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What Ahmedabad needs to do beyond celebrating its ‘world heritage city’ tag

On Saturday, the walled city of Ahmedabad 600 years has been recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, making it the first city in India to obtain this label. The Old City or the walled city of Ahmedabad stretches over 5.35 square kilometers and is home to havelis, ancient markets, clusters and historical shrines.

There is much to celebrate on the UNESCO label. On the one hand, extend the discourse of heritage conservation of cities rather than unique monuments that brings hope that more attention will be directed to the infrastructure problems facing these cities. This is good news for many other historic cities in India like Varanasi, Agra, Lucknow, Hyderabad and Madurai.

“Heritage” is a very controversial word because of what is called heritage is born of historical narratives, which are invariably also political narratives. A legacy is willing to be more equal than others, some stories are strongly affirmed and some are conveniently forgotten. Similarly, some heritage buildings are very important and some are ignored, depending on their political legacy. Therefore, a heritage city is wider than monuments.

However, celebrations are not ends in themselves and supports can not replace planning and public management. Our cities face perpetual historical challenges – the abandonment of historic buildings, traffic congestion, water and sanitation crises and waste management are some of them. So when we reclassify a city as historic heritage or town, we need to think again about its management and planning.

Conventionally, urban planning in India has ignored historical cities in defining them as “lord areas” (which excludes the jurisdiction of planning authorities) or officials have used draconian general prohibitions or procedures for the reconstruction of historic buildings Historic cities. We have no tradition of conservation planners and government architects working together to design building codes adapted to the historic areas of a city.

The discourse on heritage conservation has to move away from the “list and zoning” approach (where heritage buildings are marked in identified areas and conservation efforts), which deals with heritage buildings such as islands in the urban fabric in Place an extension of the area is located. We must move towards a more rounded approach to governance, in which a historic building that is treated as a facade or a sculpture, but as an extension of the life and culture of the street.

The conservation of heritage does not only mean adornment. If Mathura, considered the birthplace of Lord Krishna, lack basic sanitation facilities and is bordered by mounds of waste without picking up, then what use of painting and painting his ghats or decoration Jharokhas! Ajmer and that they should, with a sewerage coverage of 15%, spend Rs 300 million rupees for sailboats and various levels of parking?

Similarly, Ahmedabad also – while celebrating its heritage seal – will focus on its various problems. The famous ancient city that has earned this honor Ahmedabad is now a shadow of what it was.

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