Newspapers are all talking about the government announcing construction of a new adventure park, to boost the tourism of the town. The radio is blaring of the sprawling new apartment schemes, with all the facilities one can fancy under the moon. The construction of a huge mall and multiplex on my way to office is the zillionth reminder of “development” in my town, even before I begin my day at work.
But is it really development?
If we still relate to that poem about open farms and chirping birds, if our children look at the stars in the sky and wonder if we are in a planetarium, if we share pictures and videos about the “simple” life before technology over WhatsApp, email or any platform, if all the running our kids do is while playing temple run, then we are certainly doing something wrong. Really wrong.
While forming various communities online and sharing a little too much of our space, we are fast forgetting to share the community spaces. With our cities growing at lightning speed, we are overlooking the planning and execution of spaces where cultural and social interaction and exchange is bought upon.
In fact, the residences in earlier times were, in themselves, a beautiful interface of private and community space. Be it the verandah houses of our gaothans, the central courtyard of our chawls, there was a hierarchy of private, semi-private, semi-public, and public spaces. Now we are confined to our little box, the doors of which open to the sight of another closed door, beyond which we travel from way underground to way up in the sky. This reflects in our towns, with the diminishing green covers, and lack of public places.
It is time we understand that public spaces are very important for a healthy community. India is developing very quickly. Having said that a very large part of the country is still waiting to be developed. It isn’t too late for us to take matters in our hands, and plan for more social spaces, and create better public facilities.
As a country, we need to stop relying on and wait for the government to do something, while we sit and blame them for our current predicament. We at U+ Collective think that that is very old school, and now we as residents of this country have equal responsibility of our neighbourhood, of conserving our mother earth, of taking care of our resources, and doing all of this ourselves.
How, some may ask? Well, the new CSR laws, for one, are actually a great opportunity to give back to the society what we have earned from it. If each of us take this one chance and make a worthwhile insert in our urban/rural scape, a lot can be achieved in less than 5 years, that hasn’t really been in the last few decades.