“There are constraints onthe human mind, walls around the human spirit, and Barriers to our growth which we erect ourselves”.ABSTRACT:CITY OF BARRIERS- thatunites and divides a city under the shadow of high rise tracks and with spaceswhich are defined by the sharp edged fence or high concrete walls.
Before, thecity was kept in the walls but now every space itself is bounded by thebarriers of structural elements. City is creating hindrance in itself. Ahindrance designed by the physical barriers which are actually triggered by themental barriers. This has changed the character of the city both aestheticallyand environmentally. Therefore, barriers became the part of city growth bysegregating the urban poor community spatially and socially from elite.However, the idea is to create a platform of interaction for neglectedcommunity which can reduce the barriers and can strengthen cultural values,build community character, sense of ownership by enhancing community engagement andparticipation, improvingeconomic strength.
INTRODUCTION:Looking Lahore, at the timeof Mughal Empire when city got enveloped through a long brick wall calling itas “walled city”, when it got caught by the first physical barrier. City gotdivided into two parts in colonial period, calling it a “Dual city”. This new citytook birth when British neglected walled city and neglected that area, creatingmental barriers of not being up to their standards and not having suchexpertise that can sustain them towards a better living. These divisionsstarted to become the part of city growth that today every planned communitylike DHA, formed a physical barrier that is wrapped around at its edgescreating a rigid boarder and neglects the community of charar pind, survivingon the other side of it, who is sustaining them.
The idea here is “to break the barriers between twoopposing forces by uplifting the community of urban poor” in the city sothat a harmony can be regenerated like it was before in walled city. So thearea which is chosen is in charar pind near DHA. The reason of choosing thisarea is because this village came into existence at the time of Mughals whenresidents earn their living by farming on the huge land around the village. Butyears after all the farm lands were taken by the DHA and village got enclosedby the DHA residents, forming a sharp boundary wall around the periphery of thevillage.
Now at every entering point of the village which links to DHA area hasbarriers that is placed by the DHA authority and the village residents are notallowed to use any open space in DHA, which is only accessible for the DHAresidents. This idea can challenge and invent commercial identityin that space where they can prosper and thrive with dignity and can learn morefrom the audience which help them communicate across socio-economic lines andcan participate in these spacesat various levels of skill and engagement.Further the idea has been formulated into threedifferent aspects in the form of three chapters in which, first chapter is for howspatial and social barriers can be reduced and can build character, second on howprogrammatic activities in a space benefits a community to be more stablesocially and economically and can re-generate the lost awareness of sustainabledevelopment andthird is howthe border between two communities can be transformed through architecture ofempowerment? “BUILDCOMMUNITY CHARACTER”· How spatial and social barriers can bereduced and can build character of the community? City is first and foremost designedfor humans but unfortunately it is only for the rich whereas poor areneglected. This marginalization happened when both the social and spatial needsof the poor were disregarded to entertain the rich1. Constructing a building forsuch communities people will enhance their rights to the city and will buildtheir community character because it is the role of architect to design in suchspaces that becomes a challenge to address the inequalities in the city2. A similar condition has beenseen in Sao Paulo, Brazil that a community Paraisopolis marked with sharpspatial and social in-equality because of the fear of crime and violence. City formedfortified enclaves which turned out to form boarder segregating the lower community.In reaction to this, community played an important role by raising theircharacter.
They chose medium of expression to raise their voice. Some expressthrough graffiti on the walls and others through words like hip-hop rapping.3 On the other hand architectsplayed a vital role to reduce the crime in that area that is by proposing”Grotao community center” by an organization Urban Think-Tank. Its aims andobjectives were to expand music and cultural programs in the area that can formnew networks which will serve the youth from all levels of society. Its coreidea was to enable connection between the opposing forces of top-down planningand to initiate bottom-up approach by architects. They created a common groundfor both communities so that the idea can eliminate divisions and can generateproductive interactions.
4Another scenario was foundunder such circumstances that is in Nairobi, Kenya where a marginalizedcommunity exists in Kibera which lies between spatial and socialdiscrimination. As they weren’t allowed to live within the city so they startedto live on the peripheries due to which the area considered to be unsafe.5 Crime rate in Kibera wasvery high because of un-employment so in order to reduce that factor there wasan initiative taken by Kilimanjaro organization to upgrade the Silanga sportsfield into “Silanga sports complex”. They in cooperate with silanga communityand did a survey of 350 residents before and after the implementation. Beforethe project, crime rate was 78% and after its completion area was rated as 89%safe. Its objectives were to make a safe public space with the idea ofactivating youth into it and enhancing community engagement that was focused bygiving sports and cultural programs in it.
6 To build a communitycharacter it is important to have tangible and in tangible elements in thebuilding that some of them can be referred in the discussed projects above.This can enhance community identity by giving it a unique meaning and value. Thisunderlies the physical and social forms of the community and helps to explorethe context and embrace and encourage community’s diversity.7 “SOCIO-ECONOMICSTABILITY” · How programmatic activities in a space benefitsa community to be more stable socially and economically and can re-generate thelost awareness of sustainable development?Inearly twentieth century, medium of architecture was used to reform the urbanliving and societies around the world by the architects and planners.
But theidea of making modern cities they forgot the climatic, economic, geographical,socio-political and technological differences which forms the type ofarchitecture called as shanty towns, squatter settlements and slums indifferent urban and rural centers as these areas were formed due to instabilityof social and economic factors. Taking in account the example of Chandigarh inIndia that was made by the Le Corbusier as a modern city and on its peripheriesshanty towns were developed simultaneously by the workers. It was discussed asabsence or lack in literature but not referred as emergent “parallel modernism”differentiated by economic and socio-political class and skills.
8 Thereason for the criticism of the architecture of unprivileged classes was theaesthetics and modes of construction and more over the architectural professionturning towards the rich. This leads to the concept of sustainable developmentin reopening the doors to the lost opportunities. Those reopen doors are placeswhere architecture can flourish by learning from the skills of poor andparticipating in reconstruction of those neighborhood. As history shows howurban poor who built their own homes participated in the invention of theconcepts that are called sustainable design by experimenting differentrecyclable materials. It is architects job that to implement the lessonslearned from the past in today’s modern world which shows the contributionsmade by urban poor in field of space making. 8Oneof the Indian social activist Bunker Roy worked for the cause of education as akey strategy for urban poor but not degree based. It is just to alleviate ruralpoverty lies within the communities.
His approach was inspired by Gandhi’sphilosophy of sustainable development, self-government and non-violence9. He established a”Barefoot college” in which there are three phases; first ‘selection’ in which theytake illiterate and semi-literate people from the lowest castes those belongsto most remote and inaccessible villages in India, second is ‘training’ that isto train them at their own pace by becoming water engineers, solar engineers,architects, teachers and communicators and third is ‘propagation’ that if theyare once trained these villagers work within their own communities so theybecome less dependent. One of his sectorsison solar energy which involves 21st century science with traditionalknowledge that teaches home lightning systems, solar lanterns and cookers. Allsolar panels are installed, maintained and repaired by village people.
10 As Bunker Roy says”Strengthen the rural area and you will find less people migrating to urbanareas. You give them opportunity, self-respect and self-confidence, they willnever go to urban slum”.11Anothervocational center in Karachi was encountered that is “Health oriented preventiveeducation” (H.O.
P.E.) which provides learning opportunities for young girls andboys by teaching them computer classes, English language classes which areincome generating activities and empower women of urban poor in society.12 Community’ssocio-economic stability will elevate the quality of life, improve its abilityto attract economic activities as mentioned above and creates atmosphere forinnovations. This can be important for employment and maintenance of a skilledand educated labor force which increases attention, visitors and step towardsdevelopment.13″ARCHITECTURAL EMPOWERMENT”· Howthe ‘Border’ between two communities can be transformed through architecture ofempowerment?Theabsence of community links and the lack of concern for the needs of the variouscommunity members are all part of the disempowering system today. The challengethat faces the architects is to recognize and deal with the needs of the pooras they would those of the rich.
So is it possible for architects to design ina way that increases the empowerment of people and communities? The type ofarchitecture that they require is one of empowerment; one that encourages theirincremental inputs, that sees building more as process than as product. Thecommunity that is self-sufficient emphasize themselves in practically everysociety, seeking greater voice and greater power. Similarly worldwide there areincreasing inequities between societies and within societies.13 Thisrequires to respond to the needs of the poor by allowing them for participationwhich is the cause of ‘community architecture’2.The architecture that focuses on process to blur the boundaries betweencommunities and forms community development13.
On the contrary, the government needs to relate its work to the NGO projects ininfrastructure development and health, education and credit programs becausewithout such connections its own programs cannot work. This interaction betweengovernment and NGO participatory development projects is forcing changes ingovernment perception and planning at the local level. Participatory planningin practice is emerging at government level and as a result of this interactionthan any policy decision or setting up of pilot projects by the government. Asarchitect Perween Rahman, director of the Research and Training Institute ofthe Orangi Pilot Project, says: ‘Things can only work if governmentsparticipate in people’s programs and not if people are asked to participate ingovernment programs. OPP considers itself a research institution whose objective is toanalyze the most pressing problems in Orangi, and to discover practicalsolutions. It does not carry out development work but promotes communityorganizations and co-operative action and provides technical support to suchinitiatives. It operates programs for low-cost sanitation and housing, healthand family planning, education, supervised for small family enterprise units, andwomen’s work centers that came in front due to community participation2.
Lee valley Millennium center in Liverpool aims to examine the participationprocess as carried out by organization which has been active in this field. Toexamine the difference in the process of participation carried out byarchitects13. Thepositive outcome of this is when communities take charge of their own destiniesthey improve social bond and empower themselves. The ability of the communityis to take control of the physical space between buildings that is the publicspace, not just the home, which is the central part of the architecture ofempowerment2.
CONCLUSION:”Therefore, urban poor possessed theright to a designed place in a city, one they can call theirs, where they canprosper and thrive with dignity”. The idea that responds tothe issue addressed above is a “Communal Active Space” conceived as contextualresponse because there is no such space that is for the social interaction ofpeople living in these communities. So proposing a space which is communallyactive can make the surroundings safer and will engage community to participatein this space. Where they can make their own decisions and will create sense ofownership2. Whereas the structureitself becomes there architectural representation which empowers them spatiallyand socially. 1 Lefebvre, Henri.Writing on cities. Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishers, 19992 Serageldin, Ismail.
The architecture of empowerment: people, shelter and livable cities. London:Academy, 19973 “Worlds SetApart.” En Gb.
Accessed December 13, 2017. https://lsecities.net/media/objects/articles/worlds-set-apart/en-gb/4 “Urban thinktank: grotão fábrica de música.” Designboom | architecture & designmagazine. April 04, 2012. Accessed December 13, 2017. https://www.designboom.
com/architecture/urban-think-tank-grotao-fabrica-de-musica/5 Kuo,Lily. “Drone photography captures the dramatic inequality ofNairobi.” Quartz. November 25, 2016. Accessed December 13, 2017. https://qz.com/846027/drone-photos-capture-the-dramatic-inequality-of-nairobis-neighborhoods/ 6 Vukpejzaz. “Pfor Public Space, Kibera, Nairobi, Kenya.
” Participation Dictionary.December 05, 2014. Accessed December 05, 2017. https://participationdictionary.wordpress.
com/2014/04/25/p-for-public-space-kibera-nairobi-kenya/7 “The Role of theArts and Culture in Planning Practice.” American Planning Association.Accessed December 13, 2017. https://www.planning.org/research/arts/briefingpapers/overview.htm8 Elleh, Nnamdi.Reading the architecture of the underprivileged classes: a perspective on theprotests and upheavals in our cities.
Farnham: Ashgate, 2014.8 Elleh, Nnamdi.Reading the architecture of the underprivileged classes: a perspective on theprotests and upheavals in our cities. Farnham: Ashgate, 2014.9 “BarefootCollege.
” Skoll. Accessed December 13, 2017. http://skoll.org/organization/barefoot-college/10″Category:Bunker Roy.” Barefoot College. Accessed December 13, 2017.
https://www.barefootcollege.org/category/bunker-roy/11ParimalM. Rohit, Special to India-West. “Cross ‘Barrier of Illiteracy’ WithTechnology: Bunker Roy.
” India West. June 18, 2014. Accessed December 13,2017. 2 Serageldin, Ismail.
The architecture of empowerment: people, shelter and livable cities. London:Academy, 1997 12 HOPENGO. “Award Ceremony.
” HOPE NGO – Health Oriented PreventiveEducation. Accessed December 05, 2017. http://hope-ngo.com/Home.aspx13 Forsyth,Leslie, and Paul Jenkis.
Architecture, participation and society. New York:Routledge, 20102 Serageldin, Ismail. The architecture ofempowerment: people, shelter and livable cities.
London: Academy, 199713 Forsyth,Leslie, and Paul Jenkis. Architecture, participation and society. New York:Routledge, 2010 .2 Serageldin, Ismail. The architecture ofempowerment: people, shelter and livable cities.
London: Academy, 1997