Cricket Uncut

A group blog run by professional cricket writers from across the world

Saturday, March 05, 2005

The city with space

It has been fashionable for decades now to speak of Chandigarh as an example of urban design gone wrong. Le Corbusier’s immaculately planned city, critics say, does not reflect the culture of its people; it is supposedly lifeless and impersonal. Well, I was born here, in this city where the streets have no name, and I love the place.

The functionality of the design of a city, I believe, comes from what it enables its residents to do. Chandigarh allows its citizens to breathe. This is a city of space: the roads are wide open, the houses are big, there are many parks and gardens, and it is designed in such a way that slums and squatters cannot possibly come up here. Thus, no urban congestion, or traffic jams, or long commutes.

The main marketplace of the city, the city centre as it were, Sector 17, is a delight to stroll down. There are lots of people, and they all have lots of space. And they all enjoy themselves and feel at home. Left-wing academicians love to decry Le Corbusier’s industrial-scale design, and his belief in modernity, but the people of Chandigarh, from what I can make out, love it. Every time I visit here from Mumbai, I feel like my lungs can finally do what they were designed to do. Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale. (And stop panting while you check out the hot Chandigarh chicks, you silly fool, you’re married. Breathe properly.)
amit varma, 11:43 PM| email this to a friend | permalink | homepage