“There in itself. A hindrance designed by the

“There are constraints on
the human mind, walls around the human spirit, and Barriers to our growth which we erect ourselves”.

ABSTRACT:

CITY OF BARRIERS- that
unites and divides a city under the shadow of high rise tracks and with spaces
which are defined by the sharp edged fence or high concrete walls. Before, the
city was kept in the walls but now every space itself is bounded by the
barriers of structural elements. City is creating hindrance in itself. A
hindrance designed by the physical barriers which are actually triggered by the
mental barriers. This has changed the character of the city both aesthetically
and environmentally. Therefore, barriers became the part of city growth by
segregating the urban poor community spatially and socially from elite.
However, the idea is to create a platform of interaction for neglected
community which can reduce the barriers and can strengthen cultural values,
build community character, sense of ownership by enhancing community engagement and
participation, improving
economic strength.

INTRODUCTION:

Looking Lahore, at the time
of Mughal Empire when city got enveloped through a long brick wall calling it
as “walled city”, when it got caught by the first physical barrier. City got
divided into two parts in colonial period, calling it a “Dual city”. This new city
took birth when British neglected walled city and neglected that area, creating
mental barriers of not being up to their standards and not having such
expertise that can sustain them towards a better living. These divisions
started to become the part of city growth that today every planned community
like DHA, formed a physical barrier that is wrapped around at its edges
creating a rigid boarder and neglects the community of charar pind, surviving
on the other side of it, who is sustaining them.

The idea here is “to break the barriers between two
opposing forces by uplifting the community of urban poor” in the city so
that a harmony can be regenerated like it was before in walled city. So the
area which is chosen is in charar pind near DHA. The reason of choosing this
area is because this village came into existence at the time of Mughals when
residents earn their living by farming on the huge land around the village. But
years after all the farm lands were taken by the DHA and village got enclosed
by the DHA residents, forming a sharp boundary wall around the periphery of the
village. Now at every entering point of the village which links to DHA area has
barriers that is placed by the DHA authority and the village residents are not
allowed to use any open space in DHA, which is only accessible for the DHA
residents. This idea can challenge and invent commercial identity
in that space where they can prosper and thrive with dignity and can learn more
from the audience which help them communicate across socio-economic lines and
can participate in these spaces
at various levels of skill and engagement.

Further the idea has been formulated into three
different aspects in the form of three chapters in which, first chapter is for how
spatial and social barriers can be reduced and can build character, second on how
programmatic activities in a space benefits a community to be more stable
socially and economically and can re-generate the lost awareness of sustainable
development and
third is how
the border between two communities can be transformed through architecture of
empowerment?

  “BUILD
COMMUNITY CHARACTER”

·      
How spatial and social barriers can be
reduced and can build character of the community?

City is first and foremost designed
for humans but unfortunately it is only for the rich whereas poor are
neglected. This marginalization happened when both the social and spatial needs
of the poor were disregarded to entertain the rich1. Constructing a building for
such communities people will enhance their rights to the city and will build
their community character because it is the role of architect to design in such
spaces that becomes a challenge to address the inequalities in the city2.

A similar condition has been
seen in Sao Paulo, Brazil that a community Paraisopolis marked with sharp
spatial and social in-equality because of the fear of crime and violence. City formed
fortified enclaves which turned out to form boarder segregating the lower community.
In reaction to this, community played an important role by raising their
character. They chose medium of expression to raise their voice. Some express
through graffiti on the walls and others through words like hip-hop rapping.3 On the other hand architects
played a vital role to reduce the crime in that area that is by proposing
“Grotao community center” by an organization Urban Think-Tank. Its aims and
objectives were to expand music and cultural programs in the area that can form
new networks which will serve the youth from all levels of society. Its core
idea was to enable connection between the opposing forces of top-down planning
and to initiate bottom-up approach by architects. They created a common ground
for both communities so that the idea can eliminate divisions and can generate
productive interactions.4

Another scenario was found
under such circumstances that is in Nairobi, Kenya where a marginalized
community exists in Kibera which lies between spatial and social
discrimination. As they weren’t allowed to live within the city so they started
to live on the peripheries due to which the area considered to be unsafe.5 Crime rate in Kibera was
very high because of un-employment so in order to reduce that factor there was
an initiative taken by Kilimanjaro organization to upgrade the Silanga sports
field into “Silanga sports complex”. They in cooperate with silanga community
and did a survey of 350 residents before and after the implementation. Before
the project, crime rate was 78% and after its completion area was rated as 89%
safe. Its objectives were to make a safe public space with the idea of
activating youth into it and enhancing community engagement that was focused by
giving sports and cultural programs in it.6

To build a community
character it is important to have tangible and in tangible elements in the
building that some of them can be referred in the discussed projects above.
This can enhance community identity by giving it a unique meaning and value. This
underlies the physical and social forms of the community and helps to explore
the context and embrace and encourage community’s diversity.7      

“SOCIO-ECONOMIC
STABILITY”

·      
How programmatic activities in a space benefits
a community to be more stable socially and economically and can re-generate the
lost awareness of sustainable development?

In
early twentieth century, medium of architecture was used to reform the urban
living and societies around the world by the architects and planners. But the
idea of making modern cities they forgot the climatic, economic, geographical,
socio-political and technological differences which forms the type of
architecture called as shanty towns, squatter settlements and slums in
different urban and rural centers as these areas were formed due to instability
of social and economic factors. Taking in account the example of Chandigarh in
India that was made by the Le Corbusier as a modern city and on its peripheries
shanty towns were developed simultaneously by the workers. It was discussed as
absence or lack in literature but not referred as emergent “parallel modernism”
differentiated by economic and socio-political class and skills.8

The
reason for the criticism of the architecture of unprivileged classes was the
aesthetics and modes of construction and more over the architectural profession
turning towards the rich. This leads to the concept of sustainable development
in reopening the doors to the lost opportunities. Those reopen doors are places
where architecture can flourish by learning from the skills of poor and
participating in reconstruction of those neighborhood. As history shows how
urban poor who built their own homes participated in the invention of the
concepts that are called sustainable design by experimenting different
recyclable materials. It is architects job that to implement the lessons
learned from the past in today’s modern world which shows the contributions
made by urban poor in field of space making. 8

One
of the Indian social activist Bunker Roy worked for the cause of education as a
key strategy for urban poor but not degree based. It is just to alleviate rural
poverty lies within the communities. His approach was inspired by Gandhi’s
philosophy of sustainable development, self-government and non-violence9. He established a
“Barefoot college” in which there are three phases; first ‘selection’ in which they
take illiterate and semi-literate people from the lowest castes those belongs
to most remote and inaccessible villages in India, second is ‘training’ that is
to train them at their own pace by becoming water engineers, solar engineers,
architects, teachers and communicators and third is ‘propagation’ that if they
are once trained these villagers work within their own communities so they
become less dependent. One of his sectors
is
on solar energy which involves 21st century science with traditional
knowledge that teaches home lightning systems, solar lanterns and cookers. All
solar panels are installed, maintained and repaired by village people.10 As Bunker Roy says
“Strengthen the rural area and you will find less people migrating to urban
areas. You give them opportunity, self-respect and self-confidence, they will
never go to urban slum”.11

Another
vocational center in Karachi was encountered that is “Health oriented preventive
education” (H.O.P.E.) which provides learning opportunities for young girls and
boys by teaching them computer classes, English language classes which are
income generating activities and empower women of urban poor in society.12

Community’s
socio-economic stability will elevate the quality of life, improve its ability
to attract economic activities as mentioned above and creates atmosphere for
innovations. This can be important for employment and maintenance of a skilled
and educated labor force which increases attention, visitors and step towards
development.13

“ARCHITECTURAL EMPOWERMENT”

·       How
the ‘Border’ between two communities can be transformed through architecture of
empowerment?

The
absence of community links and the lack of concern for the needs of the various
community members are all part of the disempowering system today. The challenge
that faces the architects is to recognize and deal with the needs of the poor
as they would those of the rich. So is it possible for architects to design in
a way that increases the empowerment of people and communities? The type of
architecture that they require is one of empowerment; one that encourages their
incremental inputs, that sees building more as process than as product. The
community that is self-sufficient emphasize themselves in practically every
society, seeking greater voice and greater power. Similarly worldwide there are
increasing inequities between societies and within societies.13

 

This
requires to respond to the needs of the poor by allowing them for participation
which is the cause of ‘community architecture’2.
The architecture that focuses on process to blur the boundaries between
communities and forms community development13.
On the contrary, the government needs to relate its work to the NGO projects in
infrastructure development and health, education and credit programs because
without such connections its own programs cannot work. This interaction between
government and NGO participatory development projects is forcing changes in
government perception and planning at the local level. Participatory planning
in practice is emerging at government level and as a result of this interaction
than any policy decision or setting up of pilot projects by the government. As
architect Perween Rahman, director of the Research and Training Institute of
the Orangi Pilot Project, says: ‘Things can only work if governments
participate in people’s programs and not if people are asked to participate in
government programs. OPP considers itself a research institution whose objective is to
analyze the most pressing problems in Orangi, and to discover practical
solutions. It does not carry out development work but promotes community
organizations and co-operative action and provides technical support to such
initiatives. It operates programs for low-cost sanitation and housing, health
and family planning, education, supervised for small family enterprise units, and
women’s work centers that came in front due to community participation2.
Lee valley Millennium center in Liverpool aims to examine the participation
process as carried out by organization which has been active in this field. To
examine the difference in the process of participation carried out by
architects13.

The
positive outcome of this is when communities take charge of their own destinies
they improve social bond and empower themselves. The ability of the community
is to take control of the physical space between buildings that is the public
space, not just the home, which is the central part of the architecture of
empowerment2.

CONCLUSION:

“Therefore, urban poor possessed the
right to a designed place in a city, one they can call theirs, where they can
prosper and thrive with dignity”. The idea that responds to
the issue addressed above is a “Communal Active Space” conceived as contextual
response because there is no such space that is for the social interaction of
people living in these communities. So proposing a space which is communally
active can make the surroundings safer and will engage community to participate
in this space. Where they can make their own decisions and will create sense of
ownership2. Whereas the structure
itself becomes there architectural representation which empowers them spatially
and socially.                                                                                     

         

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1 Lefebvre, Henri.
Writing on cities. Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishers, 1999

2 Serageldin, Ismail.
The architecture of empowerment: people, shelter and livable cities. London:
Academy, 1997

3 “Worlds Set
Apart.” En Gb. Accessed December 13, 2017. https://lsecities.net/media/objects/articles/worlds-set-apart/en-gb/

4 “Urban think
tank: grotão fábrica de música.” Designboom | architecture & design
magazine. April 04, 2012. Accessed December 13, 2017. https://www.designboom.com/architecture/urban-think-tank-grotao-fabrica-de-musica/

5 Kuo,
Lily. “Drone photography captures the dramatic inequality of
Nairobi.” Quartz. November 25, 2016. Accessed December 13, 2017. https://qz.com/846027/drone-photos-capture-the-dramatic-inequality-of-nairobis-neighborhoods/

 

6 Vukpejzaz. “P
for Public Space, Kibera, Nairobi, Kenya.” Participation Dictionary.
December 05, 2014. Accessed December 05, 2017. https://participationdictionary.wordpress.com/2014/04/25/p-for-public-space-kibera-nairobi-kenya/

7 “The Role of the
Arts and Culture in Planning Practice.” American Planning Association.
Accessed December 13, 2017. https://www.planning.org/research/arts/briefingpapers/overview.htm

8 Elleh, Nnamdi.
Reading the architecture of the underprivileged classes: a perspective on the
protests and upheavals in our cities. Farnham: Ashgate, 2014.

8 Elleh, Nnamdi.
Reading the architecture of the underprivileged classes: a perspective on the
protests and upheavals in our cities. Farnham: Ashgate, 2014.

9 “Barefoot
College.” Skoll. Accessed December 13, 2017.

 http://skoll.org/organization/barefoot-college/

10
“Category:
Bunker Roy.” Barefoot College. Accessed December 13, 2017. https://www.barefootcollege.org/category/bunker-roy/

11
Parimal
M. Rohit, Special to India-West. “Cross ‘Barrier of Illiteracy’ With
Technology: Bunker Roy.” India West. June 18, 2014. Accessed December 13,
2017.

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 Serageldin, Ismail.
The architecture of empowerment: people, shelter and livable cities. London:
Academy, 1997

 

12 HOPE
NGO. “Award Ceremony.” HOPE NGO – Health Oriented Preventive
Education. Accessed December 05, 2017. http://hope-ngo.com/Home.aspx

13 Forsyth,
Leslie, and Paul Jenkis. Architecture, participation and society. New York:
Routledge, 2010

2  Serageldin, Ismail. The architecture of
empowerment: people, shelter and livable cities. London: Academy, 1997

13 Forsyth,
Leslie, and Paul Jenkis. Architecture, participation and society. New York:
Routledge, 2010

 

 

 

.

2  Serageldin, Ismail. The architecture of
empowerment: people, shelter and livable cities. London: Academy, 1997