(A) study on Place Identity of Built Heritage with respect to Contemporary Urban Expansion

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India is rich in its cultural heritage and has a distinct identity because of it. India has an advantage for development as a tourism destination due to its vast natural and cultural landscape. The cultural heritage includes both tangible and intangible aspects. The tangible cultural heritage focuses on historic built environments, which need to be conserved to restore the place identity of the cities that have it. Usually, these built structures are well-known 'elite' memorials. Old buildings, pavements, walls, alleys, and other lesser-known landmarks or structures still underutilized are rarely considered for conservation. As a result, they are renovated or eliminated as needed, obliterating important information about historical urban streetscapes in the process. It is established through the study that architectural elements contribute to a sense of place and create a strong place identity. It is also found that the residents of a place prefer to maintain their architectural identity during its expansion. The study looks at the possibility of identifying visual architectural elements of Indian cities with repute that contribute to their place identity. Visual features may be used directly during urban growth by replicating the existing architectural features or abstracting the elements that create identity. Crude replication or thoughtful abstraction are the two concepts investigated here and tested through site study. The site study is done through a questionnaire survey in two different regions of the country to include cultural differences in context. The main argument presented in the study is that a place's architecture contributes to its identity and must be maintained during urban expansion. To maintain this identity, one must choose between replicating or abstracting visual features depending upon the residents' perception. The proposal contains suggestions to be included in the bye-laws for future expansion and the Smart City Proposal to restore the identity of heritage built environments.
Supervisor: Chakrabarti, Debkumar
Place Identity, Urban Design, Urban Architectural Identity, Indian Heritage