Envisioning Utopia with the strength of communities

Community, an integrated unit consisting of several fragments, all bound by singular synchronization, finds the core of its strength in the ‘scale’. Communities vary from the micro to macro scale and reflect different characteristics accordingly. While micro communities focus on the single ‘interest’, the macro communities focus on the various interests of several micro communities encompassed.

The general human tendency to focus and impart control over a certain defined area or a locality is what decides the scale of the community. When the control is infeasible, they shatter and break into fragments as smaller communities which are still under the network linkage of the parent community.

At an earlier scenario in India such as during the Indus Valley Civilization, an early community formed through geographic location, Social hierarchy was prevalent. While the entire community served for the overall development of the city through walled protected area and well defined drainage systems, the smaller communities bound by social order through occupation served for a specific interest. The organization pattern among these communities was achieved through grid planning layout. This in turn lead to creation of ‘the places of interest’ that were specific to the communities, such as the courtyards that were the workplace nodes for the people of the same occupation.

Here, the need for workplace led to the creation of ‘Courtyards’ and the need for the lifestyle of the entire population lead to the creation of the public places such as the ‘Great Bath’, ’Granary’ etc.

With the development of cities over time, mass immigration and emigration happened. Occupational interests became prevalent and people started moving towards the cities. The villages retained the traditional communal nature while the cities saw the coming of a new age. The higher concentration of population raised the need for organization patterns that made small fragmented communities function within themselves while simultaneously building linkage to the parent community (City).

Here, the organization transformed from being static to dynamic due to the higher people-movement-pattern governed primarily by occupational interests. This dynamism in turn reflected on creation of ‘places of interest’ that were dynamic by themselves. Emergence of transitional spaces started happening that sufficed the diverse users.

Day to night transformation of Coney Island, Brooklyn         Photo Courtesy: Stephen Wilkes
Day focuses over the shore activities while the night focuses on entertainment in the Square.

Emergence of mixed use buildings, the majorly dynamic spaces, saw a high fluctuation in user movement. IT parks, retails etc. that got the ‘night life’ happening in the city, demanded the coming of spaces that would cater to the night population’s need amidst serving a different day-purpose. Similarly. Co-working spaces have been currently trending by opening up to the increasing startup organizations that could afford and function over shared spaces. Thus, newer architectural space solutions emerged.

The space organization pattern at Synergia Co-working space in Uruguay Ref: Archdaily

In the newly developing sub-urban fabrics, introduction of voids through the creation of community spaces such as Parks, lakefront developments bring interaction amongst the community. This helps in local environmental protection such as restoration & conservation of significant places that would reflect on the healthy atmosphere in the developing locality. As a part of open space developments, several street furniture are introduced that regulate the human concentration. This ensures safety in the locality with protection against theft, vandalism etc. Furthermore, the user interaction strengthens the community relationship, thus resulting in creation of more ‘places of interest’.

Vision to successful execution of Lake development & restroration at Chetpet Eco park, Chennai Ref: The Hindu

The various ‘places of interest’ and their linkage network strengthen the large community at a macro level perspective, thus creating a cumulative healthy environment in the city. The futuristic city must track the morphogenesis of the community-space relationships and meet & grow with the dynamic population to be ‘the Utopia’.


Akshaya Muralikumar

Architect of Thoughts-Passionate human being looking for the essence in user experiences. Because, perception matters.

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