Ahmedabad, a city with a vision

  • By: Archana Gupta
  • Posted on October,8 2013

Ahmedabad the City. Ahmedabad the Space. Ahmedabad the Notion. Where do they meet – what is the common starting ground?  Is it in the The world heritage city bid which promotes a city of historic past splendor, layers of meaning, intermingling of religions, multi faceted, multi layered, multi valent. Or the State Government bid to propel Gujrat into the 21st century – most modern, most technologically advanced, in front of all the other Indian Cities. Or the bid by the numerous institutions of International repute in the city which through their intellectual aura attempt to diffuse this complex city with ideas of design, space, art and management. Or the entrepreneurship spirit and Gujarati pride of the ordinary Amdavadi, which is trying to put the societal differences of the past behind and weave a strong growth story for future.

Where is the real Ahmedabad – in the large sprawling, empty and green streets of Gandhi Nagar, which are well planned and livable spaces, but they forget that people need to interact, socialize, earn and spend – money must be exchanged for the transaction of living to happen. Or is it in the Pols of Old Ahmedbad, which try to resurrect their lost splendours in the stones and spaces of the past – where a pulsing throbbing sense of life spins you into a whirlpool of emotion and the cars zip by as you try to cross the road to get a glimpse of the famous Sayed Siddi Jali . Does the essence lie in the new Ahmdedabad with its upmarket CG road and Ashram road, newly developed riverfront, flyovers, subways, BRTS, mutliplexes and malls, apartment complexes and gurjaris battling for attention with the local streetside markets, handicrafts, and numerous big and small eateries and bazaars of the old town.

Ahmedabad, where all the autowallahs want to take you to Gandhi Ashram & then diversely to Akshardham – where in one case the man who wanted to  remove religion has become one  and in the other the man who wanted to simplify living is now caught in the complex web of institutionalization. What happens in the bid to turn a city around, to make its back into its front through the newly developed  Sabarmati riverfront and its walk ways that promise a new look at urban public spaces, albeit one which is part of a wish list of keeping up with the western world – that promise a Dubai in India, but which will take a lifetime of learning for the people to not throw their waste into the water.

Ahmedabad is one of the few cities in India which can boast of a consistent and relatively strong municipal governance model along with many development projects which have been envisaged with a long term vision for the city and the municipal authorities working on a public-private partnership model, involving design experts to develop urban solutions . The strong political will has also strengthened these initiatives over the years and the result is a fairly progressive and one of the fastest developing city of India.

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