- the tombs.
Activity- Manek Chowk allows for a multiplicity of functions and effective
usage of space, with changing activities from early morning hours to late into
the night. It is dynamic and constantly adapts to changes for its effective use
as an urban public place. Manek Chowk provides opportunities for a variety of

35

activities that change with the time of day. While, Manek Chowk has
traditionally been a commercial centre, it also serves as a recreational centre
because of shopping and eating options. However other activities such as
visiting temples, monuments, involving in rituals and cultural function also
coexist in smaller scale.
Users- On an average, one person per second enters or exits the chowk
during peak business hours. One third of the visitors are women, and the
percentage of children and old people are very low, 6% and 13% respectively.
Cyclists, hand carts, vendors and pedestrians negotiate the square dodging
the vehicles. It is most busy during the peak hours in the evening time; 6-7pm.
3600 pedestrians are recorded to enter Manek Chowk during this peak hour.
10% of the visitors come on bicycles.
Image- As the Chowk is an important commercial centre, public space is
appropriated for maximum commercial and vehicular usage; currently, human
comfort is given secondary importance. There are very few formal seating
opportunities for the public in the present context. People tend to use limited
secondary seating options to rest. Due to the intensity of commercial
activities, the opportunity for pedestrians to rest along shop fronts and under
shaded parasols is limited. Traditionally, buildings in the Walled City have
doorway seating spaces called 'otlas', which are either one or more raised
steps at shop or building entrances. These are used as informal seating
spaces, often shared between neighbouring homes/ shops. However, in
Manek Chowk the availability of these spaces is limited and claimed by
commercial activities.

F IGURE 14.

SEATING AT MANEK CHOWK

36

People prefer to have interesting sight lines and vistas while in the public
spaces. While Manek Chowk is a historic precinct with monuments of rich
architectural heritage, the presence of the monuments is not felt due to lack of
clear views. It is observed that in the present context the views of the Chowk
are highly cluttered and does not reflect the heritage values of the place.
Scale- Manek Chowk is fairly a small public square of about 2500 sq. m. In
general, the public spaces of the Walled City are intimate in scale with a built
form of two-storeyed buildings opening on to public spaces which are narrow
and mutually shaded to reduce heat gain in buildings. The public spaces are
of human scale and have been supporting public life through centuries;
however, in the present context they are dominated by vehicles.
Security- Even though traffic movement is one-way, due to lack of
segregation between traffic, extension of shops on to walkways, parking and
presence of hawkers, the walkability of the place is reduced. Pedestrians are
forced to negotiate with moving traffic and are vulnerable to accidents.
Manek Chowk is a lively urban space, with several activities and a constant
thoroughfare of people providing a feeling of natural surveillance and safety.
The presence of people in the Chowk during most times of the day and night
provide natural security for businesses, residents and visitors. This is primarily
achieved by the relationship of the current built form to the street.

3.5

CASE STUDY 3- KOLKATA

The history of Kolkata is the history of the growth patterns of its markets. The
creation of the New Market was in response to the needs of the British
community in Kolkata. The colonial elite needed a market that brought
together in one place all the commodities they needed. The New Market may
be interpreted as a successful, if inadvertent attempt at 'place-making', one
that has survived the strictures of colonial life and retains its role as meeting place to this day. The physical structure of the market embodied a new type of
social organization- a cosmopolitan commercial arena that brought together
traders from many communities; a trip to the Market prompted the visitor to rethink his or her relation to society as a whole.

37

Users- the New Market were brought together communities that had never
before earned their livelihood in close proximity to each other. From the
Muslim quarter came Muslim butchers, from the Hindu bazaars, shopkeepers,
from Chinatown Chinese shoe-makers, and from the 'mixed' areas, Armenian
businessmen, Jewish and Portuguese pastry cooks. In some cases, the
practices of one community were considered abhorrent by another, on
religious grounds. The Market- somewhat like the zoo, with its collection of
humdrum and exotic groups taken from exclusive habitats all over the reaches
of the City- became a place where British colonials, assorted Europeans and
Indians could rub shoulders. In a severely segregated society that allowed for
only formal encounters between the disparate groups, the Market created a
cosmopolitan setting.
Access- The reason for the Market's continuing role as a 'public place', The
accessibility of the market to the city as a whole is the most important aspect.
The location of the market in a 'grey' zone between the colonial world and the
native one made it accessible to both communities. The Market was one
institution in a string of public institutions and spaces (monuments, gardens,
government offices, and the museum) that made up the zone of interaction for
the Indian and British communities. The structuring of the access system of its
built fabric created conditions for the coexistence of the diverse communities
that worked there.

F IGURE 15.

NEW MARKET , KOLKATA

Spatial organisation- The aisles and corridors and courtyards of the market
tied the diverse, sprawling environment into a coherent whole, creating an

38

environment navigable at the largest size. This clear structuring of the access
system allowed the demarcations of the New Market into separate quarters'
for each group; groupings were not demarcated by walls, but by clearly
marked paths of access. While the position of each trading community was
set in space, these pathways allowed neutral meeting ground people to
wander from one group to the other.
At the same time, a secondary system of access and a series of courtyards
set off the main pathways allowed each community to have its own private
nucleus, containing mosques, temples, and bathing places.
At the local level, variations in the dimensions of the Market's corridors and
aisles created individual and group sized places. The existence of such small
variations may seem insignificant, but provide the microenvironments for
people to meet, talk, catch their breath, people-watch and window shop- all
activities that enrich and overlay the more commercial mundane functions. It
is these opportunities for interaction that turn a trip to the Market into
something of a social event.

F IGURE 16.

PATHWAYS AND STREET - SCAPES OF NEW MARKET

Image- The market takes the form of a Gothic facade and iconographic
Victorian clock-tower- as well as its varied structure (vaulted roofs, skylights)
seems secondary in importance to the way the built environment is organized
by paths of different degrees of accessibility -both at the city and site size.
The new role that the Market played within the city seems to be linked to a
new form of spatial organization that is structured not by the overt
demarcations of walls, but by routes of movement. Rather than the design of
urban public place as stereotypical plaza' or 'square' containing programmatic

39

elements that are public in nature, the aisles and corridors of the Market are
its public space.

F IGURE 17.

SIZE OF NEW MARKET AND SURROUNDINGS

The proposition that emerges from an analysis of the New Market is that
successful public space maintains accessible at a collective size, yet
accommodates a range of differential degrees of accessibility that serve the
needs of varying groups and individuals.

3.6

CASE STUDY 4- DELHI

Connaught Place, built in 1931, is one of Delhi's most popular shopping


centres. There is nothing that one cannot buy here. It also has several eatinghouses. The state emporia buildings are also located in this area so are the
head offices of major banks, airlines and other such things of importance to
the tourist. The complex, popularly referred to as CP, is an important meeting
point for all sections of people and is something. Even tourist don't miss it for
nothing else then for its architecture and the humdrum of everyday life.

F IGURE 18. A CCESS

ROUTES TO

C.P.

Access- Connaught Place divided it into six sectors, each making an angle of
60 degrees at the centre The sector here central processional route (now

40

Parliament Street) met the circus, was designated as a green wedge, to


emphasis the notion of gateway. Central procession route -theme of joining
the old and the new creates visual, physical and symbolic continuity
Connaught Place with its three concentric circles and seven radial roads
initially designed with two-way directional roads. It was converted into oneway with 4-enteries and 3-exits.
Spatial organisationOuter circle: outward looking. Various public/ semi-public function commercial
in

nature.

Middle circle: a service road for merchandise. Residences for the staff and
servants are provided on the first floor. Ground floor for go-downs,Offices and
retail shops.

F IGURE 19. S PATIAL

ORGANISATION OF

C.P.

Inner circle: convenient vehicular access. Central park and the green wedge
(presently

occupied

by

Palika)

fancy

retail

shops

Ecologically, the central green was meant to serve as a lung space for the
area and large fountains in central park and smaller ones in the inner circle
were provided to cool the place.
Here the hexagon is circumscribed about a circle; this circle being the outer
circus of Connaught place. It houses important institutional and public
buildings which include hospitals, libraries, art galleries, heritage sites, temple,
hotels, schools and college. Besides this it acts as the centre of the city
offering connectivity by means of private and public transportation

41

systems (including the latest development- mass rapid transit system or


mrts)
Activities- Earlier they were dignified shopping centre for elite. Carriages
driven to the destined shops doorsteps.

F IGURE 20. O LD

AND NEW

C.P.

Now the focus is on urban life -Shopping centre for masses (sunday market
etc.) Each block, central greens stand as islands in the pool of vehicular
traffic. C.P. was the original commercial centre of Delhi. It attracted visitors
from all corners of Delhi mainly because it is highly accessible from all the
major roads.
Image- circular form makes it stand out from the layout of the area
around. Wide roads were planned in and around Connaught Place even
though they were not required since the traffic consisted of horses, horse
carts and few cars. This has proved to be a boon for coping with todays large
traffic volume. The lavish design of CP provided for large open spaces and
has proved to be valuable public spaces in today's context.
The Grand Scale and architectural character of Connaught Place makes it
stand out amongst the buildings which surround it.

F IGURE 21. C.P. P ARK

42

F IGURE 22. F ACSDES

OF

C.P.

All facades had a standard design- door in the middle and show windows on
either side. Colonnaded and covered pathways in the inner circle created a
unifying character to the entire space and also formed an enclosure. The
upper floors were residential.

3.7

CASE STUDY 5- MELBOURNE

The City Square in Melbourne has been redesigned after the lack of
success of its first design scheme, which had affected the squares sociability.
City Square is a plaza that is formerly the main civic centre and public space
for the city of Melbourne.
Surroundings- The surroundings of the square include the citys central
street networks, which are Swanston Street and Collins Street. Its immediate
context is the Westin Hotel, the iconic and historic St. Pauls Cathedral, the
Regent Theatre and the Melbourne Town Hall. Fronting the square is a tram
stop that is actively used by people to walk to the adjoining streets, lane ways
and buildings.

43

Spatial characteristics and ImageThe first design

Scheme of the square was intended, not as a large open space, but
rather as fragmented spaces. The spaces and components of the
square consisted of a video screen, restaurants, a basement arcade
shops and outdoor cafes.

These spaces were connected by glazed canopy, a sunken


amphitheatre, graffiti wall, reflecting pool, water wall and cascades and
an open portion of the main square. The whole area was extensively
paved with bluestones.

The giant video matrix that is placed on the building and the cascading
water feature aimed to attract people towards the square. The water
feature wall blocked the shops behind it.

The placement of the Vault, which is a yellow steel sculpture as public


art on the edge of the square blocked peoples view towards the
square from Swanston Street.

Reasons for failure


Due to the fragmentation of spaces and obstructed visibility, the design of the
square at that time fell short to meet the needs of people.

The Square failed to create a flexible space for public use because it
was broken down into smaller spaces. This had disabled the
opportunities for people to use the square as an open civic space.

The adjacent shops, arcades and some of the public amenities were
hidden because of the design components (water feature and
sculpture) that blocked the peoples visibility from the street.

The Square was extensively paved with blue stone pavement, with only
little patches of green areas. Lack of greens made it an uncomfortable
place for people especially during summer.

Since the square was equipped with the giant video screen and the
cascading water feature in the same area, the public had complained
about the level of noise that came from these components.

44

Since Melbourne has a dry and hot climate during the summer, the
glazed steel canopy and the hard surfaces increased glare and heat
during hot summer days.

F IGURE 23. B LOCKED

F IGURE 24. V IDEO

VIEW OF THE SQUARE

SCREEN AND FOUN TAI

The early design of the City Square revealed the disconnectedness between
the intended spaces and the needs of people. Although the design attempted
to highlight the architectural and artistic values of the City Square as a
landmark, these components did not manage to pull crowds to the square as
cannot clearly make out what are the premises surrounding the square.
The new City Square

Was designed to be more open and less fragmented.

By reducing the size of the original square and maintaining the ground
level for pedestrians, the square is more visible and accessible from
Swanston Street, Collins Street and Flinders.

The sunken plaza, water cascade and most of the bluestones


pavement were removed and replaced with a sandy open space with
benches and trees for people to sit. The new surfaces of the square
that featured granitic sand and grass is more flexible to accommodate
different activities in the local climate. Wooden benches are placed in
the sandy area for people to sit.

45

The cafes on the ground level became a popular meeting spot for the
locals and tourists. The open and semi-open eating areas provide more
relaxed and informal atmosphere to the square. This visible activeness
Is an important factor that draws other people to the square.

The rows of trees along the sidewalk on the edge of the square soften
the space and provide informal seating areas for people to relax or
have a lunch break. The trees also provide good shade for people to sit
or walk in the summer. The grass and trees encouraged people to sit
and relax.

A more subtle water feature at a smaller scale attracted children to play


at the square.

Since the square is now more open, visible and permeable, it is often
used for formal events such as the Christmas festival, fashion festival
and special events. On some occasions, Swanson Street acts as the
main route for parades.

F IGURE 25. N EW C ITY S QUARE

46

3.8

PRIMARY CASE STUDY - MANIPAL

Manipal, a University town, is always active and dynamic with students,


coming from different parts of the country and abroad. This hustle bustle is
spread almost throughout the town, with some specific catch points like the
Kamath Circle, K.M.C. Greens, and Tiger Circle etc. Of these, Tiger Circle is
traffic node and the other two are public open spaces, very popular as
hangout points.

CRITERIA
KAMATH CIRCLE
Access and An open space and mostly
pedestrian, it is a junction of 5
Connectivity
streets, only two of which
have through way traffic.
These streets bring in the
crowd from all directions, the
hostels being located along
the streets. It also has a
central
location
to
MIT
campus, with the food court,
the basketball court and
recreational block in the
vicinity. As a result of peoples
compulsion to come to the
food court and for activities,
the space becomes an
incidental space to sit and
enjoy.

K.M.C. GREENS
The space is not out of coincidence but has been
designed as an open public
space. It is centrally located
in Manipal, flanked by the
main road on one side and
the road leading to K.M.C.
food court on the other side.
Again, as people come to
visit the food court, this space
is used effectively, especially
in the evenings. Also, it is
visble to, and is near to the
hostel blocks and the medical
school; so in general is
surrounded by a lot of
activity.

F IGURE 27.A CCESS


K.M.C.G REENS
F IGURE 26. A CCESS

Activity

ROUTES TO

ROUTES

TO

K.C.

It is space shared by all the


students to hang around,
especially after class hours in
the evenings, to sit and talk
and enjoy the leisure time.
Mornings are mostly empty

It is just an open green


space, with seating areas
and a water feature, whetre
people come for an evening
walk and talk. Most of the
University
events
are

47

Spatial
organisation

and act as a thoroughfare


area. It provides for a variety
of eating joints- snack point,
Kamath canteen, fruit shop,
food court etc. Other activities
include basketball, visible to
all users of the space. From
time to time, the space holds
informal street plays which the
users stand and enjoy and art
in the form or road and wall
painting.
An irregular circular space,
with
a
central
nuclear
element(lamppost)
around
which the entire space has
evolved,
surrounded
by
structures of youth interesteateries, playing grounds,
food court etc. even though
the lamppost forms the centre,
the food court forms the focus.
Owing to its large size and
importance, it dominates over
the entire space.
No proper seating area is
defined. The high plinth of the
shops, and other elevated
areas are used for the same.
Only 2 benches are provided
along the basketball court.
Every individual is visible from
within and apart, as there are
no elements blocking the view
of any of the streets. It does
not have a defined boundary
but naturally forms one, where
the activity hubs and shops
end, and the street starts.

conducted on this field, on


the stage at one end.
Independence and Republic
day parades also occur here.
The ground is large enough
to accommodate the huge
crowd of Mnaipal.

A rectangular piece of green


land with a stage on one
side, stepped seating along
the other end, and curved
shallow steps for seating on
the opposite end of the stage.
The viewing angle from here
to the stage is almost
10degrees (not a clear
vision). The diagonal point of
entry into the ground is
marked by a subtle fountain
and a canopy like structure
that forms the focus of the
ground. Hostel blocks flank
the other end from where the
performances on the stage
are visible. The food court is
located on the adjacent
corner of the fountain is the
dominant feature of the
space.
By the way the buildings are
located around the field, it
becomes an enclosed public
space.

48

CHAPTER 4- DATA ANALYSIS


4.1 INTRODUCTION
The configurations of the cores of select cities are investigated by
representing them in terms of system of spaces through axial maps..
Connectivity of an axial line measures the number of lines that directly
intersect that given axial line. Thus connectivity of a space represented as an
axial space, denotes the number of immediate neighbourhoods of a space.
Integration of a space is by definition expressed by a value that indicates the
degree to which that space is connected to the city and surroundings.
Secondly, the important activities and elements of the spaces are studied
which gives us an idea about the positive and negative aspects of the area.
To understand the human preferences in terms of the provisions required, the
typology of space they prefer, the location etc., a survey has been conducted.
Their preferences and needs tell us about the user preferences of India, so
we can develop a design criterias along the same lines.

4.2 ANALYSIS
Connectivity: to a place depends upon the number of axial lines or streets
terminating in the space or encloses that space. Depending on the number of
streets or roads, we get an idea about how divided the space is internally, and
connected externally.
As per the Literature study, the first and foremost reason for the success of a
place is:

Its connectivity to the surroundings and the city.

More the number of connecting points, greater the influx of people.

The presence of important buildings in the vicinity also increases the


activity of the space, as now the space serves a dual purpose.

The location of the public space, with respect to the city and the roads
around is an important factor.

49

PLACE
Jaipur- Badi

ACCESS ROUTES

NO.
2

Low fragmentation.
Located
at
the
intersection of two
major roads- central
location.
Iconic builings- Hawa
Mahal

High fragmentation.
Space is divided into
numerous sections by
smaller lanes. Access
from mainly the two
major streets- Gandhi
road and Danapith
road. Not connected
to the city by any
major road.
Iconic builings- Jama
Masjid, Mughli Bibis
Tomb.
The area is enclosed
by 4 major streets
(Jawaharlal
Nehru
Rd, S.N. Bannerjee
Rd,Mirza Ghalib Strt,
Lenin Sarani), further
fragmented
by
secondary
streets
and lanes within. It is
also close to the
Esplanade Metro.high
fragmentation.
Iconic builings- Indian
Museum, Bell Tower.
Victoria Memorial.

Chowk

Ahmedabad
-Manek
Chowk

Kolkata-

New Market

Delhi-

INFERENCE

6+2

Six major roads and 2

50

Connaught

other
streets
converge here- influx
of traffic and people
from all directions.
Central
location.
Internal fragmentation
by ring roads.
Iconic builings- Jantar
Mantar,
Shivaji
Stadium

Place

Melbourne-

City Square

Low fragmentation.
Not connected to the
entire city, but well
connected to the
neighbourhood
it
belongs to.
Iconic builings- st.
Pauls
Cathedral,
Westin Melbourne

ACCESS
CENTRALITY

IMPORTANT STRUCTURES

0
JAIPUR

AHMEDABAD

KOLKATA

DELHI

F IGURE 28. C OMPARISON

MELBOURNE

OF THE PUB LIC PLACES STUDIED

51

Image: of a public space will depend upon how the space is used, what
factors enhance the use of the space and how the people relate, view or
respond to the space.
As per the Literature study, in order to have a memorable image of a space, it
should:

Of human scale, and all objects visible

Provide provision for seating to make people comfortable

The size of the space should not be overpowering, should be walk-able


i.e. 0.5km.

Have elements that beautify a space.

Activities

PLACE

SIZE AND SPACE

ELEMENTS

PROVISIONS

Jaipur-Badi

Appx, 100x100m,
shaped as square.
Today it functions
mostly as a traffic
node, with shops
and bazaars along
the edges. The
size allows for
clear vision from
one end of the
street to the other,
to at least 20m
height,
with
a
viewing angle of
12degrees.
(tan12= 0.2)
It is square in
shape and open
from all sides.

Apart from it having


vehicular traffic, the
wide footpaths allow
for safe and free
pedestrian movement.
The fountain at the
central node of the four
streets is the only
element of surprise
and public art in the
space. People tend to
gather around the
space, sit and enjoy
the surrounding urban
fabric. This element is
like a breathing area in
between all the traffic.

Soft-scaping is
absent
apart
from the few
scattered trees
along the edges.
Not
seating
areas.
Fences
and steps in
front of houses
and shops are
used for the
same.

Chowk

52

Ahmedabad Appx.
40x100m.
both
vehicular
-Manek
(mostly cycles and
Chowk
autos) as well as
pedestrian.
Pedestrian
foot
paths
are
ill
maintained.
The
space resembles a
long street, flanked
by
shops
and
hotels on both
sides, enclosed by
the
famous
Masjids.
It is a fragmented
space, restricted
on all sides due to
organic
development
of
buildings around.
KolkataAppx, 125x140m,
rectangular
New Market a
space, with an
open
paved
courtyard at the
centre, which has
now been divided
into
aisles
for
ordered
movement.
Vehicular as well
as
pedestrian.
Pedestrian
subways are provided
for
pedestrian
safety.
It is an enclosed
square, with a
characteristic
building faade on
all 4 sides.

The space is entered Very urban in


through a three gate character.
No
archway.
provision
for
seating. No hard
or soft-scaping,
except at the
traffic junction,
which act as the
This
provides
lungs of the
adirected view to the
space.
area. The surrounding
urban fabric is very
cluttered and does not
give the impression of
an open public space.

Gothic faade in red


and yellow. The bell
tower marks the start
of the square area.

No soft-scaping
in the area. The
entire space has
been
paved.
Ample no. of
street
lights,
space is heavily
crowded in the
evenings.
No
seating
arrangements,
but
shop
balustrades,
fences and steps
are used for the
purpose.
The
central courtyard
is an open area
for performances
from time to
time.

53

DelhiConnaught
Place

MelbourneCity Square

Inner circle with


the park is of
apprx,
100m
radius and the
outer
circle
measures to 250
metre radius. The
ring roads are
vehicular and the
inner lanes are
mostly pedestrian.
Each
of
the
circular zones is
demarcated by a
ring road. Only the
facades are visble.
Due to its circular
form, there is an
element of surprise
within every few
metres. The entire
stretch
is
not
visible at once.
The
space
is
circular in form.
The green park is
an open ended
square, while the
rest of the space is
enclosed
by
buildings in layers.

Colonial faade of Seating is not


buildings,
with available along
classical
elements. the streets, but
Covered
pedestrian ample amount of
foot paths.
seating space is
present at the
park.
People
tend to sit either
on the sprawling
lawns or on the
stepped seating
provided.
Lighting
enhances
the
space at night.
buildings
The central green park The
is the highlight of the around provide a
space which brings good vista from
about calm in the the park.

A
rectangular
piece
of
land,
aesthetically
designed for the
community.
Approx, 42x100m.
It is surrounded by
buildings on all

The statue at the Movable


and
corner forms a focus of flexible seating
the space.
is provided in
front of every
The
open
paved shop and also as
grounds, in tune with benches
near
the climate, provide sand pits for the
ample
space
for children. Seating

hustle bustle of the


surroundings.
Well
maintained
green
stretches of land and
hard scaped path ways
as well as water
features.

54

sides but they do


not overpower the
space, as has
been
subtly
demarcated by a
row of trees and
shops., so the
space feels more
to the people than
to
the
built
structures.

socialising. Canopies
and a video screen are
other
recreational
provisions
in
the
space.

areas
are
covered
with
canopies
extending from
the shops.

Wide footpaths
provided for safe
pedestrian
movement.

Survey: conducting the survey on a sample size of 30 people, belonging to


different cities, give us an idea of the general outlook of people about open
public squares and what they look for the most in such spaces. This is
understood by the rank they gave to the various aspects of a public place on a
scale of 1-15.

A SPACE THAT LEAVES A MEMORY

9.7

SAFETY

11.6

NATURAL OR ARTIFICIAL LANDSCAPING

9.18

OPEN URBAN SPACE

5.3

OPEN GREEN GROUNDS

9.7

SPACE ENCLOSED ON FEW OR ALL SIDES

5.4

PUBLIC INSTALLATIONS OR ART

6.67

PRESENCE OFMARKETS

4.82

ACCESSIBILITY

9.3

SPACE FOR ONE SPECIFIC ACTIVITY

6.7

AVAILABILITY OF VARIOUS ACTIVITIES

8.73

RECREATIONAL SPACES FOR PERFROMANCES

9.5

VARIED OPTIONS FOR SEATING

8.11

PRESENCE OF ICONIC STRUCTURES

6.42

VISIBILITY OF SPACE FROM A DISTANCE

6.73

10

12

14

AVG. SCORES OF 15

F IGURE 29. P EOPLE P REFERENCES

55

4.3 CONCLUSION
The accessibility and image of urban public spaces has been compared
between the various spaces under a few sub- headings. Each of them, though
similar in many aspects, also differs slightly in terms of size, shape, features
etc. this helps us to understand the factors that pulls the crowd towards public
places in the urban network.
The study of the above public spaces has shown one common factor for their
popularity, i.e., the access system to the area. Each of these areas are
connected to the entire city by major roads,

That either terminates in it, like in Connaught Place

Are surrounded by it, as in the New Market and City Square of


Melbourne,

Intersect at it, e.g. Badi Chowk in Jaipur.

Apart from road connections, the metropolitan cities, i.e., Delhi and Kolkata,
also have metro station nearby, that help bring in crowds from even the
farthest ends of the city within minutes.
Smaller lanes within a public place, like in Manek Chowk and also recently in
New Market, tends to increase the density of the streets. They do not help
provide for an integrated space, but a fragmented space. This reduces the
visibility of the whole area at once, and hence leads to security issues, wayfinding problems and is confusing to the users.
The above comparison of a few public places in India and one abroad shows
us one common lack in design that is comfort. The bazaar areas are devoid
of any proper seating areas. This is probably because of the incidental growth
of the spaces. Designed spaces like the Connaught Place and the Melbourne
City Square, have provided proper provisions to make the users comfortable
and enable them to enjoy the space.

New Market in this case, gets a

negative point because it is a designed space, yet no provision for seating or


greenery has been provided.
In terms of the activities these spaces provide, markets seem to be the most
important. Even if the spaces are designed as social areas or open grounds, it

56

needs the presence of some sort of shops and eating joints that keep the
people engaged and engrossed in the vitality of the area.
As per the size of public areas is concerned, most of these popular spaces
are within 150m size, that is, the entire space is walkable. Most of the spaces
have a rectangular shape, the most common from historical times. They
provide a perspective towards a nuclear or dominant element. The square
public areas do not provide any impactful image; but provides opportunity for
a central feature like in the Badi Chowk of Jaipur. Even though the rectangle
is most common, the circular arrangement of Connaught Place seems to be
the most popular and well known of the other public places. This is probably
due to the interest that is created among people while walking along the
circumference, the curiosity of discoveries.
From the survey, priorities of the people at public spaces are understood. The
most important factors for people in a public space are:

Safety > Accessibility > Greenery > Activities/ Recreation.


Also, they would enjoy and return to spaces that would leave a long lasting
memory in their minds (thus place-making is an important criteria).
Although we see that the public spaces of India are mostly cluttered with
markets, the mind-set of people is changing; they will not prefer markets
encroaching upon their leisure time. They also prefer spaces which are more
open in nature that provides a buffer space from the crowds, polluted and
busy urban lives. Enclosure is not preferred.

57

CHAPTER 5 FINDINGS AND IMPLICATIONS


5.1 INTRODUCTION
It appears that the public have discerning tastes in respect of the urban open
environment. The investigation has shown that people care and that they form
strong preferential views. The major dimensions of public space design
include:
NEEDS

RIGHTS

MEANINGS

SECURITY NEEDS

ACCESS

INDIVIDUAL

COMFORT NEEDS

Visual comfort

Sonic comfort

Olfactory comfort

Metabolic comfort

Psychological
comfort

RELAXATION NEEDS

ENAGEMENT NEEDS

Physical

Visual

Symbolic

FREEDOM OF ACTION

CLAIM AND
TERRITORIALITY

CONNECTIONS

GROUP CONNECTIONS

PSYCHOLOGICAL
CONNECTIONS

CONNECTION TO
LARGER SOCIETY

CHANGE

Inclusive
interaction

OWNERSHIP

Face to face
interaction

Exclusive
interaction

Parallel interaction

COGNITIVE NEEDS
AESTHETIC NEEDS

Sensory

Formal

Symbolic

Intellectual

Expressive

58

5.2 FINDINGS AND IMPLICATIONS


This section aims to identify the characteristics of public spaces which
promote good public space use. From the study of the above data, literature
study and the case studies, it is possible to come up with certain guidelines
and theories relating to the design of urban Public Square are India. These
issues can be addressed as follows:
Access: to a place can be understood not only by how to reach the space but
also by how it is connected to its surroundings and the urban city fabric. In
order to make the design of an Indian public square popular and effective it
should adhere to the following pointers:

Have a good connection to the entire city. This can be best brought
about if it has a central location to the city, so that it is located at an
optimum distance from most of the varied communities existing within
the city. Also, centrality naturally brings about hierarchy and dominance
of the space.

The space must act as a destination, with few of the major roads of the
city, terminating at it. In such a case, it is preferable to make the public
square pedestrian and provide for enough parking lots at the periphery.
This will reduce vehicular road at the centre and also improve the
safety for the users. Smaller lanes within may be allowed for vehicles.

F IGURE 30. A CCESS O PTIONS

In case of the design of an entirely pedestrian public square, rather


than having roads terminating at the space, it is better to have
encircling it. Again, enough parking must be provided. Here, the space
becomes an incidental space.

59

Centrality is not the only driving factor behind position. The space must
also be near to public transport networks like subways, metro-stations,
bus stops etc. This helps people from afar to also visit the space;
otherwise, with increasing distance of a place from ones home,
decreases chances of visiting it merely due to lack of efficient
connectivity.

Apart from physical access systems, the symbolic access to a space


must also be addressed. The space must symbolise the culture of the
city, or an event or the mood of the area by means of public
installations/ public art/ statues/ monuments/ architectural features etc.
these, not only help to attract people but improves the image of the
space and the city as a whole.

To gain visual access to a space, its presence must be felt from at


least 1/4th mile away (walkable). This can be achieve by means of a
gateway along the road, change of the faade treatments of the
buildings, lighting styles, pavement patterns, change of texture, use of
street-scaping elements, reducing density of vehicles by provision of
parking lots etc.

Image / Spatial Configuration: is that property of the space which we


perceive through our senses and which has an impact on our memory. When
well-designed, the image we capture of the space in our minds is long lasting.
The following pointers are some of the optimum measures to attain this
memory:

When we are designing for pedestrian friendly squares, it is preferable


to have a circular or oval space. Such an arrangement of space and
buildings around generate a lot of interest among the users of the
space. Spaces need to be complex and interesting. Pedestrians have
lower speed. They appreciate the finer details of the environment. Slow
speed

requires

having

shorter

views,

intricate,

complex

and

asymmetrical in nature, winding with hidden views- to encourage


walking and strolling- to bring about the element of surprise.

60

However, the arrangement need not be too rigid, the space should
provide for flexibility and be flowy in nature in order to sustain more and
a variety of activities during festive seasons or other occasions.

The space must have a dominating feature, as it tends to focus the


people towards an area. The focus in turn creates a variety of
sightlines, a major factor that creates a positive image of the area. The
dominance of the feature should however, not be overpowering, unless
the design is dedicated to it. Also, the area around the structure can be
soft-scaped to provide a relaxing space that feels pleasant to the users.
Basically, the idea of disencumbering is to
be applied.

Active areas must be allocated towards the


periphery. This allows for a more ordered
movement along the edge and the centre
is devoid of the chaos the movement.
F IGURE 31. S PATIAL A RRANGEMENT

A very important aspect is to offer the people an open public space.


Hence, the design should be perceived as an open space from within,
but enclosed from outside to give the space an edge, a boundary to
demarcate it from the hustle bustle of the city surroundings.

One of the ways to achieve is to keep the height of the surrounding


buildings at a minimum of 1/6th of the width of the square.
Automatically, the buildings are too far apart and too low to encroach
upon the space, but it provides a
boundary, that does not affect the
users.
F IGURE 32. S QUARE

AND BUILDING RELATION

Also, it preferable to have gaps between the surrounding structures.


This allows for free circulation of people and wind, yet form an
enclosure according to Gestalts law of enclosure and continuity.

61

F IGURE 33. G ESTALTS

LAW OF ENCLOSURE

Another better way is to keep one side of the


space open to the city, flowing into the urban
fabric. This is good in two ways; firstly it opens
up the area to the city, so it becomes a
part of the city, yet because of the
enclosure on 3 other sides, it has a
boundary and secondly; it provides for a
visual access to the space. The space
belongs to square as well as the cityintegration is established.

F IGURE 34. O NE

SIDE OPEN FORM

If the breaks provided between the buildings are large, they must be
unified by means of similar faade treatment and feature. The internal
faade must belong more to the square that the building.

Greenery is a very important factor in urban public spaces. They are


like the lungs that are able to absorb the pollution of the city life. People
would come to such areas to enjoy the leisure time, away from their
daily routines, their daily living spaces, away from the stress of a city
life; and what better than nature itself, the healer.

Lastly, the square must be in proportion to human scale. In case of


high density areas, larger buffer spaces must be provided- 100 to
150metres wide; and for comparatively lower density areas- 2445metres wide.

Activities: of a space is what provides life and vitality to it. The activities in a
space determine the type and density of users of the area. In order to make a
public square with effective use, it should comply with some minimum and
compulsory movements in the area.

People tend to enjoy large open green areas. However, it is noticed


that market areas are more popular space of visit. Hence, if unified, a

62

public square can become a hub of bubbling energy and vitality. It


should have spaces like- green grounds, shops, recreation, eateries
etc.

As a public space is visited by people of all age groups, provisions for


recreation should be provided for all.
-

Children can have a park area dedicated to them, or


activities can be spread through the green grounds

The youth can mostly enjoy the markets, and a stage or


performance area may be dedicated for activities,
preaches, protests, concerts etc. from time to time.

For the elderly, small scale spiritual structures or


conversational landscapes, walking tracks etc. can be
provided for the purpose of relaxation.

The market areas, commercial zones should not interfere with these
passive activities that bring about refreshments. This active zone
needs to be well demarcated towards the periphery.

Comfort: is not just physical, but psychological as well. It is what determines


the time span for which one stays in a public space.

Physical comfort relates to the climate of the region. Public spaces


should afford protection from unpleasant conditions like harsh sun and
heavy rains. Hence, mostly shaded pathways must be provided to
provide for a sweat free, comfortable shopping experience. Also,
shaded or sheltered seating can be provided at some strategic points.

Exposure to sunlight should then be maximized, but glare minimised.


Unobstructed skylines should be explored. That is a clear sky roof
should be available.

The material of sittable surfaces should not be overly responsive to


temperature. As temperature is often more crucial than sunlight..

For the purpose of wind protection more generally, short buildings and
sinuous street networks have a positive effect.

63

Noise is another environmental feature with significant impacts on the


overall comfort of spaces, especially for conversation and relaxation.
White noise, such as water, is very essential to absorb the distracting grey
noise of the surroundings.

Sidewalk width is a relevant issue in securing comfort in public spaces. As


in India, due to the importance and spread of hawkers, the sidewalks
should cater not only to walking users, but also to them and none should
hinder the active of the other. Hence, a minimum of 3.3m + 1.8m, i.e.
about 5 metres should be provided, this again should be preferable
shaded and paved.

Sittable elements height should be defined according to a persons


average height, even though certain groups of users may choose less
comfortable seats according to their needs. Hence, stepped seating is
new contemporary way of providing seating in an interesting pattern.
Deep, backless benches allow for people to sit on both sides, but at least
some seats with backs should be provided for less physically fit users.

Public toilets are relevant for increased comfort and longer stay in public
spaces.

Lighting is another important factor to keep people engaged in the area


even after dark. Lighting does not only lights up the space, but innovative
designs can enhance the beauty of the space and hence can become an
element of attraction. Hence, I would suggest lighting shows in such public
areas during specific times of the week or months, which would eventually
pull the crowd.

Good lighting should be warm, welcoming, abundant and oriented


towards socially relevant aspects, people and their faces, and
horizontal surfaces, and not too intense, as it may cause glare.

Security: concerns regarding criminality are one of the strongest factors that
affect the use of public places. It is rather the first thing people look at before
the use of such spaces.

Increasing surveillance, through policing must be made compulsory. It


will help remove unwanted illegal activities. Regular patrolling will help
to reduce vandalism in these areas.

64

Eyes on the street is another strategy for promoting public space


safety with a rather different rationale. The public space users and the
surrounding buildings can play a fundamental role in deterring crime
and vandalism. For the purpose, there must be a good visibility
between the square and the buildings around. If a space or area is
visible from a large number of points, especially from a height,
unwanted activities are generally discouraged.

Proper lighting, even at the nooks and corners and narrow alleys must
be installed. These areas are mostly overlooked which become
breeding grounds for illegal transactions. If lit up, it will make the
people engaged in such behaviour retreat from that space.

Also, escape routes via these narrow lanes must be avoided.

5.3 CONCLUSION
Today as public spaces decline, concerns for the vitality and liveability of the
cities increase. People are the main ingredients of the city and without public
spaces it is impossible to establish a physical and mental connection between
public and urban environment. As one of the significant open public spaces,
urban squares are fundamental city elements in democratic and liveable
cities. Besides the physical dimension of design process, psychological
aspects should also be taken into account by urban designers and planners.
Urban public places should:

Create identity, sense of place and contribute to the overall city image,

Promote public use and participation,

Encourage social activities, communication and social integration,

Enhance the character of the environment,

Create a public square which is legible, enjoyable and long-lasting,

Create both physically and socially accessible environments,

Promote art, cultural activities and entertainment.

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Urban public squares are more than just physical spaces; they have symbolic
meaning for people. They are vibrant, active and interesting places. Most of
the contemporary urban squares involve a historical value or importance for
the community, as well as for the tourists and visitors. What should be called
a square often functions as crossroads and is occupied by vehicle traffic.
Although traditional public squares in Indian cities differ from European
examples, they still have a cultural and social importance in public life. Hence,
it is urgently needed to develop design and management strategies for urban
public squares in order to prevent losing a vital part of the city and the
community. (Memluk, Designing Urban Squares 2013)

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APPENDIX
Figure 1. evolution of public squares .............................................................. 7
Figure 2. transformation of public places in india........................................... 10
Figure 3. the closed square, plaza mayor in madrid ...................................... 19
Figure 4. the dominated square, notre dame ................................................. 20
Figure 5. the nuclear square, trafalgar square, london .................................. 20
Figure 6. the roam grouped squares ............................................................. 21
Figure 7. types of squares ............................................................................. 22
Figure 8. Different shapes of squares ............................................................ 24
Figure 9. Arc de Triomphe, Paris ................................................................... 26
Figure 10. Viewing Angles ............................................................................. 27
Figure 11. Iconic structures ........................................................................... 31
Figure 12. badi chowk, jaipur ......................................................................... 34
Figure 13. manek chowk, ahmedabad ........................................................... 35
Figure 14. seating at manek chowk ............................................................... 36
Figure 15. new market, kolkata...................................................................... 38
Figure 16. pathways and street-scapes of new market ................................. 39
Figure 17. size of new market and surroundings ........................................... 40
Figure 18. Access routes to C.P. ................................................................... 40
Figure 19. Spatial organisation of C.P. .......................................................... 41
Figure 20. Old and new C.P. ......................................................................... 42
Figure 21. C.P. Park ...................................................................................... 42
Figure 22. Facsdes of C.P. ............................................................................ 43
Figure 23. Blocked view of the square........................................................... 45
Figure 24. Video screen and fountai .............................................................. 45
Figure 25. New City Square .......................................................................... 46
Figure 26. Access routes to K.C. ................................................................... 47
Figure 27.Access routes to K.M.C.Greens .................................................... 47
Figure 28. Comparison of the public places studied ...................................... 51
Figure 29. People Preferences ...................................................................... 55
Figure 30. Access Options ............................................................................ 59
Figure 31. Spatial Arrangement ..................................................................... 61
Figure 32. Square and building relation ......................................................... 61
Figure 33. Gestalts law of enclosure ............................................................. 62
Figure 34. One side open form ...................................................................... 62

69

SURVEY QUESTIONNAIRE
1. What is your age?
2. Which qualities of a public space are most important for you? Rank on a
scale of 1-15

A space that leaves a memory, sense of attachment

Natural and artificial landscaping of the space

Varied options for seating in a space

Safety

Availability of various activities

A space providing one specific activity

Accessibility

Visibility of the space from a distance

Public installations or art

Open green grounds- parks

Space enclosed on few or all sides- streets

Open urban spaces

Markets

Recreational spaces for performances

Presence of iconic structure, eg. India Gate, Taj Mahal Gate

3. Is there a good connection between the space and the surrounding


buildings?
4. Can people use a variety of transportation options bus, train, car, bicycle,
etc. to reach the place?
5. Which is your favorite open space in your city and why?
6. Can you see the space from a distance?

Yes

No

Don't know

7. How many different types of activities are occurring? Name a few


8. What attracts you most to a public space?
9. What changes or additions would you like in that space?

70