The next fifty years: Eco-cyborg Chandigarh
Citation:Bogunovich, D. (1999, January). The next fifty years: Eco-cyborg Chandigarh. Paper presented at the conference "Chandigarh: Celebrating fifty years of the idea", Chandigarh.
Permanent link to Research Bank record:http://hdl.handle.net/10652/1956
There are good and bad things about Le Corbusier's plans and designs for Chandigarh. As we face the environmental and social uncertainties of the 21st century, it may be more productive to focus at the good things. The good things are; a well-intended utopian social vision, trust in the power of technology to make life better on mass scale, an understanding of the critical relationship between human and environmental health, and faith in the capacity of good design and planning to bring all these together. The paper proposes, that 50 years later, Chandigarh - and Indian urbanism altogether - need vision and optimism more than ever. Urban problems in India are somewhat different in nature, and certainly larger in scale. The issue of ecological sustainability of cities is pressing at all levels - Chandigarh, India. world. Urban sustainability is bound to become one of the key planetary issues in the next century. The encouraging side of this prospect is that the knowledge and the technological means to deal with urban ecology are abundant. There is hardly a better place in all of India than the existing Corbusian matrix of Chandigarh to start a pilot project on ecologically sound urban development. Corb's model of the city as a machine, just as his analogy with human organism, may be obsolete and crude, but they are not totally misplaced. The latest in the theory of sustainable urban development suggests that cities should indeed be viewed as organisms, with their metabolism integrated with the surrounding ecosystem. The latest in design theory suggests that architecture, and technology in general, are moving towards artificially intelligent and ecologically benign solutions. Cities of the 21st century will be neither machines, nor organisms, They will be ecologically friendly cyborgs. The urban eco-cyborg idea implies not only the mix of the electronic (digital) with the organic (biological), but also a peculiar mix of high-tech with low-tech. The India that is nearing year 2000 has both. Here lies another great historical chance for Chandigarh.