Blog # 5: People-Centered Design: An Alternative View of Resilience Planning and Urban Management by Efon

The forgotten issue of disasters, vulnerability, and resilience of Cities, which until recently, I would argue were an after-thought in the context of planning and urban management. In transportation and infrastructure management, at least, resiliency is part of both operational and functional planning and system management of physical and cyber-systems. However, in practice, resiliency is mostly approached from a limited and narrow risk-based, and safety and security perspective.

But, from today’s readings, which implicitly, crosses many aspects of this issue, I can think no further than the work of “now” renowned architect and educator Balkrishna Doshi. I started reading about Doshi early this month after it was announced on March 7, that Doshi was awarded the prestigious Pritzker Prize based on his groundbreaking design work in his native India. From media reports, many have described Doshi an architect, urban planner, and educator. According to an article in the WashingtonPost.com, the award cited his outstanding contributions and recognizing his “..understanding and appreciation of the deep traditions of India’s architecture, he united prefabrication and local craft and developed a vocabulary in harmony with the history, culture, local traditions and the changing times of his home country India.”

The same article also recognized his work on low-cost housing project in Indore, to accommodates more than 80,000 people (mostly poor), by building a system of houses, courtyards, and internal pathways, showing and attributing values to enhance both culture and quality of life of those affected by his projects in India.

In a nutshell, Doshi approached architecture, design, and planning in harmony with nature. It could be described as going back to the basic. In fact, planning for resiliency must be incorporated into the design and must accommodate for natural imbalances, which are often represented in local cultural architecture and artifacts that have withstood the test of time. I believe this is something that is representative of Doshi’s work as an architect, urban planner, and educator. More importantly, Doshi worked with Le Corbusier. He was influenced early by Le Corbusier, and Louis Kahn, probably, two of the great 20th-century architects.

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