Design Thinking


Urban Development: Unlimited!


Posted on June 14, 2019   |   By Kanwal Thareja Architects

A highway passing through the dense fabric of multi-storey buildings. Being an urban designer from School of Planning and Architecture (SPA), Delhi and with an architectural practice in the same city, I live in a relatively low rise development very close to Lutyen’s Delhi green boulevard. I do understand urbanism but it was an astonishing experience to see a narrow highway passing through a highly dense cluster of high-rise towers. Two level express road, with the upper level meant for High speed traffic connecting the airport to Pudong Commercial hub and the lower level connecting developments along the highway with slow moving traffic. Most of the buildings are about thirty stories high. Each tower seems to be competing with the other to reach higher.

Does each tower get sufficient natural light and ventilation? What happens when this arterial road stops functioning for any reason? What will happen in case of fire or shortage of water supply? How will the city sustain with such large number of towers? Does everybody living in these towers have sufficient jobs for years to come? Should we call this an urban mess or an overdeveloped city under stress? In 2013 Shanghai was moving at a phenomenal GDP growth. It was said that they are gearing up for the future. But what will happen if the economy collapses? Will they be able to sustain this overdevelopment?

Having said that, it is most definitely a phenomenal example of a large development supported with a fantastic road network, metro and tube rail. The towers are fully furnished with fire safety norms designed with latest applicable norm of seismic loads and wonderful construction.

The whole city glows under the cover of darkness. Every tower shines like a star, it glitters till midnight and all the façade lights are put off thereafter to save energy. It looks like a galaxy of stars shining beautifully and attracting every passer-by to impress them to come again.