City Market

City Market is a sensory explosion. Produce and bodies mingle, weaving in and out of every space in innumerable ways. Near the toilets on the west side, there lies garbage and coriander—a heady mix confronting your brain, one that you don’t know how to react to—repulsion at the garbage-sewage or gratitude that the dhaniya masked it, somewhat. You come away from City Market feeling like it was all too much—either wondrously all too much, or overwhelmingly too much. And you are right. There’s garbage, sewage, hawkers, carts, fresh fruits, vegetables, flowers, paper, plastic recycling, implement shops, vendors, buyers, middlemen, stray dogs, cows in basements, and even history. Newer visitors to the market and its surrounding areas may find it hard to realize that here lies the origin of Bengaluru. The Pete first began as a two criss-crossing streets that expanded under various rulers, and was not only the commercial engine of the nascent town of Bangalore but also of military importance to its rulers. The Market sits on a battle site—a liminal space, and point of war between the British and Tipu (in his fort). To a large degree, the shape of the Pete can be traced still. It has expanded and diversified since then, although many of its traditions and communities remain behind, having evolved their occupations to suit more modern needs. Feasibility_KRmarket_122013_Page_02Feasibility_KRmarket_122013_Page_07   Now, K R market is surrounded by important transport hubs, and you need go no further than the image below to see how close it is to many important Bangalore landmarks. Feasibility_KRmarket_122013_Page_08 The Market itself is unevenly occupied—overcrowded on the lower levels and barely occupied in the upper two floors. Hawkers and garbage claim spaces that are left over, and they are not entirely to be blamed.

Space Use

The Market as it stands today doesn’t address the needs of its occupants and visitors, nor should it be expected to given the last renovation took place over a decade ago. Bangalore has changed immensely since then, and with it, the number and kinds of people who go to the Market. What we need now are new visions for our City Market. Visions that not only address its present, but also make space for a different future than we can imagine now, constrained as we are by memories of garbage and cobwebs.

City Market after all could one day look like this:

Feasibility_KRmarket_122013_Page_43 View A R0

Or this:

Feasibility_KRmarket_122013_Page_45 View B

Or all of these:

 View C

All we’ve done is re-align traffic, clean up the thoroughfares, designate spaces for hawkers, and bolster the older buildings. We have some ideas about how we’d like the Market to shape up in the future–but let’s not look at them just yet. We’re still waiting for yours.

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.

 

Feasibility_KRmarket_122013_Page_08

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.