A little space for democracy : finding place for (and among) youth driven social change in Chennai, India
1University of Oulu, Oulu School of Architecture, Architecture
|Online Access:||PDF Full Text (PDF, )|
|Persistent link:|| http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:oulu-201510132060
|Publish Date:|| 2015-10-14
|Thesis type:||Master's thesis (tech)
A country of 1.2 billion people. More than 800 million voters. The world’s largest democracy. Despite these fascinating facts, contemporary Indian politics in reality is considered a murky field with which only a select few dare to engage. Architecture has served these powerful through history, by helping erect monuments that capture the leaders’ influence over the inhabitants and the inhabited. A generation of youngsters, often highly educated, technologically savvy, and fiercely enthusiastic, is questioning the status quo characterized by corrupt politics and inefficient administration. By working towards a better society, while bypassing the traditional party based political system, an endeavour is being made to wipe out the pervasive sense of helplessness. These youth have found innovative ways of collaborating towards positive social change, instead of waiting for conventional approaches to bear fruit. Education, employment, health care, transportation — few sectors have been left untouched by this wave of youngsters in their 20s and 30s who are thirsty for a more equitable society. What can architecture do to support this laudable development? If it can reinforce the existing power structure, it can surely help question in too? ‘A Little Space for Democracy’ is an attempt to recast the architect as an active participant within the realm of youth driven and community focused social change movements in urban India. A neighbourhood in Chennai, a city of 10 million inhabitants, is used as a test case to discover the contribution that architecture can make towards such initiatives’ continued success. Departing from an understanding of the current socio political context through theoretical research and on-site observations, proposals are made at three levels: 1. neighbourhood level visionary (urban strategy), which encompasses: 2. local level permanent (public building architecture) 3. local level temporary (frameworks for improvised design).
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