West indian culture

What Indian cities can learn from New York, London, Paris

Summarizing his idea of ​​an ideal city, renowned architect and urban planner Jaime Lerner said: “The secret of the city is integration. Each district of the city must combine work, leisure and culture. Separate these functions and parts of the city die.

While our cities are full of workspaces, there are simply not enough leisure centers or cultural venues. We are far from integrating art and culture into the daily life of the city. Experts have provided a simple and inexpensive way to do this. In addition to existing public and private infrastructure for cultural activities, the concept of ‘Culture Kattas’ should also be integrated into urban planning policy.

History shows that culture has always been at the heart of urban development, and this is quite evident through cultural landmarks and heritage sites in cities. To remain unique in the era of globalization and integration, cities need distinctive, aesthetic and cultural aspects that can set them apart from others. To achieve this, more designated public spaces should be created for artists, performers and culture enthusiasts.

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Katta Culture of Pune

A city like Pune has a rich cultural and political history and is rightly known as the cultural capital of Maharashtra. He has always acted as a patron of various art forms, be it classical music, classical dance, theatre, cinema or literature. As a result, the people of Pune are accustomed to cultivating art. This is exactly why even an annual classical music event like the “Sawai Gandharva Bhimsen Festival” gets a huge response. It is a city that cherishes theater culture even after the advent of modern technology and multiple OTT platforms. Artists in Pune, no matter where they currently reside, always feel close to the city.

Now is the time to encourage and showcase the talent of the younger generation as well, opening up multiple avenues for them and providing them with platforms for artistic expression. ‘Culture Katta’ can serve this purpose in the truest sense of the word. It could be a place where young people can interact with art veterans and exchange ideas. After all, the reach of art grows with interactions and collaborations.

The idea of ​​a ‘Katta’ is not unheard of in Pune. It’s a place where people meet, meet for a drink and chat without constraint. To prepare budding talent in the art, this “Katta Culture” should be transformed into “Kattas Culture” which will be accessible to commoners from various walks of life.

It is encouraging to see that many such places are becoming more and more visible in Pune. For example, the “Kalakar Katta” in the heart of the city on FC Road gets a good response. The widened pathways and seats on JM Road and FC Road become popular places to socialize and host several cultural activities.

But as Jaime Lerner said: every neighborhood in the city should have such public amenities. The city of Pune, in terms of civic boundaries, has become the largest city in Maharashtra. With the merger of 34 villages over the past six years, the responsibility of planners has increased. Along with the realization of basic civic amenities such as drinking water, roads, schools and hospitals, the cultural integration of these parts must also be taken into account.

As we discuss expanding and using open spaces to inspire artistic minds, there is another benefit to doing so. These places can also be nurtured to deepen spiritual roots in urban civil society. Art and spirituality are somehow inseparable. The basic motto is to convey its philosophy of life and science to the public.

What New York and London do well

We must also remember that some of the most popular cities in the world attract thousands of people because of the art and culture they nurture and preserve. What is New York without its artistic expression? What is London without its museums and galleries? What is Paris without its artistic and cultural heritage? These cities have not only preserved their cultural heritage, but have never stopped embracing changing trends in art and promoting the work of new artists. Some parts of these cities are known worldwide only for their art; for example, SoHo in New York is famous for its artist lofts, art galleries and trendy high-end boutiques. In London, world-class art of various styles from all eras and movements can be seen and the remarkable thing is that smaller commercial and independent venues are not shy about showcasing the works of new and emerging artists. This is how a city maintains its relevance as a global art hub.

In 2015, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recognized that culture is a key tool for promoting sustainable urban development through the safeguarding of cultural heritage and the promotion of the diversity of cultural expressions. Following this, it also published a report on culture for sustainable urban development entitled “Culture: Urban Future”, which highlighted the importance of culture in ensuring social cohesion in urban areas, through its capacity to build bridges for good relationships and a source of identity and reconciliation.

The development of open spaces that allow art to evolve as well as strengthen spiritual roots in an urban society will not only alter the landscape of the city, but will also help improve the overall mental health of citizens and develop a compass social morality.

Sudhir Mehta is Chairman and Managing Director of Pinnacle Industries Limited; President, Mahratta-MCCIA Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture. The opinions expressed in the article are those of the author and do not represent the position of this publication.

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