India is a country filled with rich colors and diverse patterns. Visual overload is precisely how many would describe the country. Even on a sleepy morning I could not pull my eye from the hues, people, and textures. Amid the bustling streets are pastel residences, interesting storefronts and neon signs. First I trek through Pune, a city of four million inhabitants that's a hub for the industrial and tech worlds, before stopping in Mumbai.
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swissnex San Francisco invites a panel of experts to discuss the past and future of urban planning in India, highlighting two examples: Chandigarh, a city mandated by the Nehru government in the 1950s and designed by Swiss architect Le Corbusier, and NanoCity, a yet-to-be-built metropolis initiated by entrepreneur (and Hotmail co-founder) Sabeer Bhatia and designed by the Berkeley Group for Architecture and Planning.
In many ways, these two cities suggest a shift from municipalities planned by governments to ones dreamed up by influential individuals. They may also herald a transition of power from the hands of political decision-makers to those of the business world. Even the function of cities themselves seems up for reinvention. Where Chandigarh was established as an administrative capital, NanoCity aspires to be a hub for education and high-tech.
Moderator Mark Jarzombek, Associate Dean at the School of Architecture and Planning at MIT, leads the discussion with panelists Sabeer Bhatia, founder of NanoCity; Nezar AlSayyad and Susan Ubbelohde, both professors of architecture at the College of Environmental Design at UC Berkeley and design directors of NanoCity; and Vikramāditya Prakāsh, architecture professor at the University of Washington and author of Chandigarh's Le Corbusier: The Struggle for Modernity in Postcolonial India. An exhibition about Chandigarh and NanoCity accompanies the discussion and travels to swissnex Bangalore later this year.
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