Chennai

Map of the Week- Chennai’s Hidden Waste

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Chennai Wastes
Graphic Map showing state of Solid Waste management in Chennai. Where does your waste go?

Apart from 5000T/day of waste transported outside the city, 1250T fall out of the system and remain uncollected inside Chennai. This solid waste is unceremoniously dumped inside the 3 riverbodies of Chennai- Cooum River, Adayar River, and Buckingham canal. Cooum River flows through the commercial and industrial areas of Chennai, collecting 750MT of solid waste every day. The river banks of Cooum are home to 16000 encroachments and slums that bear the brunt of the city’s negligence towards Cooum.


Every city needs to be explored, mapped and drawn! Hashtag Urbanism presents “Map your City”– an Open-source Archive of maps of Chennai done over the years by students and professionals of Architecture. To contribute, send your maps to hashtagurbanism@gmail.com. Be a part of this movement! Let’s map our cities!


Revitalization of Abandoned Quarry, Chennai

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The industrial revolution provided us with the engineering and power necessary to make profound economic and social change. However, with this unprecedented growth and new found prosperity, an abuse of natural resources and our environment initiated a trajectory of unforeseeable consequences. Today, we are leaving our historically wasteful and turbulent manufacturing economy in favor of a seemingly more stable and mainstream digitally driven era. With this, we are seeing the massive areas of disrupted land that once stood to represent the height of innovation and success appearing as abandoned wastelands all over the world. With the quest to redevelop these areas lies the opportunity to re-imagine the definition of public space and green infrastructure.

This thesis takes a critical eye to previous and current design strategies of industrial landscapes and identifies new typologies relevant within this construct. Using a Gravel quarry with abandoned area as its site, this thesis proposes a master plan to reclaim, restore, and reuse the quarry as an alluring recreational green space for the surrounding community. In seeking a redefinition of the urban park, this thesis argues that a new type of cultural parkland is needed that envelope structures, that conversed and ground that responds to 21st century living.

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Ecological evolution of the Quarry
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Careful analysis of Site conditions was carried out to assess its potential.

This proposal uses a series of architectural interventions to respond to sites visual character and fill the recreational needs of the community. How can a forward looking architecture acknowledge a surrounding context defined by its past? This thesis aims to capture the knowledge of previous violent enterprise, physical industrial remnants, topographic qualities of a Quarried landscape, and the character of the surrounding community in order to fuse architecture with its industrial surroundings. Through this entwined relationship of architecture and its surrounding landscape the project is able to provide unique amenities that embrace the quarry’s industrial heritage. The proposal sees what has been abandoned not as waste, but as an opportunity to redefine the cultural park in order to create dynamic and engaging spaces.

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Zoomed in segment of the plan (Refer attached document for better viewing)

 

“The modern park is no longer seen as a quiet rural green, but as a sparkling and overcharged urban crossroads” – AdriaanGeuze

 

Creating the Urban Landscape of tomorrow

The evolution of industries in the last quarter of the 21st century has been characterised by the abandonment of industrial areas. This trend is ongoing and is pushing rapidly toward urban areas. With this, cities are confronting change by reprogramming these postindustrial spaces, and people are changing their aesthetic sensibilities and attitudes toward natural and man-made environments.

By redefining these sites as public green space, we can capture the unique qualities and benefits of their industrial past to provide green infrastructure that hosts new architectural opportunities and amenities for its surrounding community. The recreational services provided by these sites will have both environmental and social benefits. The parks of tomorrow will become the basis of a thriving metropolitan culture. Parks implemented in these post-industrial areas will allow for shared experiences that give rise to mutual respect in the community and act as landmarks within our cities that represent growth and prosperity the way their previous industrial nature once did.

This thesis accepts the challenge that lies in incorporating natural processes into architectural interventions and looks to the land itself to identify design opportunities. The form and content of the pavilions and constructed landscape is developed through historical traces, local associations, indigenous plants, and regional materials in order to provide a new form of public space, while simultaneously embracing the identity of the monumental landscape defined by man.

Periswamy says, “My thesis is a conversation…. Not a silent one but a celebration of the gorgeous laid down mass – THE QUARRY”

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This publication is a collaboration between Hashtag Urbanism and Nikhil Sriram Periaswamy, based on his Undergraduate Design Thesis, “Revitalisation of Abandoned Quarry, Chennai.”, compiled in the document below. (Zoom in to the document to view the beautiful detailing of the spaces.)

 


Institution – MEASI Academy of Architecture, Chennai.

Review Members – Prof. Priya Sasidharan, Prof. Sachidanandam, Ar. Aravind Rangan (Aravind Varuna Associates)
Thesis Guide – Ar. S.F. Salma.

Noteworthy mention – Winner, NIASA (National Institute of Advanced Studies in Architecture) Thesis Awards South Zone, Top shortlisted entry in ArchiPrix International 2017, Shortlisted- ISARCH Awards.


Nikhil Sriram Periaswamy is currently pursuing his Master in Architecture in Chennai and graduated Bachelors in Architecture from MEASI Academy of Architecture, Chennai. He is currently involved in testing various methodologies in urban systems to understand and create “Liveable” urban spaces, and a series of art compositions called GEOMETRY which is at the publication state.


 

Map of the Week- Bridges in Chennai

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Bridges
Map showing Chennai’s Bridges over the Cooum River, Adayar River and the Buckingham Canal [Source: Triple O Studio, Chennai]
There are over 24 bridges over the Buckingham Canal, 13 over the Cooum River and about 6 over the Adayar within the Chennai Corporation Limits. These are more than just numbers- These bridges are the only places that the city connects with the rivers visually at the moment. While each of the bridges have their own history and story to tell, they could potentially be nodes that can revive the relationship between the city and its waterbodies. These nodes are more than just a LINK across the river- What if they transform into a PLACE to BE?


Every city needs to be explored, mapped and drawn! Hashtag Urbanism presents “Map your City”– an Open-source Archive of maps of Chennai done over the years by students and professionals of Architecture. To contribute, send your maps to hashtagurbanism@gmail.com. Be a part of this movement! Let’s map our cities!


Map Source: Triple O Studio, Chennai. (Project team: Tahaer Zoyab, Anupriya Subbian, Anisha Murali, Sabarish BP)


Millennials and the Chennai Vardah Cyclone

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We are the so called millennial generation. We like to feel special, we have earned a lot of resentment against our generation—the notion that “we’re a spoiled, entitled legion of precious snowflakes who expect prizes just for showing up, pout when we’re insufficiently petted, and never go anywhere without slathering on creamy layers of self-esteem.”

We seem to want/need instant gratification and possess a disturbing penchant for capturing instant moments, frozen in time, in the numerous selfies that flood the picture galleries on our phones.

Sounds familiar?

But to sum it all up, we are a generation that seems to think we can get what we want, WHEN we want it. Instant gratification. Now. Right Now. NOW!

But are we so consumed by the present that we are unable to sustain the momentum to last into the future?

We are the generation that has started countless things but not finished them. These days, it’s funny; we snicker, when we come across a meme that talks of broken New Year resolutions. But it’s scary to think that has come to define our entire generation.

What does all this have to do with Chennai, Cyclone Vardah and Trees, you ask? Everything.

While enough has been said about the recent loss of trees in Chennai due to Cyclone Vardah, and the initial enthusiasm and zeal to plant trees is noteworthy, it is the subsequent discipline, upkeep and sense of duty in continuing the movement, which will have lasting impact on restoring Chennai’s tree cover.

While we may piggyback on the efforts of previous generations to initiate planting of trees in Chennai, it is the Millennials who are going to have to sustain it, continue it, and fight for it in the future.

Watch this space to know how. Watch out for our city’s Millennials.

#chennai #cyclonevardah #trees #planttrees #hashtagurbanism#millennialmovement #jointhemovement

Graphic by Keerthana Udaykumar.

Map of the Day- Demographic Evolution of George Town

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Map showing the Demographic Evolution of communities in George Town, Chennai. [Source : Study done as part of Gsen Trophy NASA 2012]

George Town is a unique amalgamation of various communities co-existing harmoniously in a homogeneous fabric united by trade prospects. The Buckingham Canal linked the port to Madras to various trading places along this aqua spine. The Telugu Chettiars shifted from Andhra to George Town to explore trading opportunities, bringing with them cultural, traditional opinions and unique way of living.Trade barriers were discarded, boundaries imploded and distances crossed when the Railway lines linked Madras with the rest of the country, attracting Marvaris from Gujarat, Rajasthan and other northern states.

The demography of George Town and Wall Tax Road reflects a  multi-ethnic society that acclimatised itself to the prospects of their potential new home.


Every city needs to be explored, mapped and drawn! Hashtag Urbanism presents “Map your City”– an Open-source Archive of maps of Chennai done over the years by students and professionals of Architecture. To contribute, send your maps to hashtagurbanism@gmail.com. Be a part of this movement! Let’s map our cities!


Map of the Week- Trade Spines of George Town

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Map showing the intersection of the three spines- The Buckingham Canal, The Wall Tax Road and the Railway lines near Elephant Gate Junction, George Town. [Source : Study done by Gsen Trophy Team of NASA 2012]

The confluence of the trade spines- The Buckingham Canal, The Wall Tax Road, and the Railway lines near the Elephant Gate junction and the merger of NSC Bose Road with Wall Tax Road highlights the importance of the segment of the spine. The permeation of trade through the Canal was a significant catalyst of trade and transit oriented development near the crux of the spine. This intermodal transit hub has immense architectural relevance with heritage buildings like Salt Cotaurs, dwelling units and the Buckingham Canal itself, a stellar architectural accomplishment unparalleled at that time.


Every city needs to be explored, mapped and drawn! Hashtag Urbanism presents “Map your City”– an Open-source Archive of maps of Chennai done over the years by students and professionals of Architecture. To contribute, send your maps to hashtagurbanism@gmail.com. Be a part of this movement! Let’s map our cities!


9 Cycling Routes to explore Chennai!

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Cities are inevitably judged by the efficiency and inclusiveness of their transportation systems and networks, them being vital veins for the city’s functioning. It is, therefore, no surprise that the Transportation sector has progressed immensely over the past few decades, so much so that the pioneering two-wheeled human-powered transport system – the cycle – has little, sometimes no space on the roads any longer. To this inescapable conundrum, Chennai is no exception.

From vital transportation to fitness and recreation, cycling is a greener and cleaner option for all needs – and of late, the latter aspect has been on the rise in the city. And why not? There is a certain wonderment experienced when you get onto that saddle and pedal yourself forward – the joy of your leg muscles’ pull as forward you’re pushed; the wind in your hair and a song in your heart – there is a certain wonderment when you get onto that saddle and explore the city and all the joys it has to offer. But then, there’s a catch – inside the city, cycling is almost fatal; you’re bullied by the motorised vehicles, the unfriendly lorries and mean horn-blasting cars. To experience the joy of cycling, we are forced to escape to the outskirts, or to the really early morning hours or late nights.

Travelling is a way of experiencing new things, of exploring new places and feeling new things; it broadens the mind and makes some peace. And travelling by a cycle only makes the whole experience even more fulfilling. The trick is, it’s just fast enough to keep you moving ahead, and just slow enough to let you savour and enjoy each moment, each scene you cross – the birds on that tree, the lone pink flower in a sea of green, the smiling old shop lady who hands you bottle of water while you try to catch your breath, “Where are you cycling from? All the way from there?!” That’s something you do not, and CAN NOT, get from any motorized vehicle- bikes are too fast, cars too closed, flights too detached, and walking, well, unless you have a lot of time on your hands.

So in case you’re not already on your cycle, here are a few routes around Chennai to get you started! As a general rule, all routes mentioned here are safe for cyclists at the following timings;

04.30 am to 07.30 am
10.00 pm to 12.00 pm (Main roads only. Front and back cycle lights, helmets mandatory.)

CYCLING ROUTES
A. Beginner Routes – Below 20 km

Route 1 – Koyambedu – Anna tower park – Koyambedu

Short and easy, a route in the centre of the city – if you want to add a challenge ride up the Koyambedu flyover and cruise down. A stop at Anna tower park is great in the mornings, walk a circuit or two to stretch the muscles before getting onto the saddle again. The avenues of Anna Nagar are mostly residential streets so less traffic can be expected.

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Cycle to the park, and spend some time at the famous skating ring there!

Total distance 10 km. Duration (max.) 1 hour

Route 2 – Madhya Kailash – Besant nagar beach – Madhya Kailash

Who doesn’t love the beach in the mornings – the fresh breeze and gorgeous sunrise. The roads are hard and neat, speed cycling is great, especially tree-lined Besant Avenue close to Theosophical society.

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Watch the sunrise at Besant Nagar Beach, and relax on the beach before cycling back!

Total Distance: 10.1km. Duration (max.) 1h 30 mins

Route 3 – Madhya Kailash – Pallikarnai – Madhya Kailash

OMR is every cyclist’s dream – wide and pleasant to ride. Cycling along the Pallikarnai marsh is a beautiful sight in the morning, you can spot flocks of birds in amidst the greenery. There are small gazebos off the main road where one can sit and take in the beautiful scenery.

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Spot some beautiful migratory birds at Pallikaranai, Chennai’s Freshwater Marshland.

Total distance 21 km. Duration (max.) 1h 30 min



Intermediate Routes – 20-30 km

Route 1 – Anna university – Marina beach – Anna University

Right along the main roads, it is advisable to get on the saddle real early to avoid 8 am traffic. Also, this is one of the best night-cycling routes in the city – well-lit streets and good safety for the night rider. Marina beach is a treat in itself – mornings mean beautiful sunrise and fresh air; nights mean a mid-ride ice-cream at the beach!

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Count the arches on Napier’s Bridge on the way to Marina Beach!

Total distance 22.4 km. Duration (max.) 1 h 45 min

Route 2 – OMR to ECR loop

OMR is another great night-cycling option owing to the bright streetlights and around-the-clock police patrol. The connection from OMR to ECR at Shollinganallur junction is a great spot to cross a wide and clean Buckingham canal – you can stop at the corner of the bridge for a break from pedalling. Another add-on is a brief detour through any of the side streets on the ECR to an isolated and silent beach.

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Cycling down Chennai’s incredible coastline along the ECR-OMR stretch.

Total distance 29 km. Duration (max.) 2h 15 mins

Route 3– Velachery MRTS – Ottiambakkam quarry – Velachery MRTS

After Perumbakkam, the route is mostly through winding tarred village roads, so peaceful and silent in the morning hours. Ottiambakkam stone quarry is an abandoned quarry which has accumulated rain water over the years and forms a beautiful pond – swim with caution, though. You can take a brief 15-minute hike to the top and spot eagles or other birds, and experience a panoramic view of the city far beyond.

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Riding your cycle all the way to Ottiyambakam Quarry is well worth the view in the end!

Total distance 30 km. Duration (max.) 2 hours 30 mins



Expert Routes – 30+ km

Route 1 – Porur junction – Chembarambakkam lake – Porur junction

Small winding tar roads through small towns lead to one of the biggest lakes in the city – Chembarambakkam lake. One uphill and you’re onto the small path just adjacent the large blue water mass. Great for those who love solitude and water. During the return, you can take a short fun detour to Decathlon, every sports-shoppers paradise.

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Cycle around the Chembarambakkam lake’s cycle friendly perimeter

Total distance 32 km. Duration (max.) 3 hours

Route 2 – Padi flyover – Puzhal lake – Padi flyover

From Padi flyover, taking the city route in the morning is better due to less vehicles. Puzhal lake is another beautiful morning spot – during summer the lake is dry enough to walk on some parts of it, mind the sinking mud spots though. During monsoon, the lake is full and if you have the knack of it, you can ask fishermen to lend their canoes to you for a few `bucks. The National highway route back has good ups and downs to train your calves and is mostly free at all times of the day.

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Total distance 35 km. Duration (max.) 3 hours

Route 3 – Padi flyover – Sholavaram lake – Padi flyover

A little farther down from Puzhal is this out-of-the-way Sholavaram lake. When the lake is dry, its full of green grass presenting a whole other beautiful scene. Expect to be completely on your own here, very few people wander inside from the main road.

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Total Distance 48 km. Duration (max.) 3h 30 mins hours


* All distances measured are nearly accurate

* All ride durations are approximate and are inclusive of an average 15 mins break/stop at the destination mentioned.


[This article is by Abinaya Kalyanasundaram, Co-Founder of Saddle Addicts, a Chennai based Cycling group, in collaboration with Hashtag Urbanism. Check them out here!]