Archive for October, 2008

PondyCAN! Did!

Gingee Bazaar Architectural Rendering

Pondicherry Citizens Action Network (PondyCAN!) has a rather ambitious agenda: to effectuate long-range, integrated regional master planning which will preserve, restore, and enhance this once-beautiful, rapidly despoiled, utterly unique heritage town and its surrounding natural resources, and place them within a small-radius network of symbiotic economic hubs. Some of our endeavors are far more modest, however. One recent effort involved dissuading the Pondicherry Municipality from constructing a massive concrete market block at the top of the central canal which divides the French and Tamil districts of the historic Boulevard Town.

The Public Works Department had designed and sent-for-bid an architecturally abominable, two-story, air conditioned, concrete structure to house the few dozen ragamuffin vendors who sell fruit, vegetables, flowers, and fish on what is now a patch of tree-shaded dirt ground at the same site. The PWD plan would have accommodated 120 vendors in a bloated footprint extending street-to-street-to-street-to-street, with neither footpaths nor parking areas. It would have visually and physically have choked on of the area’s few remaining open spaces.

Working with architects from the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), Pondy CAN! made a detailed study of the project and developed a new design for the proposed structure. With the help of our Legislative Assembly Member, we lobbied hard for the new plan, which incorporated open-walled, tiled-roofed, vernacular architecture and systems for recycling, collection of organic waste for composting, public toilets, and other public hygiene improvements. Our plan accommodates 60 vendors, physically separating the fish mongers from the fruit and vegetable sellers and providing segregated veg and non-veg wash facilities.

And we won!

The Government of Pondicherry has just announced that the new Gingee Bazaar, built according to our design, will commence construction next month.

Continue reading ‘PondyCAN! Did!’

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