TEAM: Shreya Singh Bhal and Utkarsh Srivastava
KEYWORDS: Social disconnect, Democracy, Democratic Spaces, Mixed Use, Hybrid, Community Spaces, Codependency, Integration spaces, Co-working spaces, Urban Farms
It has become eminent to deal with issues like social disconnection and dissociation, as they threaten to destroy our society from inside. It is even more relevant in case of a country like India, as it is the largest democracy in the world. For a nation that is so full of people, with their diverse thoughts and cultures, this problem could prove to be extremely detrimental
Why so? Well because, in the best-case scenario it prepares and provides the people with a supportive and codependent environment, where each person can benefit from the other, forming an overall virtuous cycle, not just for the people themselves, but for the society as a whole. In the worst case, however, the smallest of issues could trigger aggression, intolerance and ultimately lead to an imbalanced society that is fragile enough to break from the minutest nudge.
Architecture in this sense plays a vital role in the prevention of such disconnection, as it brings people together. People gathering at old and new places promote an unconscious urban regeneration and revitalization as well as enforcing a stability in the society.. Creation of spaces like community kitchens, and collective farming induce a sense of comradeship and compatibility amongst the people, leading to a harmonious environment.
Amalga; The Socio-Connect is a project which aims to do just that. It brings people together through the means of interdependent learning, where the users of one group become the teachers of the other group.
It creates a series of democratic spaces which caters to the various, diverse groups of users that frequents the site, as well as allows them to interact through means of participation in communal activities. This cycle of learning, creating and selling benefits all the parties that are involved in its process.
For e.g. The young metal laborers of Sikanderpur, adept at their skill, get an opportunity to present, teach and earn an extra buck, while the customers can learn as well as directly participate in the creation of their customized product.
The project draws inspiration from the old towns and villages of the past, where the public space, like the markets, as well as the community, were considered to be an extended part of a person’s family. It also draws inspiration from the basic principles of democracy itself, catering to qualities like equality, freedom, diversity and hybrid; in terms of providing- availability to multiple users, ease of access to the space, a huge variety of programs and activities, and intermixing and participation of people respectively.