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‘RUrbanising’ Goa


Day two of the third edition of Z-Axis –the biennial conference organised by the Charles Correa Foundation saw architect Sanjay Prakash speak on the topic ‘Equitable and sustainable Urbanism, Goa in 2030’. The talk was held at the Kala Academy DKA Hall to a packed audience.

An architect with a commitment, energy-conscious architecture Prakash was part of a team that studied the capital city Panaji and presented a proposal titled Goa 2100 at the 22nd World Gas Conference in Tokyo. The project looked at planning from a ‘RUrban’ perspective – a method of sustainable development combining good quality living conditions, a successful economy, and sustainable use of resources and lesser waste generation for both the city as well as its rural surroundings. The aim of the proposal was to integrate urban and rural communities through infrastructure and the formation of symbiotic economic networks.

“By 2030 if the rate of rising waters continue, there will be a six inches rise in the sea and thus we would lose the Miramar beach, thus we need a better plan to facilitate the life of the city of Panaji,” he said. The goals of ‘RUrbanism’ should be sufficiency and equity. “While it is important to talk about sustainability, there has to be a way to come to a point where there are sufficient resources for a city to live,” he said.

He shared slides about the concentration of population in and around Panaji and pointed out that the city has a higher density around the main city area. “The concentration of Panaji is expected to be four fold in the coming years to 35 lakhs in 2030,” he said pointing out that the spread of the populated area will be more vertical than horizontal, as “urban sprawl is not possible in Goa today, because of the lack of cheap oil. Major cities have flourished because of the trade of oil and the routes (waterways) had become backbones around which these cities grew.”

Talking about the sustainability he also pointed out that a sustainable city has lesser emission, “and major emissions are caused by transport, thus it is ideal not to have a city that is sprawled out in the landscape. “To arrive at an ideal of a sustainable city, the per square kilometre should be multiplied by the kind of security they have,” he said. With that in mind he pointed out that three storey buildings are ideal for the Goan landscape because they provide the best security.

“The best transition would be to see a city as an ecosystem or a cell where forests and the city are working together,” he said pointing that the nuclei of cities can have a spine around which the more permanent (or taller) buildings are built and the other buildings are spread around this spine. “This comes in handy as the cities of the future will need to be knocked down to make way for better infrastructure. Thus the materials used will have to be more recyclable,” he said.

He also said that there is a need for Goa to have off shore and on shore windmills to produce energy. He concluded his talk by giving the audience an insight into achieving a sustainable city. “There is a need to change the way we work. There are six ways to promote a sustainable city. Use less. Grow your own. Build two-way networks. Store a lot. Transport less and exchange.”

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