Role of states in aligning Architecture with India’s transformation agenda

There are several key trends that came to the fore at the Economic Times A&D Summit 2015, including understanding and adapting the latest design trends, sustainable designs and upcoming technologies to improve infrastructure irrespective of the challenges faced.
With a burst in urbanization that is distributed more or less evenly over the entire state, Kerala is distinguished with comparatively low population density development in urban areas and high population density in rural areas. This distinctive pattern of human habitat, however, raises many development issues.
As the 2011 census shows, Kerala has undergone the highest level of urbanization (47.71%) during 2001-11, with a percentage increase of 83.20 over the previous decade. In a state like Kerala marked by scattered settlement, physical dimensions should also be taken into account while designating an area as urban. The shift in occupation from agriculture to other categories of employment has been the principal cause underlying the huge urbanization in the state.
The development of urban areas can be the instrument for the development of rural Kerala, and it can also serve as the catalyst of growth. Decision makers, planners, experts and Industry stake holders need to come together in order to move the bar higher than ever.

There are several issues that ail the industry, and in this post we will look at some of them in earnest.
The acute shortage of building materials and rising prices delays the growth and affects the quality. Labour management and availability is another major concern. In a state like Kerala with limited resources and ecologically sensitive, it is difficult to proceed or continue with the traditional way of building.
With an increasing number of governmental restrictions and architectural controls imposed by the state, new buildings have to be eco-friendly, economical and sustainable. This is a challenge that the state of Kerala is perhaps ill prepared for. There is lots of research needed for this to happen, and professionals will need to come up with new ideas and technologies as well to support it.
Developing products that can withstand the tropical wet climatic zone of the region is also of prime importance, and creating region specific products and design is essential to overcoming this. As socio-economic and cultural parameters evolve, newer projects begin to reflect these sensibilities. However, a strict control on planning and policy is essential to conserve vital land resources and available open spaces for the generations that follow us.
There is a need to research more in to sustainable, eco-friendly and cost effective technology and building materials in the coming future, we may have to think about factory made houses that can be carried from place to another. They can be custom made or factory made prefabricated units that can be bought and assembled. Though it may sound funny at this point of time, it is going to be the final option in a resource deficient, ecologically sensitive and labour sensitive state like Kerala.

There are several ideas underlying the latest trends and the challenges that lie before the Architecture & Design sector. In recent times, we have seen major changes in the way people conceive spaces and residences. The changing skylines of Kerala are testament to this, as leafy, verdant farmsteads are increasingly giving way to luxurious high-rises. Green houses and sustainable eco-friendly houses are in demand.
The traditional shops have given away to supermarkets and malls. The way commercial spaces are being conceived has been transformed, and leisure has been increasingly linked with commerce, thus giving rise to newer demands. In order to ensure that we don’t see rampant development, there should be site specific development controls and regulations based on the demand by the populace of that part of the state.
The need of the hour is perhaps a mixed use commercial establishment, especially in the midst of busy city centres such as M.G. Road in Cochin. There should be separate access roads or service roads to the commercial clusters from each node and the bypass oriented commercial ribbon development should be discouraged.
We need to revisit the way in which we design public commercial buildings. It is high time we develop retail clusters in cities with all amenities and empower it with proper networking systems as well.

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