Sunday, July 08, 2007

Trashing culture

When city planners, builders and the architects forget the grain of people’s values and aspirations, the end result would look like Gurgaon - a city trying hard to shake off its small-town past and embrace modernity and a globalized economy.

Misguided attempts to ape the West have robbed Gurgaon of local aesthetics or any individual character. “Whatever happened to cities with a character? Delhi has a character, Mumbai definitely has one, so does Kolkata. Gurgaon looks nothing like a normal Indian city, at least not in the way its buildings look” – says Ravi Tej Sharma in Business Standard.

Joseph Schumpeter must be turning in his grave. The idea behind his concept of “creative destruction,” is that every innovation and new idea undermines the existing cultural and technological order of things. But would he have foreseen an effect like this?....I doubt.

In their hurry to monetize the realty boom, builders build what’s on demand, that 99% of the population finds agreeable. Too bad the other 1% just happens to be the people in the neighborhood where you're building. While your designs may be visually stunning, chances are that is all they are.

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