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On the Aesthetics of Public Spaces

A panel discussion on tradition and modernity in cities leads to insights on public good and the role of urban design.

It all started at a panel discussion hosted by the School of Planning and Architecture, Bhopal. The discussion was about the ideas of tradition and modernity in the context of our cities, specifically Bhopal. The panel, of which I was a part, like most other panels, was a motley assortment of the academician, the practising planner, the archaeologist/historian, the political ideologue, and the ubiquitous bureaucrat who would bring disparate views to a common platform.

As is customary in public debates and discourses, the panellists spoke about private memories and anecdotes to consolidate their association with the city of Bhopal. They were thus following the “tradition” of public debate only to be interjected once in a while by the moderator, who was giving a summary of the discussion hitherto in general and holistic terms, to the extent that the discussion went into the domain of the abstract and remained politically non-committal for the benefit of everybody. The panel drifted on from this “intellectual” and neutral stand and started dabbling with the idea of sacredness and the historic nature of the city, and how modernity is being ushered in by the “Smart City” agenda.

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Updated On : 31st May, 2019

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