Ahmedabad: BB&CI and the physical transformation – Street level changes 3

The BB&CI initially changed the city with the erection of the Western Rail Zone and the railway station. Where previously the city would have anchor points in the form of temples and the hierarchy shaped by pols and cul-de-sacs, after the introduction of the BB&CI in 1864, due to the nature of a railway station with the constant flow of people and the space created around it,it quickly became the focal point of the city, for markets, small businesses and gathering spaces. This then mean the site would be built according to the need, and the carefully balanced city structure is redefined; the disproportionate hierarchy of the space can be seen clearly through simple physical features such as trees, fences and the public amenities in the comparison between the old map and the Total Station Survey.  Possibly what will later become one of the predominant slum areas in the periphery of the city is in fact caused by what is highlighted in the Total Station Survey since Area III in the Social Variable table is located beside this. Area III is deemed the “Near-Periphery Area” by Tewari, and is the Mill Area and later one of the slum areas just outside the Walled City.

Old map of Ahmedabad
Map of Old Ahemdabad (what is now called the Walled City)
Map of Ahmedabad, depicted in a miniature style painting on a cloth, circa 19th century © unknown, Aksi great
Total Station Survey, with records of all physical features on the ground
Survey of the area for preparing the Town Planning Scheme © 2008, Shirley Ballaney

 

Social Rank Variable of Ahmedabad demographic
Social Rank Variable of Ahmedabad demographic
Social Rank variable (mean and standard deviation) for Ahmedabad and natural areas © 1986, Tewari

 

 

 

The railway station meant firstly, a change in urban spacial hierarchy, but also secondly, a change in traffic and human flow. The periphery of the Walled City have become congested with travelers and customers to the market and just general public.”The Municipality decided to make several new roads in the walled city, in order to encourage a spread of settlement, relieve traffic congestion, connect the centre of the city directly with the railway station..“(Sejpal, 1982). The city wall was punched through as well, gates created – namedly the Prem Darwazas in 1864 and Panchkuva Darwazas in 1871, as pols demolished. The city wall was one of the main characters of the city, with gates controlling entries into the city, and pols the main ways of living. To destroy this, as well as change the hierarchy of the city means that the original city fabric has been changed and the vernacular qualities destroyed.

Post-BB&CI city roads
Pols demolished to create new roads in the walled city © 1982, Shraddaha Sejpal

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