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Environment and Ecology

environment - ecology - nature - habitat - gaia - permaculture - systems - sustainability ...

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Home Human Settlements
HUMAN SETTLEMENTS

Goodbye Gandhi Bazaar: what do we destroy when we demolish illegal structures?

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Goodbye Gandhi Bazaar: what do we destroy when we demolish illegal structures?

A hundred-year-old street market in Bangalore was demolished in the dead of night last month. The colourful stalls of vendors spilling out onto the streets were illegal encroachments, but how much history and local colour is lost by enforcing the law now after so many years of peaceful coexistence?

Gandhi Bazaar

Some of the fruit and vegetable stalls that occupied the footpath of the Gandhi Bazaar in Bangalore until last month, when the Greater Bangalore Municipal Corporation ordered its demolition overnight. Photo: Charles Haynes (Flickr: haynes)

What are the memories that stay with you when you first visit a city? Sure, the restaurants, nightclubs, clean and pristine public spaces, malls, the highways, the celebrity sightings etc. are fantastic and they enhance a tourist's experience of a culture in innumerable and valuable ways.

But often the memories that we really cherish and share with our kin or on Facebook are much less glamourous but priceless nevertheless. An exquisitely flavoured kaati roll which cost less than a dollar, a runaway-price Fendi knock-off bought on the street, the colours of a bustling local farmer's market, the sights and smells of city trade on the eve of a festival.

These are moments which allow us to experience a city's quintessential indigenous character in a way that a mall, a club or a highway never could. For me, a city's historical local shopping markets are one such asset which creates an ecosystem of entertainment, commerce and convenience which not only serves residents well, but over time builds collective memory and local character.

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BEGINNING READINGS ON SPACE SYNTAX

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BEGINNING READINGS ON SPACE SYNTAX

Compiled by

Saif Haq, College of Architecture, Texas Tech University

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What is Space Syntax

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The term space syntax encompasses a set of theories and techniques for the analysis of spatial configurations. Originally it was conceived by Bill Hillier, Julienne Hanson and colleagues at The Bartlett, University College London in the late 1970s to early 1980s as a tool to help architects simulate the likely social effects of their designs.

Thesis

The general idea is that spaces can be broken down into components, analyzed as networks of choices, then represented as maps and graphs that describe the relative connectivity and integration of those spaces. It rests on three basic conceptions of space:

  • an isovist (popularised by Michael Benedikt at University of Texas), or viewshed or visibility polygon, the field of view from any particular point
  • axial space (idea popularized by Bill Hillier at UCL), a straight sight-line and possible path, and
  • convex space (popularized by John Peponis and his collaborators at Georgia Tech), an occupiable void where, if imagined as a wireframe diagram, no line between two of its points goes outside its perimeter, in other words, all points within the polygon are visible to all other points within the polygon.
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Green pilgrim cities

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Green pilgrim cities

Amritsar

The vision is of pilgrims on all continents and the pilgrim cities that receive them, leaving a positive footprint on the Earth.


Download the Green Pilgrim Cities leaflet HERE (File size 6.2 MB) 

The Network will inspire Pilgrims to:

  • prepare mindfully for their pilgrimage... 
  • walk lightly and travel responsibly in the spirit of their faith... 
  • choose sustainable tourist agencies... 
  • eat and drink sustainably and ethically... 
  • minimise their waste and water use... 
  • dispose of their rubbish... and pick up after others... 
  • support a fund to green the city they are visiting... 
  • help local people in ecologically sensitive activities... 
  • share the art of green pilgrimage with the people they meet on the way...
  • bring greener ideas for living home with them...
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Gobekli Tepe: The World’s First Temple?

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Gobekli Tepe: The World’s First Temple?

Predating Stonehenge by 6,000 years, Turkey's stunning Gobekli Tepe upends the conventional view of the rise of civilization

By Andrew Curry

Göbeklitepe - Klaus SchmidtSix miles from Urfa, an ancient city in southeastern Turkey, Klaus Schmidt has made one of the most startling archaeological discoveries of our time: massive carved stones about 11,000 years old, crafted and arranged by prehistoric people who had not yet developed metal tools or even pottery. The megaliths predate Stonehenge by some 6,000 years. The place is called Gobekli Tepe, and Schmidt, a German archaeologist who has been working here more than a decade, is convinced it's the site of the world's oldest temple.

"Guten Morgen," he says at 5:20 a.m. when his van picks me up at my hotel in Urfa. Thirty minutes later, the van reaches the foot of a grassy hill and parks next to strands of barbed wire. We follow a knot of workmen up the hill to rectangular pits shaded by a corrugated steel roof—the main excavation site. In the pits, standing stones, or pillars, are arranged in circles. Beyond, on the hillside, are four other rings of partially excavated pillars. Each ring has a roughly similar layout: in the center are two large stone T-shaped pillars encircled by slightly smaller stones facing inward. The tallest pillars tower 16 feet and, Schmidt says, weigh between seven and ten tons. As we walk among them, I see that some are blank, while others are elaborately carved: foxes, lions, scorpions and vultures abound, twisting and crawling on the pillars' broad sides.

Schmidt points to the great stone rings, one of them 65 feet across. "This is the first human-built holy place," he says.

From this perch 1,000 feet above the valley, we can see to the horizon in nearly every direction. Schmidt, 53, asks me to imagine what the landscape would have looked like 11,000 years ago, before centuries of intensive farming and settlement turned it into the nearly featureless brown expanse it is today.

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