1 – Introduction
Naya Raipur is a new, planned capital city for 560,000 inhabitants, adjacent to the existing city of Raipur and currently under construction. The state government is moving to Naya Raipur in 2012, attracting new workers, residents and businesses and beginning the establishment of a new, urban population centre. This is a critical moment for the region: the way that the new city develops and is inhabited in the early years will greatly influence its future form and success. The workshop in November 2012 will take place at a point in time when the first steps of a new city are being taken, but different possibilities remain open. NRDA, the development agency responsible for the new city are open to ideas and wish to invite professional participants to work under the les Ateliers method, to explore these possibilities, with the intention of implementation of the best results.
The Naya Raipur Masterplan sets out phased development over the next 19 years through to 2031. The document sets out the objective of the new city as follows:
’It will be modern in the use of technology, uphold worthy traditions and core values, and conserve the
prevailing man-nature symbiotic culture as well as abundant natural & cultural assets in the region. The citizens will be offered a wide range of living options with equity and dignity’
Naya Raipur lies to the southeast of the former state capital, Raipur. The elongated, north-south rectilinear
form of the arterial road structure can now be seen from satellite photos. The international cricket stadium is the first completed major building (below right) and the state administration is in the process of moving into the capital complex.
Constructing a new city in India provides the opportunity to incorporate modern engineering solutions to deal with the normally chronic problems of transport, drainage, water and electricity supplies and the plan for Naya Raipur is based on a sophisticated layering of modern infrastructure. This aspect of the design is well-developed and necessary, but the fast pace of development in India has not resulted in the loss of spiritual and cultural traditions and modes, as it has in other developing countries. Religion permeates contemporary life in myriad ways and the culture of ‘informality’ is an important form of social ‘glue’ that mostly ensures a tolerant, diverse society. The Naya Raipur plan aims to accommodate this Indian way of life, but it is not yet clear how it will provide a spiritual and cultural infrastructure; overlapping layers that are no less important than the layers of engineering infrastructure. The goal is not to re-make society to fit a new model, but to think about how a new town can grow with the traditional ways of life. Especially in this part of India, newly urbanised people bring with them rural social norms and remain connected to the life of the village, as can be seen in the existing city of Raipur. The goal is therefore to increase the level of life of the inhabitants in a sustainable and equitable way and to recognise these social structures as a positive factor in the design of a new city.
The objective of the workshop is to explore the potential for the new city plan to achieve its goal of
becoming a ‘city for everyone’.
A means to explore this potential is through the ‘thresholds’ that are highly significant in Indian architecture
and the main space where social interaction occurs. To test the potential of these spaces, four topics are given: i. ‘mixity’ of forms, functions and people; ii. transport and density; iii. space and water as a social resource; iv. ‘positioning’ of the city. A number of sites will be identified as testing grounds for these topics,based on the identification of particular threshold conditions.
2012 is an important time for Naya Raipur. A great deal of planning has gone into the new city; the first
districts are under construction and the first inhabitants arriving, but many details will have to be worked out over the following 20 years of construction. The future of a city can never be fully planned in advance and once inhabited it will take on a life of its own.
The opportunity of the workshop is to test the new plan in certain critical respects and to make
proposals for how it can be adjusted and adapted to anticipate and accommodate Indian life.
2A – India: new states, new cities, networks, slums
India’s economy has been growing rapidly over the past decade at around 8% per year (though recently down to 6%). A combination of bureaucracy, social division and lack of social mobility, population density,water and food supplies, remain major economic and environmental risks, growing in parallel. Rural to urban migration has also seen enormous growth of slums in both new and existing cities, so the urban experience is one of stark contrasts. This increasing economic migration is driving change at many levels:
new states, new cities but also new slums. Upwards of 40% of the population now live in slums and more Indians own a mobile phone than have the use of an indoor toilet. In fact, the slums are largely functional workplaces, processing waste and material resources as well as providing services rather than simply residential areas. They come into existence because of work opportunities arising from urban growth. Since independence, there has been a continuing history of claims for new states to secede, with new administrative capital cities often following in each case. Le Corbusier’s new city of Chandigarh in the north of India illustrates both the opportunities and potential problems of planned cities to deal with urbanisation of the population at a density that is sustainable over time. Other new cities have been driven more by economic than administrative growth. Navi Mumbai, for example responds to its natural and the existing urban context but it doesn’t deal with wider urbanisation problems; in Mumbai the economic success has also driven the growth of the largest slums in India. Nonetheless, Navi Mumbai is more multi-dimensional and socially open than the privately-developed new city of Lavasa, which is marketed to an exclusive,aspirational section of the population.
Chhattisgarh became a new state in 2 000. Resource-rich (particularly coal and metal ores) and industrially
powerful it supplies 15% of India’s steel and is a net exporter of electricity. The state also contains large areas of forest, with great biodiversity and indigenous tribes whose traditional ways of life are increasingly threatened due to mining activities and infrastructure development. This disenfranchisement is being exploited by Maoist groups in the south who are waging a guerrilla campaign against the state. Chhattisgarh is also important for agriculture, particularly rice and the landscape is dotted with man-made ponds that hold water from the monsoons to irrigate the paddy-fields during the dry season. The rural pattern is an even distribution of small villages surrounded by productive fields and ponds. Urbanisation is less advanced than India as a whole and 80% of the population is rural. In the central-eastern area of the state are major wildlife reserves, which attract tourists from across India.
2C – Urban centres: Durg-Bilhai, Raipur, Naya Raipur; in a rural state
Raipur is the existing capital of Chhattisgarh (until 2012). It is in a key location, on the main rail and road routes between Kolkotta and Mumbai. Bilhai is a major agglomeration in the central west Durg region of Chhattisgarh. It is a new, planned city centred on the major Bilhai Steel Plant and has good transport connections with Raipur. Since becoming the capital, Raipur has grown rapidly and infrastructure is struggling to keep pace. There is a lack of development space in the city and congested roads are inhibiting growth. Naya Raipur, 30 km to the east of Raipur centre, will become the new capital, with administrative functions, university and healthcare campuses, employment, commerce and housing. The future relationship between these three urban centres needs to be considered by the workshop as part of the ‘positioning’ topic.
There is evidence of an ancient settlement in Raipur, with the remains of a fort dating back to the 9th century. The city was conquered by the British in the mid-19th Century who made it the headquarters of the administrative district of Chhattisgarh. Following independence, Chhattisgarh was part of the state of Madhya Pradesh, until the new state formation in 2 000. The modern city has a population of 1 000 000 and is ethnically diverse, with a long history of ethnic and religious tolerance. An important commercial hub, its primary industries are agricultural processing and trading and milling of metals, such as iron and aluminium. It has several Higher Education institutes and is currently the seat of state government(planned transition in 2012). Water bodies are a key feature of the city, with several major basins forming focal points in the centre. The streets are narrow and quite congested. Rainwater gulleys are inadequate and often blocked, meaning that flooding is a significant problem during the monsoon. The city has seen increasing levels of prosperity and fast development since 2001. There are slum areas, but less than the Indian average. The situation of a rapidly-developing urban agglomeration, surrounded by a highly rural population means there are strong development pressures, especially around the edges of the city. The lack of development control or taxation in rural areas results in unplanned, ‘sprawl’ development and this is one of the driving forces for the establishement of a new, planned city. The suburbs are currently under
a separate city redevelopment programme being delivered by the Raipur Development Authority (RDA) with the first phase taking place in the southeast corner of the city, near to the Naya Raipur administrative boundary. The model for the RDA plan involves trading parcels of privately owned, formerly agricultural land for regularised, planned plots which are smaller than the original ownership, but with the benefit of infrastructure and services. The Naya Raipur plan envisages 40% of the new population migrating from Raipur, so an understanding of the existing social practices in the existing city will be important.
The site for the new city was chosen for its proximity to Raipur, the airport and existing land-uses and
topography. There are 41 villages in the entire planning area, with 13 villages in Layer I (the planned urban part of the city, phased to 2031). Village farmland is being compulsory purchased by the NRDA with financial compensation paid to the owners, but the villages themselves will remain to be absorbed into the new city (one village only has been relocated). The topography is generally flat, but with some localised features.
Thierry Paquot said: “In a few years, India changed her speed: from the cow speed to the plane speed, from rural traditional country, living in the seasons’ rhythms, to an unbelievable melting point of modernity; India combines temporalities, without losing their compasses” (translated from the French)
Naya Raipur exactly typifies this Indian situation: it is next to a nationally-connected and currently expanding airport whilst being surrounded by villages and rice fields.
NRDA and the future city governance:
The new city is being delivered by the Naya Raipur Development Authority (NRDA); a state development agency with powers to acquire land within the identified boundary and to administer the development of the new city. The capital complex, arterial roads and other key infrastructure are state-funded, whilst other parcels of land will be sold to developers, or housing agencies to complete the plan. The remit of the NRDA is clearly for the development phase of the new city. Once the city reaches a certain administrative threshold size, a city government will be formed with elected members and city-management officials. This transition will be a critical point in the creation of the city and the way in which the facilities designed in the development are taken forward in the new operational regime will set the city on one of many possible paths. In Raipur, it can be seen that the maintenance and management of the city operates on a lowtech basis, due to the low cost and surplus of low-skilled labour. This creates problems, as the low-tech infrastructure (such as open sewers, for example) cannot cope with the high speed of development. The new plan, however relies on modern, high-tech infrastructure, which can better provide for a modern urban environment, but it is not yet clear how the operational requirements will be met by a new city
administration. Modern infrastructure requires high-skilled maintenance and operation, as well as higher taxation and it is not yet clear whether a city that is striving for social equality will be able to afford the longterm cost of providing high-tech services to all of its citizens.
2D – Presentation / Society and culture
Social equality has developed greatly since India’s establishment as a democratic state and as a result of
economic development and state initiatives, though of course social division still exists. The public realm, however is a remarkably egalitarian space: in the Indian street, the beggar may talk to the prince. All aspects of life take place in the public realm of the street and the pavements serve as productive spaces for industries, for selling goods and even for living. The ‘pavement’ is in fact, an intermediate zone rather than simply a walkway. It is a threshold between the public thoroughfare of the street and the private realm of individual homes, businesses and so on that line it. This ‘threshold’ zone exists in a multitude of forms and scales across India, both in cities and villages and is an essential space in Indian life. The establishment of this threshold zone and its inhabitation is a critical challenge for any new city: without it, the Indian city will not work.
Chhattisgarh, being in central India is also a kind of threshold between regions and Religions (north and south / east and west). In Raipur one finds Sikh Gurdwaras, Hindu temples, Islamic Mosques and Christian churches all within sight of each other and the city has a long tradition of ethnic and religious mixity and tolerance. It is also a threshold between the wilds of India (forests and nature reserves) and industrialisation; between indigenous tribes living traditional lives and the modern world. It is at these interfaces that the future India is being shaped and contested and the workshop will consider the social role of spaces in Naya Raipur, taking inspiration from some of the more successful spaces in Raipur.
2E – Presentation / Transport and urbanisation
Public transportation takes place in a variety of modes, scales and speeds, and the road is shared, or
negotiated between all forms of transport without segregation. Walking is the first level of transport, then on a bicycle: two people or goods; a rickshaw: three people and goods; a motor rickshaw: five people and goods; a motorcycle can take a family. Car ownership is increasing and small cars, big cars and SUVs are all common, together with Taxis and buses. There are local railways in Raipur (both industrial and passenger) as well as the national railway. The variety of modes and scales is important to the needs of the population and supports the mixed urban pattern. A BRT system is planned for Naya Raipur, to connect the new city and existing Raipur, but it’s not clear how this will integrate with the other modes. It can also be seen from the air that development is sprawling along the existing transportation corridors. These issues will be considered by the workshop.
2F – Presentation / Environment
The landscape is quite particular in Chhattisgarh, with the water bodies that serve a functional purpose for
agriculture in the rural areas also being prominent in the cities as in Raipur. The functional purposes of the water bodies (irrigation, washing etc.) overlap with spiritual and cultural purposes and they are places of special importance in Indian life. Water exerts a strong force on people’s lives due to the polarised climate (dry season / rainy season). The water bodies help to conserve water from the rainy season through the dry season, but as the population grows, they are under greater pressure. Drinking water is taken from the water table through wells, which is also diminishing and in some areas of Chhattisgarh is contaminated with by-products of mining activities. In the monsoon, the dense and impermeable ground of urbanised areas quickly floods, causing serious problems. The temperature also varies greatly, with 45C being common in the summer months.
The architecture of vernacular villages has evolved to deal with these climatic conditions, but in cities,
the balance between development and the environment is different. As an example in Raipur the waste water infrastructure is overwhelmed by storm water in the monsoon, meaning the water bodies become polluted. These water-bodies exist as soon as there is a single inhabitant area and are important to both rural and urban life. This is common feature between Raipur and Naya Raipur, as many water bodies are regenerated in Raipur, and many water bodies from villages will be included in Naya Raipur.
2G – Presentation / Masterplan 2031
The masterplan for Naya Raipur sets out a phased development for Layer I (the coloured, linear area in the centre) to the year 2031, with a use-based development-control approach to Layer II (the surrounding green area). The two Layers are separated by a ‘greenbelt’ in which no development is allowed. The full Masterplan document, containing a wealth of contextual and technical information is freely available to download as a series of pdfs from the NRDA website: http://www.nayaraipur.com
Four general topics for the workshop are to be explored:
The masterplan includes mixed-income housing, which is a positive step towards inclusivity. Cities, though are made of many different elements, bound together by infrastructure, so to think beyond only mixed housing, what are the elemental and infrastructural needs of a ‘city for everyone’? How can the new city accommodate the inevitable slums, both as an economic system and as a housing system? Retail has a special place in Indian life and is dependent on the symbiotic relationship between formal and informal,micro and macro; how can such relationships be sustained in a new city? How can the new administrative,educational, healthcare and industrial facilities be connected to support public life and improvement in the city? The life of the Indian street is dependent on mixity; how can this be planned for?
Public transport has especially many levels in India, and the road is shared between many speed levels, not in dedicated lanes; These transports are intimately connected with the life and small scale all along the road. Indian cycling and walking distances vary greatly: 10-20 kms is a normal distance to bike from village to work, 4-8 kms by walk is also normal. How can the public space of the street be best organised to continue to support this critical connection between the different scales of transport and the mixed urban scales? Should the traffic be segregated, or will this work against the urban life? Indian transport is not simply about moving from A to B. How is the local scale transport related to the intercommunal and logistic scales?
Logistic scale: between Chattisgarh’s towns , ports (Mombaï, Kolkotta, Vizag), mines,…airport
Intercommunal scale : intermodal nodes, between BRT and local bus lines, and cycle / pedestrian lanes,… rickshaw lanes,…
Local scale: pedestrian and cycle lanes, crossing roads and green and blue framework, rickshaw lanes The new city infrastructure includes a BRT and improved rail connections, to link with Raipur. The interchange nodes will become pressure points for urbanisation. How can development be controlled, or encouraged in more sustainable concentrations or forms? How can we articulate all these levels in these specific places, from the big to the small scale? Charles Correa’s plan for Navi Mumbai provides one example of how these issues can be managed together.
3. Space and water as social resources
Water bodies, prevalent in the area, are the most significant social spaces. Their religious and functional
importance supports their social use as gathering spaces, for washing and playing and for reflection. In
the new city, the functional and social purposes of water are more segregated, but is there a risk that the
social value of this important resource becomes too narrow? Are there ways of continuing to combine the
Within the urban fabric, even in Raipur, courtyards perform both environmental and social functions. Charles Correa identifies the courtyard as a necessary feature of urban life: The courtyard is not simply a space, but a proportion of building to open sky. These open to sky spaces have a usability factor : 70%x 75% (75% functions outdoor, during 70% of the year) = 50% of an enclosed room, much cheaper than a built space, which raises the question: how do we manage these open to sky spaces when we build tall buildings?
Correa says these spaces take several forms:
• courtyards and terraces: for cooking, sleeping
• the front door step: where children play,…
• the water tap or village well
• the principal open space used by the whole community
4. ‘Positioning’ of the city
How can the complexity of a real place be communicated? This is not simply about marketing, but about the kind of place that Naya Raipur will become and the direction of travel towards it. Although the future cannot be predicted, the aspirations for the city will inform its future and set forces in motion. The three preceding topics will only be realised if they are commonly understood to be aspects of the character of the new city. The first step in establishing Naya Raipur is the new administrative capital, but the objective is for a rich and diverse city with a broad range of functions. The Masterplan includes a variety of functional categories, such as Industry, Education and so on, but within each of these there can be great diversity and interaction: industrial use can range from high-tech through to home-based industries; education can be formal and academic, but through more employment-based education and training can also bridge the gap between rural and urban ways of life. This pattern of functional interactions will develop a ‘character’, by which the city will come to be known, but will also depend on the measures taken in the early stages of development and construction.
Sites and techniques for testing
A number of areas will be defined for the workshop as sites to explore the topics in a tangible way and show possibilities for future implementation. The areas will consider key boundaries of the city, the integration of existing villages into the urban fabric and a typical housing area. The teams should also consider wider areas, as described in the first part of the document and the test areas should act as a focus for wider ideas. We will also look carefully at some key sites in Raipur, to understand how certain existing aspects of urban life may be reprovided in the new city, whilst dealing with some of the difficulties. As well as drawing and writing, the workshop teams will make sketch models to explore and explain relationships of form and mass.
Sites and techniques for testing
The workshop will be organized according to the original method of Les Ateliers, which consists in gathering over two weeks 21 various professionals from different countries. International participants will be divided into three teams of five, plus two local professionals in each team, one of which will be working in the technical services NRDA (Naya Raipur Development Authority).
The early days will focus on meetings and tours. During the opening ceremony, the local authorities will have the chance to express their views to the participants and their particular expectations. Then, the leading committee will announce the composition of the teams, and they will begin working on the subject- without computers. After three days, the forum will take place. It is a key moment of the workshop where the teams will present the first elements of their work, their first analysis, and will freely exchange and debate with a local committee. During the second week, the team will finalize their productions; they will have access to computers in order to hand in their written and graphic work that will be used during their presentation to the international jury.
Composed of local players, representatives, city development executives, Naya Raipur partners and personalities from Les Ateliers’ network, the workshop jury is like a “fourth team”. Its function is not to rank the teams but to identify within the teams’ production the most relevant propositions for the local authorities to use. The workshop is not a contest; there is neither a prize nor a market to win. What matters is the capacity to produce analysis, new representations, and threads in a collective way that can be easily used for Naya Raipur’s development.
Taking part in the workshop – November 17 to November 30, 2012
This workshop is for professionals of every age and nationality, and whose education and/or work is related to urban planning: architects, geographers, landscape artists, engineers, economists, artists… The goalis to create 3 multi-disciplinary teams. A good command of English is required. We must say to the young graduates that an application with less than 3 years of experience is very unlikely to be selected. The participants will stay in Central Raipur at the hotel Celebration, and will work in the workspace provided nearby for them. Documentary resources with maps and information cards introducing the context will be available.They will have access at any time to the sites they wish to visit. The participants are not remunerated but the following expenses are covered: travel expenses (flight + visa), accommodation in individual rooms, catering, interpreting, visits and work equipment.The selection is made by the workshop’s leading committee, based on the professional abilities of the
participants, their experience on similar projects, their approach of the subject, their communication skills
(language, graphics…) and their motivation!