Prominent Cities of the past, have always been places that allow diversity of human existence. These cities often provide a common ground for a variety of identities to co-exist. Such cities that have always attracted people from different parts of the region need very active public places for the purpose of creating a common ground of co-existence. Such public places are neutral in their outlook, as they allow different communities to identify with it. They come to symbolise the shared identity of the city and in the process becomes its socio-cultural heart.

This research project is an attempt at understanding cities of different periods and geographies that have varying structure and typologies of public places. We aim to excavate the history of cities and understand the forces that help shape these public places.

For example, the cities of medieval Himalayan kingdoms often had a very strong city centre unlike its counterparts in other parts of the Indian sub-continent.  This was a product of the peculiarities of the economy and the constraints of the geography leading to the rise of city states. On the other hand, colonial cities created public places as an act of appropriation. The open spaces that were meant to glorify the colonial rule were later appropriated to display a collective expression and other cultural beliefs.

In this yearlong research projects, we select examples of cities from Medieval Himalayan capital cities, Portuguese colonial trading cities, and Princely cities in the Indian Subcontinent. As a part of this research project we intend to carry out workshops with participants in the Kathmandu, Panjim, Vadodara and Mysore.

THEME 2020

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