Heritage Preservation and urban renovation through waterfront management
A team of experts from France from the domains of architecture and urban planning interacted with stakeholders in Pondicherry to envision a planned future for the town and region incorporating heritage conservation, tourism, water management and sustainable development.
The participants at the workshop comprised representatives from the government of Puducherry including the departments of tourism, public works, agriculture, local administration, municipality, town planning, art & culture, roads, electricity and planning besides civil society members from INTACH, PondyCAN, Sri Aurobindo Ashram and Institut Français de Pondicherry. The workshop was organized in collaboration with the Department of Tourism, Government of Pondicherry, the French Embassy in India / Institut Français.
Broad points that were brought up during the workshop:
- 1. An important highlight of the workshop was the unanimity with respect to people being at the centre of any city project. Improving the quality of life of the citizens of a city was the most important objective of being a smart city. This fact was brought out not only during the workshop but also during interactions with the government and civil society.
- 2. Heritage is not only built heritage but also includes natural, historical, industrial, infrastructural heritage and more. The workshop reiterated the importance of engaging with heritage conservation issues in a holistic manner and no longer in isolation with other urban and planning issues. The workshop led to reflections on a global plan proposing a reference system for a sustainable city.
- 3. Water, mobility, heritage, urban planning and governance were the main ideas of intervention that came to light during the interactions.
- 4. The intervention in Pondicherry may well look beyond the heritage town in Pondicherry but also adjoining areas in the region. More details on this will be available during a next phase of interaction.
- 5. The workshop brought home the point that heritage cities and modern sustainable cities can co-exist.
- 6. Some first studies were recommended
First submissions related to the visits, exchanges with the government and civil society and the workshop will form the basis of a second phase of engagement which will look into concrete proposals and ideas with the stakeholders in Pondicherry.
Composition of the French Team of architects and urban planners that visited Delhi, Ahmedabad and Puducherry recently:
- Ms Michèle Laruë-Charlus, Director General Planning with the City Council of the town of Bordeaux in southern France
- Mr. Alfred Peter, landscape architect
- Mr. Jean Pierre Charbonneau, Consultant in urban and cultural strategy, for Lyon in Central France
- Mr. Franck Boutté, Sustainable Development Engineer
- Ms Monica Lebrao Sendra – Head, Architecture / Department for Cooperation and Cultural Exchange / Institut Français Paris