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Uncovering the transformation of the urban socio-spatial network, actuated by riverfront development: The case of Ahmedabad’s Sabarmati Riverfront
In the last decade the Indian subcontinent has seen unprecedented urbanization and a unique political situation. As cities often become models to project certain identities, one such case has been taken up here to understand this phenomenon through a recent urban intervention. The Sabarmati Riverfront development project has been a landmark in urban design in contemporary India as it is an instance where political agenda is furthered through an urban design project. The study analyses how this project altered the city’s relationship with its river by altering the spatial structure of the city itself. It then proceeds to examine how the project performs on its goals of creating inclusive public space for the city. The spatial structure of the city and the alternations to it by the project, are described using a spatial network analysis based in Space Syntax theories and methods. The shift in centralities (from before to after the SRFD)are observed in conjunction with what is known from other layers of geo-located data such as ward wise population densities, point of interest clusters, observed movement counts and public transportation network. Based on this information the study examines to what extent the riverfront is integrated into, and hence accessible to, the city of Ahmedabad. The analysis highlights the major difference in the performance of the 4 project at global(city wide)scale versus a local(walk able distance) scale, suggesting a need for better integration into the local context, this is corroborated by the network catchment from the nearest public transportation nodes. The findings also hint at a problematic private vehicle centric approach to urban design. These examinations of the riverfront’s accessibility specify where and how it underperforms socially as an inclusive and vibrant public centre. The attempt here is to identify the potentials for improving the performance of the riverfront as a public space in itself as well as its effect on the spatial structure of of the city. In this light some speculative design strategies are tested.

Shared with the World by Elangkathir Duhindan

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