Divided by seas but united by disappearing spaces. Spaces are a luxury for a generation that has grown up in a large metropolis, be it in Delhi or Berlin. Imposing malls, glittering billboards and honking cars vie for attention relegating parks, cultural and creative spaces to the background. As India gallops towards higher economic growth and its cities and peoples struggle to keep up, it is perhaps only right that it engages with one of its strategic partners – Germany − for solutions to better prepare for this tumultuous urbanisation it is witnessing.
Cities across the world face similar challenges in the use of spaces and balancing climate change and sustainable development with the pressure of housing and provision of amenities. Adding to this is the growing realisation that rapid urbanisation and the fascination for malls and multiplexes is devouring space meant for recreation, community interaction, cultural and green spaces.
The projects − planned across the period of 15 months − have been created to tackle issues like mobility, energy, sustainable city development and architecture through performing, visual arts and science, technical and business interactions.
Cities are currently home to an estimated 30 per cent of the Indian population and contribute about 60 per cent to India’s total GDP. In the next 20 years these figures will rise rapidly. It is estimated that 40 per cent of the Indian population will be living in cities by 2030, producing as much as 70 per cent of India’s total GDP. This means that in 20 years´ time an estimated 250 million more people will be living in Indian cities than today.
Rapid urban development presents a number of challenges – both today and for the future. These challenges occur across areas ranging from practical issues such as efficient transport infrastructure to water supplies and wastewater disposal, waste management and social issues, to the co-existence of rich and poor as well as of various religious groups. This results in new ways of life developing in the cities and creates numerous opportunities for art and culture.
‘StadtRäume – CitySpaces’ provides a broad and highly relevant thematic platform of four interdependent thematic fields: town planning and architecture, mobility and transport, supplies and infrastructure and culture, society and public life.
Text: Himanshi Dhawan, exerpt from German News RS 1 / Vol. 52