Building Resilient Cities, Anant National University, Ahmedabad, Ajay Piramal, AnantU, Urban Affairs, Government officials, Umamaheshwaran Rajasekar, MN Ashish Ganju

Anant National University encourages young architects to build resilient cities

The university's three-day workshop encouraged budding architects and designers to tackle issues plaguing modern cities

Nestled in the vibrant city of Ahmedabad in a lush green campus is Anant National University – a whole world dedicated to design. Led by Ajay Piramal, AnantU is all about nurturing revolutionary thinkers with a solution oriented mindset. With a view to incite professionals, academicians, government officials and students towards resilient urban solutions, the university hosted a three-day event - Building Resilient Cities - comprising a hands-on workshop and panel discussion.  

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Held in association with the Urban Resilience Unit within the National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA), the workshop aimed at educating the participants about key efforts being made at all levels (global, national, and local) and across social, economic and environmental resilience. The maestros at AnantU believe that rapid urbanisation, the burgeoning issues in the city, and its global complexities are increasing and exposing cities to shocks and stresses. In an attempt to equip future architects and designers to work around this change, participants were divided into two teams to strategise projects on two different levels – neighbourhood and city. The groups were expected to assess the shocks and stresses and suggest strategic design interventions to overcome them while also addressing the city’s vision.

Both the teams worked around interesting strategies, for instance, at neighbourhood-level, a hierarchy of open spaces and green infrastructure was proposed, making it walkable and accessible to all. These green spaces were located at the junction to spill over to the roads, which also form an integral component of the public realm in the city. Meanwhile, the city-level proposal were more focussed on preparing the city for future shocks by relocating the industrial areas, rejuvenating the heritage areas, and environmental safeguard with respect to protecting the waterbody. The proposal also looked at possible strategies for the economic development of the city by allocating an area for an IT Hub and SEZ. “Looking at the minds of these innovators, it is safe to say that the future is in great hands,” mentioned the organisers.

The event concluded with a panel discussion including experts such as MN Ashish Ganju, senior architect, urbanist and academician; PL Sharma, chief town planner, GTPVD, Government of Gujarat; Dr Umamaheshwaran Rajasekar, chair Urban Resilience, NIUA; and Dr Suresh Rohilla, programme director, Center for Science and Environment. The panel discussed the challenges across various verticals like social cohesion, environment, institutional framework, etc. towards building resilience in a city. The experts concluded the event by reviewing the design interventions conceptualised by the participants.

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