Friday, January 19, 2007

the Market square

Towns in India had street performers who were very much a part of the market squares. Today, these street performers are not to be seen. Spatial configurations within market areas have changed. Vehicular movement has been a new and bull-dozing modern need. There is so much that cannot happen in the market square because cars and rickshaws must be allowed to move on. We have brought the car into our lives & do not realise fully how we have allowed it to erode our cultural environments.

The Mapusa market in Goa by youshitface

India, our cities do not anymore have public squares. Markets are mostly crowded, dirty and chaotic streets. A Town or City would need to identify old pedestrian plazas or design new ones around existing markets where cultural programmes and street theatre or puppet shows happen frequently. These could also become areas for tourists to know more about the local people and their arts and crafts.

Livelihoods & Bazaars

Urban selling spaces in India take the form of a push-cart, a wooden kiosk, a brick and mortar shelter to a shopping mall.

There are livelihoods within this bazaar environment that support each other. There is the vegetable seller, the tea-stall man who sells tea to the many sellers of goods, the basket-maker who weaves cane and bamboo baskets for carrying vegetables, the cleaner who makes a living with periodic sweeping of the market spaces and garbage collection, the man who sells plastic sheets to those who own selling spaces that are temporary shelters, the push-cart man who transports goods to and from one bazaar to another, from one vendor to another.

a way ahead for bazaars

There is a need for interactions with the city administrative authorities to understand their approach to bazaars, the constraints, if any and to attempt to complement their efforts by developing a planning strategy that maximizes the resources available and acknowledges and supports the role vendors can play in the making of bazaars. It is also hoped that bazaars will not become only centers of exchanging merchandise but continue to be centers of social interaction as well.

We have all been at some time or another fascinated by our experience of the bazaar. If each of us begins to think about the bazaar and what we can do for it in our own way, each of these small steps at a different time and a different place will begin to support the evolution of the bazaar. It is possible that we will have in the future, market environments that meet our changing aspirations and still enthrall as did the bazaars of old.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

a few questions on Bazaars

How have our needs changed and what kind of market do we want?
How should a one-stop shop be planned to have the character of an Indian bazaar?
Is it possible to make our marketplace also a meeting point for social interaction? Do we want that?
Must the Indian Bazaar continue to be dirty if it is to be a vibrant place? OR Is a shopping mall the only answer to having a clean market environment?
Are there policies that can be introduced in marketplaces that will remove some or all of the negative aspects of the Bazaar? What are these?
Is it possible for one organisation to take over and manage efficiently an entire marketplace in a city?
How to create an awareness amongst the planners & administrators about the aesthetic contributions of the vendor?
How will new commodities and new ways of marketing be reconciled with traditional design?
How to create a changing, dynamic system, how to implement it?
How can design interventions enhance livelihoods in a bazaar?