Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Mauritius bazaars

There are bazaars in Mauritius that are organic in their planning. There are people in Mauritius of Indian, French and African origin. This reflects in its urban selling spaces.

Within the Bazar Rose Hill, as it is called amongst local residents, there are no demarcations between spaces that vendors occupy. It is a shared space. Recently, I had an opportunity to work on the 'Redevelopment of the Bazar Rose Hill' - a project initiated by the Municipal Council of Beau Bassin, a district of Mauritius.

Mauritius Bazar Rose Hill

The market occupies a triangular property surrounded on three sides by busy roads. It is a part of the Central Business District, where the real estate prices are high. This is a situation quite similar to our Indian markets. The city grows denser around a central marketplace. It was suggested that the market be temporarily moved to a part of the Duval stadium nearby and this triangular plot be redesigned as a Shopping cum Tourist complex. We eventually prepared an urban design proposal which permanently relocated the vegetable and fruit market to the stadium periphery and created a "market square" with additional buildings with contemporary shops and cafetarias. The second proposal was the architectural design solution for the original triangular site, with the idea of a place that would attract both tourists and local residents with its craft shops, eating outlets and facilities for business travellers to Mauritius.

In India, as elsewhere, it is always difficult to improve upon an existing market., as observed in one of my previous posts - Planning for the Transition

I walked around the Rose Hill region to study it as much as possible. I found that the character of the Bazar Rose Hill was made more interesting with the innovations in the outlets of the bread vendors. I also visited the Central Market in Port Louis and La Caudan waterfront with its contemporary shopping places .

In Port Louis, the capital city of Mauritius, the “market” is an entire region that consists of several streets that have grown from this nucleus that sells fruits and vegetables and where people congregate to buy their daily necessities.

Today, it is also an interesting area for tourists who can buy crafts, who can see what it is like to be in Mauritian markets and to be a part of the lives of the people here. 

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