Urban Design and Landscape

SHIFT IN LANDSCAPE | Re-Interpreting Wastelands as an Oasis

Chandni Patel
Faculty of Architecture, CEPT University, Ahmedabad

Project idea

India is a land of paradoxes where a shift in landscape derives voids between people and landscapes. Over the period the bureaucratic data also started defining open spaces as wastelands, non-productive, non-profitable, and degraded lands since British rule from 1858 to 1947 till date by The National Remote Sensing Agency to generate revenues. Due to which the natural systems have become sparse and linkages are fading away. Hence, the idea of nature is disappearing along with the urbanization.

The extent of the area bounds the central Gujarat region ( India ) with Gandhinagar city in the north till Pariaj lake in the south, to the Khari river at east till the Nal Sarovar in the west direction. Further, it focuses on village commons of Gandhinagar city. Within this extent open spaces were identified which has been converted into other land uses and later left abandoned!

Earlier categorized as salt-affected lands, pasture lands, waterlogged areas, marshes, ravines, and scrublands along the streams are now drawn as wastelands.
Why are these natural resources called wastelands?

Project description

The natural areas are getting engulfed by evolving cities and people have lost the touch of nature. These sparse natural pockets act as an oasis, common lands, and shared natural resources that are threatened in peri-urban areas. Cities - People - Landscape is not just for survival but for shared identity, meaning, and dwelling. Hence, the vision is to refill the voids lying due to the perception of open spaces as wastelands. Aiming to bring back values and strengthen linkages by wholistic approach and also making it more diverse, by acknowledging and integrating existing natural and hybrid systems“.

Technical information

To conserve these ecotones, it needs to be seen through the lens of a living system rather than a resource. They have ecological, economical, and socio-cultural values attached to it thus forming a large interlinked system.

The proposed master plan of a transect is weaved through, proposed system modules to enrich the lost riparian corridors, scrublands, lakes and links in between. Which will get strengthen by nodes, buffers, and movement corridors. Modules to reduce evaporation by buffering lakes with native vegetation which can retain moisture for a long and bio-swales to filter stormwater. Enriching riparian corridors will support biodiversity. Movement corridors, Growing and harvesting cattle fodder on peripheries of the farmlands to reduce overgrazing pressure on the scrublands. Conserve and enhancing scrublands which provides major ecological services. Grove of trees with deep roots systems to stabilize sandy soil. The demonstration link of village common is analyzed further, And observed where scablands and seasonal lakes are acting as landscape infrastructure.

The larger strategies for demonstration link are to conserve and acknowledge existing conditions by re-interpreting and re-establishing linkages. Proposed key idea is to create a buffer in order to protect core areas of the lakes and scrublands. Grove of trees add a contrast and cultural significance also it enhances the open scrub forest to explore. The prospective of a link is to make invisible systems visible to acknowledge what is existing. Also, to bring permanence in space which was shifted and to make the system function well with urbanization. Open access will provide recreational values and a sense of commons lands.


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