Author: Vijay Kumar Gautam Jha

Making of Chandigarh: Planning climate responsiveness and preventing an urban heat island

Source(s): The Indian Express

Climate responsiveness was one of the most important aspects considered by Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier throughout the planning and design of the city of Chandigarh. The decision regarding the exact location and orientation of the city went through multiple deliberations based on the idea of creating a natural microclimate for a region having a hot and dry climate for a majority of the year.

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Corbusier emphasized understanding the role of natural elements like sun, space and verdure that not only enhance the man-made environment but also fulfill climatic responsive principles for a city.

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As Chandigarh completes nearly 70 years of existence, it is witnessing rapid urbanisation and the problems that come with it. Factors like traffic congestion, urban heat island, greenhouse gas emissions and climate change are pressing concerns. Mainly concrete has been used as a building material and hardscape material for landscaping. Concrete traps a lot of heat and makes it uncomfortable to walk during daytime in summer. The climate is changing and the temperatures are soaring. 

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In conclusion, it is suggested that the residents consider solar passive architecture techniques while building, encourage greenery in their environments and make the city pedestrian and bicycle-friendly, at least for shorter commutes. Chandigarh, as a climate-responsive city, needs to learn a lesson from the past and adopt new technology to deal with climate change in future without compromising Le Corbusier’s design philosophy.

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