Understanding our Cities!

Updated: Feb 12



Urban Heritage is an integral part of our cultural identity. Urban heritage which is a unique mix of tangible as well as intangible elements is a representation of our collective conscious. With rapid changes in our urban fabric, this unique heritage is under tremendous stress in recent years and there is a need for a conscious as well as intense approach towards documenting various elements which constitute the overall urban experience to the habitant. In order to do that, there is a need to carefully understand what are the elements which are essential to be documented in order to preserve the sense of belonging we have in these urban areas.

The tangibles

These are the elements which constitutes the physical nature of our cities. The streets, buildings, nodes, pavements, furniture, light polls and community spaces are the tangible parts of our sense of belonging. They act as an anchor as well as backdrop for all that happens in our cities. The nodes become the place for a street vendor to sell tea and the same spot becomes an anchor for people to have their conversation or for an elderly to wait for an auto or a bus for travelling.


Buildings becomes the anchor as well as visual identity of the urban area. They act as landmarks. They are point of reference for people to navigate themselves in an urban area. Religious architecture becomes a stage for people to express their faiths and beliefs. They also become places of congregation. Architecture plays a significant role in creating an identity of an urban area and gives people their sense of belonging. We explore various methods and techniques to measure and document the role of Architecture and all the other tangible elements in the creation of urban identity. The workshop focuses on different approach for different areas. We, with the help of associates as well as volunteers are in a continuous process of updating our knowledge pool for cities like Mumbai, Surat, Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Udupi, Udaipur, Delhi, Bhopal.


The Intangibles.


These are the hidden pieces which completes our experience in an urban area and are the key elements which completes our sense of belonging. These are beyond the realms of measurable. These are dynamic in nature and are constantly changing as well as evolving. The sound, the smell, the colours, the conversations, the animals, the food, all which are representation of our way of living. Documenting these is perhaps the most difficult aspect of documentation process and preservation of these is the most challenging part in urban conservation projects.



We are constantly trying to develop methods to document these elements and we teach young minds these techniques during the course of our workshop to expand their skill set with a hope that it will expand the very crucial efforts to document our cultural nuances.


In this series, we have conducted workshops as well as contextual studio (In collaboration with the Raman Bhakta School of Architecture, Surat).



Street Elevation of Pragpur Town in Himachal Pradesh.


Urban Level workshops are very intense and are ever evolving. We have periodic workshops at diverse locations. If you wish to conduct such workshop in your city/neighbourhood, you may contact us at workshops.urbanarch@gmail.com

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