Saturday, December 12, 2015

Chandigarh Diaries

"Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe" Abraham Lincoln
See how subtly Abe Lincoln told us about the importance of planning. India is a colorful country and having traveled across its length and breadth, I claim to have seen many of its colors. Probably if our founding fathers listened to Abe Lincoln, they could have 'created' far better color combinations that what we have today. 

A prime example of a planned-colorful Indian city. Having visited Chandigarh on many occasions I always admired its network of roads. But its not only its road network, but the entire city seems to be a futuristic event planned by Le Corbusier and his team.  Just to give you a glimpse of what Chandigarh means, it is a city with third highest forest cover across the country. 

Imagine driving cruising along the pothole-free roads in a city while every road divider is made of wild green trees playing hide and seek with the skyline. That is Chandigarh. 



The vision of Le Corbusier and also the political powers that be who thought of building the first Indian planned city certainly deserve to be called #MadeOfGreat. 

This city drives you crazy. No, not the way it drives you crazy in Bangalore or Hyderabad. The traffic is planned, the roads are constantly monitored by a huge pool of traffic constables. Nobody is over-speeding here because you just can't. City drive limits have been fixed at 60kmph in the day time. Nobody shoots high beam head light in your face. Anyway, why would you need high beam when the entire road network is powered with solar lit panels?

Arguably the greatest visionary of our times, Steve Jobs believed that design is not what is just looks and feels like but design is how it works. Chandigarh is a prime example of perfectly designed artwork that not only looks good but works just as good.  It boasts to be one of the few cities in our country that have completely solar paneled offices. Not one but three. We have heard of the concept of twin cities but this Chandigarh design takes it one step ahead and enables it to be connected seamlessly with two more cities. See, I told you this design feels good- works good. 

With a population of more than 2 million (tri-city) if this city still boasts to be a planned city, it surely is appropriately connected. The traffic signals don't fail here. People don't drive as if they are participating in hell race. With two IT Parks of formidable size and many other industries dispersed all across the city, Chandigarh is certainly a well managed and a connected city. Unlike other cities in India, you don't have to stop at every junction and look for people telling you directions. There are milestones, maps and boards all across the city. At every junction and there must be over 100 such junctions. 


If Chandigarh model can be replicated all across the country, our country would certainly its lost glory which we often hear on TV debates that once belonged to us. 
And no city is great if not for its people. To quote the visionary artist Walt Disney, " You can design and create the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality."

No comments: