Wednesday, January 19, 2011

a Street Bazaar & the CITY

The changing nature of the spaces and the displays in a Street bazaar in India makes it a complex phenomenon that differs from formal retail environments. In a Street Bazaar, there are patterns of human interaction and movement that are generated only to disappear again in a little while, to be created once more in another way. This blogpost includes a film about a simple day in a bazaar in the city of Bangalore.

In the Gandhi Bazaar in Bangalore, there have been two to three generations of vendors who have been involved with trading activity. They have developed a symbiotic relationship with the generations of families who have lived in the residential neighbourhood of Basavanagudi and have a sense of belonging to the place as much as the residents do. People come to Gandhi Bazaar to buy vegetables, fruits, flowers, banana leaves, silk sarees, bangles and puja items amongst many other household goods. It is a place to experience the culture of the city.

There is a territoriality in the Indian bazaar where there are single unit territories that individual vendors create at the street level and there are multiple unit territories that clusters of vendors generate at the city level. What is interesting is that this spatially delimited control described by Mattias Karrholm in his paper 'Territoriality in Urban spaces' may imply that the concept of neutrality in a public space may be crucial in urban design in the Indian context. Can an Indian street be enclosed between two parallel lines? Where will the cobbler sit? How to accommodate the roadside shrine or the sugarcane juice stall? So, how do we design our streets?

Read about:
Groundnut Fair at Basavanagudi
an Afternoon in Festive Dussehra
Flower sellers: To create, to forget
Bazaar Tour : Gandhi Bazaar