Neighbourhood Improvement Plan: Shanthinagar

SHANTHINAGAR AND THE HOCKEY STADIUM

The Hockey Stadium area is an interesting and important locus; home to a variety of establishments—it is part of the Central Business District that extends from M. G. Road and Richmond Town, but also includes a hockey stadium arena, private and public schools, a hospital, an old-age home, an open sports ground, a park, posh residential areas, interspersed by middle-income houses and slums (impermanent dwellings) many religious institutions, large and small enterprises that fuel the formal and informal economies  of this neighbourhood.

 

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Its location between some of the busiest roads (such as Hosur Road, Richmond Road, Double Road and Residency Road),means it is also highly liminal space that is used by many people as a conduit to other areas of Bangalore

Diverse groups congregate along its fringes interacting with it in variegated ways: whether it is to eat snacks during work breaks (there are many informal and formal eating establishments on all major roads), or to talk to other parents while waiting for school to let out (O’ Shaughnessy Road) or even exercising at various points of the day (Richmond Park is filled with adults who exercise and walk along its pathways in the mornings and evenings, while the Mud Tank and Hockey Stadium are populated by children and young adults who play organized sports throughout the day). It is our goal to enhance these interactions by bolstering the mixed-use nature of these spaces, and by pedestrianizing the area as much as possible in order to link these areas to one another. Currently, there are clusters of people that gather around specific nodes, that tends to limit the flow of pedestrian and automobile traffic, in addition to isolating groups instead of encouraging a smooth flow and intermingling of different people.

Additionally, the diversity of institutions, spaces, and individuals in this neighbourhood make it an ideal site and model for exploring the idea of neighbourhood improvement in a responsive and proactive fashion in order to make communities of Bangalore more livable.

CONTEXT

The Hockey Stadium area is composed of many arterial and minor roads that intersect in an unplanned/non-grid-like fashion, have poor storm-water drainage, open sewers, and uneven or no pedestrian pathways, that increase the possibility of unsafe pedestrian and automobile interactions. The conditions of the roads in some segments forces motorists to meander in and out of lanes in a haphazard fashion, increasing the likelihood of accidents, in addition to slowing down the flow of the traffic, that is further exacerbated by unregulated parking. Open Sewers, poor storm water-drainage, public urination and indiscriminate garbage dumping on pavements makes this an equally un-navigable space for pedestrians, and is particularly egregious for a neighbourhood that houses a hospital and many schools. Informal establishments that dot this area like chai kaddes, snack carts, cigarette vendors spill over onto the pavement that result in clusters of people and two-wheelers, further aggravating traffic and pedestrian movements.

Our initial response will be centered around improving traffic and pedestrian flows by optimizing the geometry of the existent streets, and also involve creating amenities such as public toilets, garbage allocation areas, public seating spaces and expanding its sports offerings.

This is a first step towards making this neighbourhood safe, visually attractive, suited to diverse populations with diverse needs in a move to create a space that is open, stimulating, and sustainable by building upon the assets that it already has.  Ideally, we would like to create a public space or community with areas for people to socialize, rest, interact and move about freely to create new experiences and relations with the hockey stadium area.

 



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