Celebrating Public Spaces of India : Book Launch

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  • By: Anshuman Gupta
  • Posted on January,6 2017

It was a proud moment for The Foundation of Indian Cities (TFIC), on the launch of its first book titled ‘Celebrating Public Spaces of India’, co-authored by Archana Gupta and Anshuman Gupta, on 12 Oct at the India Habitat Centre, New Delhi.

For the authors, what started off as a six month long research project, turned into a extensive four year long research exercise of studying various aspects, typologies and patterns of public spaces across Indian Cities. The research efforts included extensive travel and exploration of various spaces, interaction with experts and collaborative studios across various parts of the country.

The making of this book on Public Spaces and Indian Cities, eventually sowed the seeds that brought the Foundation of Indian Cities into being.

The launch event was graced by the Venerable Guru, Shri Bhikku Sanghasena Ji and the highly distinguished Architect and academician, Prof. A.G.K Menon. Amidst applause and enthusiasm, the launch event was attended by an esteemed guest list comprising of senior Architects and academic fraternity of Delhi. Prof. A.G.K Menon, while addressing the gathering, emphasized on the need to understand Indian cities from a multi-dimensional Indian context and appreciated TFIC’s efforts to encourage and initiate research and dialogue towards a deeper understanding of Indian urbanism.

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The book attempts to look at Architecture and culture as a defining feature in the identity of Public spaces, and there influence on the evolving urbanism in Indian Cities. The focus has been to define an ‘Indian way of thinking’ and an ‘Indian Gaze’ to look at Indian Urban Public Spaces. Through a carefully curated list of vibrant landmarks from across India, the book analyses and highlights the functional-socio-cultural strength of Public spaces within the urban fabric of Indian cities.

Public spaces are the hubs of all social and cultural activities and of economic exchanges in our cities. Whether its a park for recreational activities for children and senior citizens, or a bazaar and market place where one undertakes economic transactions, or a city square or monument plaza one visits – each public place becomes both the foreground and backdrop of the many socio-cultural activities within the city.

Most of the time, any dialogue on Public spaces and Indian Cities becomes overtly critical and negatively biased, for the simple reason that the review parameters and reference benchmarks are mostly western. Such a direct and purely visual comparison becomes unfair to the Indian context, and hence, the authors wanted to re-define the gaze with which we look at Indian Cities, as the key focus of the book.

The idea of a ‘public space’ from an ‘India gaze’ is a starting point in a more detailed study of Indian Urbanism, and a lot more work needs to be undertaken and facilitated to better understand the layers and patterns of Indian cities and spaces and reveal their inherent beauty, that we mostly take for granted.

The book launch was followed by the launch of a short film-trailer of the book.

The book ‘Celebrating Public Spaces of India’ is a promising source to all budding architects, planners and academicians to delve into the study of this subject, and bring the focus on the Indian Urban Public Space. We at TFIC hope and pray that this book sees great success and adds value to the subject of contemporary Indian Architecture.

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Book available online at:
www.mapinpub.in,  www.amazon.in,  www.amazon.com,  www.flipkart.com

The trailer to the book for can be viewed on youtube at:

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