Smart Heritage in Smart City – Pune
Page Updated (December 27th, 2017) @ (03:24 pm)
‘SMART HERITAGE in Smart City’, is first in a series of events that aim to develop the concept of ‘Smart Heritage’ and explore the meaning of ‘Smart Heritage within a Smart City’. This first event organized by INTACH Heritage Academy during 28 – 30 August 2017 in collaboration with Bharati Vidyapeeth Deemed University (BVDU), Pune Biennale Foundation (PBF) and Dr Bhanuben Nanavati College of Architecture for Women (BNCA). It was held at the Bharati Vidyapeeth Institute of Environment Education and Research (BVIEER).
The event saw an about 100 professionals within the field share their ideas and intentions to pursue the objective of making Indian heritage ‘smarter’. A special field visit was organized where the participants got a direct experience of Pune’s heritage and the ‘Smart City’ components.
The consultative meet also tried to study the initial effect that the ‘Smart City’ project has had on Heritage using the city as the study pool.
The term ‘Smart Heritage’ was coined in Spain in 2014, at a roundtable meeting on ‘India-Spain Co-operation in the field of Heritage Conservation and Management’ at the International Biennial of Art and Heritage Management (AR&PA) in Valladolid.
During the meeting, INTACH had suggested initiating a programme wherein a group of heritage experts, with diverse approaches, would debate about challenges faced by heritage and the acts of heritage preservation and promotion in the wake of changing global scenarios, specifically in the case of ‘Smart’ cities. The idea was born out of an objective to transform these debates into a collection of ‘essential lessons’ to deliberate on smart heritage in smart cities.
A broad aim was to organize a 3-day consultative meet to understand the concept of ‘Smart Heritage’, exploring the meaning of ‘Smart Heritage within a Smart City’, and assess the application of the concept within the management of a ‘Smart City’.
The operational objective was to create awareness around the concept of ‘Smart Heritage’ in Smart City. The consultative meet also endeavoured to make ideas like community participation, e-governance, and new operational technologies popular. The consultative meet tried to study the initial effect that the ‘Smart City’ project has had on Heritage using the city as our study pool.
Upon completion of this course the participants should be able to:
- Understand the concept of Smart Heritage
- Apply the concept in to produce a dossier of recommendations of the lessons learned in order to be transferable to other Smart Cities in India.
- Recognize the aspects of a Smart Heritage within a Smart City
- Critically analyze the historical assets in cities as well as finding practical solutions to bridge the gap between heritage and urban development.
DAY 1: Heritage Walk and Networking
3.45 Reach Shaniwarwada
4.00 Heritage Walk in Pune City, INTACH Pune Chapter
DAY 2: ‘Smart Heritage’ – a Conceptual approach
10.00 Welcome address – Dr B.H. Sutar, Principal – Bharati Vidyapeeth College of Architecture,
10.03 Inauguration by hands of:
Hon. Mrs Mukta Tilak, Mayor, Pune, Chief Guest
Hon. Mr Kunal Kumar, Commissioner, Pune Municipal Corporation, Guest of Honor
In presence of Dr Vishwajeet Kadam, Secretary, Bharati Vidyapeeth Deemed University, President, PBF and Mrs Varsha Chordia, Vice President, PBF
10.15 Address by Chief Guest
10.30 Smart Natural Heritage: A brief glimpse – Dr. Earch Bharucha, Director, Chinmaya Dunster
11.00 The idea of ‘Smart Heritage’ – Mr. Navin Piplani, Principal Director, INTACH Heritage Academy
12.00 Integration of ‘Heritage’ in ‘Smart City’ I:
– Ms Shikha Jain, Director, DRONAH and Convener, INTACH Haryana Chapter;
– Ms Ritu Deshmukh, Principal, Bhrati Vidyapeeth College of Architecture, Navi Mumbai
2.30 Integration of ‘Heritage’ in ‘Smart City’ II:
– Pondicherry – Mr A. K. Das, Convenor, INTACH Puducherry Chapter
3.00 Smart City, Smart Traffic – Ms Sanskriti Menon, Programme Director, Centre for Environmental Education
3.15 How to make heritage ‘Smart Heritage’? – Ms. Tejaswi Mehta, Training Assistant, INTACH Heritage Academy
4.15 Interactive Session – Moderated by Mr Navin Piplani
DAY 3: Stakeholders in ‘Smart Heritage’
10.00 Aspects of Smart Heritage – Framework, Policy and Implementation – learnings from international experience – Ms Tejaswi Mehta
11.00 Role of Smart Technologies in Assessing Heritage – Dr. Dinesh Katre, Associate Director & HoD, Center for Development and Advanced Computing
12.00 What does the idea of Smart Heritage mean for:
(1) Conservation – Mr. Sharvey Dhongde, Co-Convenor, INTACH Pune Chapter
(2) Management – Mr. Shyam Dhawale, Executive Engineer, Ex HoD of Heritage Cell, Pune Municipal Corporation
(3) Visitor Experience – Mr Kiran Kalamdani, Conservation Architect and Urban Planner, Pune
(4) Interpretation – Ms Kavita Murugkar, Architect, Assistant Professor and Universal Design and Accessibility Expert, Pune
2.15 Role of Institutions in Smart Heritage – Dr Shubhada Kamalapurkar, Professor and Academic Head, BNCA, Pune
3.00 Summary of the sessions
3.45 Valedictory Function – Mr Rajendra Jagtap, CEO, PSCDCL
4.00 Farewell Tea
Mr Navin Piplani
Navin is a conservation architect, currently appointed as Principal Director of INTACH Heritage Academy, New Delhi. He took up this post after the completion of his role as the Hamlyn-Feilden Fellow and Director of Studies at the Centre for Conservation Studies, Department of Archaeology, University of York. Navin also runs his architecture conservation practice in Delhi and has acquired knowledge, expertise and skills by working on a range of projects in India and Europe. Since 2002, he has worked as a core member of the Taj Mahal Conservation Collaborative, a multi-disciplinary team of heritage professionals, engaged in the conservation of the World Heritage Site of Taj Mahal. In 2004, Navin assisted Professor A.G. Krishna Menon, an eminent conservationist, for the preparation of the INTACH Charter for the Conservation of Unprotected Architectural Heritage and Sites in India. He has lectured at several academic institutions and professional organisations in India and overseas. Navin is the Vice President of ICOMOS International Training Committee (CIF) and National Scientific Councilor of ICOMOS India. He has researched and published widely on heritage conservation education, training and capacity building.
Dr Shikha Jain
Shikha Jain has vast experience in the cultural heritage of India that ranges from steering conservation projects and museum planning for various state governments to preparing conservation plans funded by international organizations such as the Getty Foundation, World Monuments Fund and advising the Archaeological Survey of India on World Heritage. As Director, DRONAH, she has lead more than 40 conservation projects across India in last 10 years and has represented India as a Cultural Heritage expert and steered all matters related to World Heritage as Member Secretary, Advisory Committee on World Heritage to the Ministry of Culture during India’s term in the World Heritage Committee from 2011-2015. She is also the State Convener of INTACH Haryana Chapter and member of two National Committees under the Ministry of Culture. She is Coordinator for National Scientific Committee ICOFORT, ICOMOS India and a member of the International Scientific Committee ICOFORT.
Mr A.K. Das
In a career spanning over 47 years as a Civil Engineer, he has been a key person in various City planning, Architecture, Structural Engineering and Construction Management projects. He has been involved in Auroville, L&T and Townships of Kudremukh Iron Ore, Salem Steel, Vizag Steel and all restoration projects of INTACH-Pondicherry and numerous other restoration projects in South India.
Ms Sanskriti Menon
Sanskriti Menon is Programme Director, Urban Programmes, at Centre for Environment Education (CEE). CEE is a national institute set up in 1984 as a centre of excellence of the Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change. Sanskriti leads a team of about 30 at the CEE offices in Goa, Chhattisgarh, MP and Maharashtra for school-based environmental education, education for biodiversity conservation, urban issues like transportation and waste, and participatory governance. She is Convenor of the Board of Studies of Environment Education of the Maharashtra HSC Board and on the Board of Studies for Sustainable Development of the Savitribai Phule Pune University. She has experience in designing and implementing a range of programmes for public education, citizens’ engagement, multi-stakeholder deliberation, etc. using a range of communication tools. Projects she has led include public engagement for a bus rapid transit system, for preparation of a bicycle plan, initiating and anchoring a network of NGOs on sustainable mobility, setting up a citizenship and environment education centre as a public facility.
Ms Tejaswi Mehta
Tejaswi Mehta is the Training Assistant at INTACH Heritage Academy, New Delhi. She received her second Master’s in Conservation Studies (Historic Buildings) from University of York, United Kingdom. She secured her first Master’s in Ancient Indian History, Culture and Archeology from St. Xavier’s College (Autonomous), Mumbai. She is a history enthusiast and has worked at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sanghralaya (formerly Prince of Wales Museum), Mumbai as an Art Conservation Assistant. Her current role allows her to work in the field of sustainable heritage-linked economies coordinate research activities; plan event, workshops, conferences etc for IHA.
Ms Ritu Deshmukh
She is the Principal of Bharati Vidyapeeth College of Architecture, Navi Mumbai and was the coordinator of the Architectural Studies stream and also ran the post-graduate courses of Urban Planning and Environmental Conservation, YCMOU, Nashik affiliated. She is involved in value addition of students of Architecture, giving them maximum exposure to the field and allied subjects in this Maximum city of Mumbai. She has also conducted Study Tours in India and abroad.
Dr Dinesh Katre
Dr Dinesh Katre has spearheaded many sponsored R&D projects dealing with digital preservation, virtual museums, e-learning, interactive game design, multimedia authoring, interaction design and usability. Presently, he is Chief Investigator for Centre of Excellence for Digital Preservation, which is a flagship project under the Indian National Digital Preservation Programme. He successfully established and managed National Multimedia Resource Centre at C-DAC during 1998-2008. He is a member of International Expert Committee of UNESCO Memory of the World responsible for defining the Standard Setting Instrument on Digital Preservation at Warsaw, Poland in June 2014, which will soon be adopted by all member countries.
Ms Ashwini Pethe
She is a professor at Bharati Vidyapeeth College of Architecture. She is actively engaged with social trusts like Janaseva Foundation and professional bodies such as IIA, FEED and Constro. Being an urban designer she has been contributing to the city’s public spaces in various ways. She was one of the team members who designed Pune Arts Plaza at the Bund Garden Bridge. Most importantly she has groomed the movement of Pune Biennale, since its inception, in the capacity of convener and program director.
Mr Kiran Kalamdani
Having completed over a 100 projects of various sizes our most prestigious and successful works include New Annexe at Council Hall premises; Conservation of the Council Hall Building; ‘Revitalizing Environs of Shaniwarwada Pune’, Recycling Vishrambagwada, School for Maharashtra Vidya Mandal at Law College Road, and some of the ongoing projects are for Renewal of Vegetable Markets in Pune admeasuring 5,00,000 square feet; Memorial for Savitribai Phule at Mahatma Phule Peth and Conservation of Tulshibag, Theur Ganpati Mandir, Kalewada at Baramati etc. Kimaya’s goal is to provide timely professional and result oriented services in new build as well as Conservation.
Ms Kavita Murugkar
A strong proponent of Universal Design, Kavita Murugkar is an architect and associate professor who has set up a Research and Training Centre for Universal Design at BNCA for promoting people-centric and inclusive design education and practice. She is empanelled as an Accessibility Expert and Access Auditor by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment and the Department for Empowerment of People with Disabilities.
Dr Shubhada Kamalapurkar
She is the Founder-member of B N College of Architecture, Pune and Founder Member and Former Head of the Dept of Landscape Architecture, Savitribai Phule Pune University (2006-2015).She is currently Academic Head at the Institute. She is also the active Member of INTACH, Pune Chapter, and Member of ICOMOS and National Scientific Committee Member for Cultural Tourism and Cultural Landscapes.
Aspects of Visitor Experience
Mr Kiran Kalamdani, Conservation Architect and Urban Planner, Pune
In this presentation we have analyzed the same at site (Shaniwarwada), precinct (Heritage Corridor), and district levels (Pune) While the word ‘Heritage’ was not included in any of the development plans that were made by planners in the 1980s and 1990s for the Pune Municipal Corporation or Pune Region, it was for the first time included under the JNNURM as a Heritage Toolkit. It was not taken very seriously and completely ignored by PMC in the Smart Cities Mission as well as through its importance is growing in public consciousness as observed in all walks of life. To consider Heritage as a non-renewable resource and use it positively wherever possible is a value addition in any balanced development. Visitor Experience is always a prime consideration in driving projects and their details. Its assessment at various levels reveals the need for inputs needed at those levels.
- Visitor Experience is a function of the following aspects:
- Expectations of the visitor community
- Merits of the Conditions of the place(s) being visited
- Facilities available at the venue(s)
- Evaluation of the experience and its sharing with others
Expectations of the visitor community
- Conditioned by cultural background, information given by media and people, predictability, unexpected takeaways.
- When compared to actual experience results in opinion-formation positive or negative and leads to branding of the site or the experience
Merits of the Conditions of the place(s) being visited
- Historic importance or Heritage Value explained concisely and accurately
- Authenticity and scale of the experience
- Time to be spent for exploration and aspects not elaborated in various media
- Impact it makes on the visitor based on the cultural background
Facilities available at the venue(s)
- Welcome experience
- Sufficient information about time needed, physical effort, preparedness, meanings etc.
- Aids available such as audio-visual, conveniences, ease and cost of ticketing including discrimination if any
- Evaluation of the experience & its sharing with others
A result of comparison with expectations and the actual experience
- Pleasant/unpleasant surprises, takeaways etc
- Recording as speech, written words, audio-visual media, sketches etc.
The case studies used to demonstrate the ideas expressed included the 29 year old ongoing project of Shaniwarwada as a joint venture of the Archaeological Survey of India, Pune Municipal Corporation and the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation which has achieved some successes though a lot remains to be done. The ensuing discussion with the CEO of the Smart City Mission Dr Rajendra Jagtap evinced keen interest and long term commitment to inclusion of the aspects of Heritage in the agenda for smart cities. The vision statement submitted by Kimaya as a voluntary exercise for the conservation of Pune’s Heritage (Built, Natural Material and Intangible) in 2008, using the Heritage Toolkit under the JNNURM, which has not received serious examination or commitment was once again reiterated. As the newly stipulated statutory backing to the cause of heritage and the 2% financial commitment to fund Heritage projects and programmes was a positive new development that the newly appointed Head of the Heritage Cell, Mrs Harshada Shinde was the right person to take the cause of heritage forward and expand the Heritage Cell into a Heritage Department with better staffing, systems and people’s support.
Benares: Learning from Traditional Indian Cities
Ms Ritu Deshmukh, Principal, Bharati Vidyapeeth College of Architecture, Navi Mumbai
Benares or Kashi has been a very important religious city since ages. In this era of globalization, various forces like social, economic and political have been exerting tremendous pressure on cities to conform to the global trends of standardization in the process of the built environment. Benares has been a complex city for ages with layers of history and mythology added to it over a period of time. The whole landscape has evolved around the River Ganges and the temple of Shiva which is the magnet that brings people to this holy city. To the north of this city is also the important Buddhist centre of Sarnath, which also attracts several Buddhist Pilgrims into the city. A layer of history also has a Mughal building the Alamgir Mosque along the Ghats. But, the city has seen it all and still going strong, with the popularity and numbers increasing exponentially in the last decade.
Tourism is also attracting innumerable travellers to visit this holy city with different agendas like- for pilgrimage, for experiencing the local life, for learning Indian languages and customs, for learning yoga, for becoming a disciple of some akhada guru, for the rich traditions of music, weaving, arts and crafts and so on. This has been a major driver for change in social, economic factors in Benares. The river has been a life giver since ages in this city and it is the only place where the transition between land and water has been addressed as ghats stretching across 7 kilometres. The steps are adapting to highly variable water levels as well as to sacred and profane functions. Over the centuries, the waterfront has been developed by various Royal families which have given the character and skyline to the ghats.
In 2006, I started working on the City of Benares along with Prof Serge Sentelli of School of Architecture, Paris Belleville and Prof Savita Raje, MANIT, Bhopal for preparing a dossier for UNESCO to include Benares as a World Heritage Site which was being spearheaded by Ms Vrinda Dar and Dr P.B. Rana. Due to several reasons, twice such attempts have been made and have been unsuccessful. It is sad that none of the decision makers or stakeholders wishes to work to safeguard the character of the city and understand the true essence of Benares is the way of life, the chaos, the complexities and the richness in traditions. I was visiting this Indian City for the first time though having heard of its existence and unique character through my professors and colleagues and having read about it in books. This is the time I realized that the best way to learn about a city is through such engagement and intense study and since then we have studied almost 7 Indian Cities in the past decade.
Benares has been declared as a Smart City, but unfortunately, in the race for improving infrastructure and streetscape, we might lose the character of the city. Today, we are talking about Smart Cities and these Heritage cities are put under the scanner to be developed as a model which is devoid of understanding of the character of the place and what makes these places unique. In areas where the Smart Cities concept is being applied to a new location, not taking into account the Old area, the question does not arise of identity and retaining the character of the place.
The concept of Smart Heritage can be a way forward as it takes into account the character of the place and suggests certainly plausible solutions for the same without disengaging with the inherent footprint of the city or the area to be dealt with. The past two years have also seen a sea change in the cleanliness of the city and the ghats along with a major decision of declaring River Ganges as a Living Entity.
In an attempt to sensitize the current generation of architecture students about the resilience which Benares has always stood for, we decided to take up the study of this Resilient City Benares and make the students learn about the way the city has grown and evolved over the age. Globalization has swept through the various diverse cultures, displacing people‘s sense of place and bringing a consumerist homogenization of cultural experience, thus wiping out locally defined cultures which had constituted our identities.
In this ever-changing scenario, Design education is also following suit and it is a big challenge to educate our coming generation of architects about the preservation of their cultural identity and the sense of place of the citizens against the indifferent standardization. It is a well-established fact that Change is the only permanent Virtue of Life. This virtue sets life in motion and doesn’t allow stagnancy. In his Incomplete Manifesto, Bruce Mao says, “When the outcome drives the process, we will only go to where we’ve already been”. If process drives the outcome we may not know where we’re going, but we will know we want to be there. The process, when it comes to the Architectural Design Studio is often underplayed. The conventional Design studio celebrating self-expression and being outcome driven prepares the students for problem-solving but mostly fails to sensitize students to develop an understanding of the context. Globalization and standardization in the name of it are stripping people of the unique experience and identify the attribute to a contextually sound, culturally rich place. Brutal urbanization in practice coupled with form worshipping, contextually largely insensitive design studio pose a potential threat to the future generation architects being reduced to mere virtual designers lacking sensory skills. In an attempt to expose the budding architect to the intangibles seldom confronted by the conventional studio holistically; to recondition his/her existing rose tinted notions about architecture being reduced to revering iconic and to smear his understanding of space, activity and people beyond tangibles, Bharti Vidyapeeth’s College of Architecture, Navi Mumbai, India, ENSAPLV, France and Namseoul University, South Korea collaborated over a Design Studio that is conducted in culturally rich and diverse cities all over the country once every year.
In the First year of study, we have focused on studying about the interface between the Land and Water and the activities performed along with it. This led to the linking of the Ghats with the neighbourhoods and how the character of these neighbourhoods was shaped by the activities on the Ghats was an interesting learning for us. Indo-French-Korean workshop is an annual workshop which conducts a studio in various cities across the country with the intent of excogitation of progressive and organic sequels to the process of architectural documentation and analysis. Spanning over two and a half weeks, the live studio in Banaras (2016) drew focus on deliberations upon micro-environments and all the parameters of a live site. The cynosure was shifted from the common studio culture of problem decoding and solution-oriented design approaches to the understanding of context and all the underlying intangible aspects of a place such as a timeline, culture, heritage, and ethnicities. For the outcome to be organic, deliverables were undefined and a scrutiny-oriented, open-ended approach was rendered to the process of documentation. This course of action, although un-orchestrated remained orderly by the culture of discussion and discourse. Benares being a cult in itself presented the students with brilliant opportunities to comprehend cultural homogeneity and diversity beautifully blended.
The point I am trying to bring across is that there has to be an interaction between Academia and Consultants and if they collaborate with Institutions, they would gain better insight of the sites and really work on some smart solutions for the age-old cities which have so much to offer to the world in terms of resilience and learning. It would make life easier for Consultants to provide speedier design solutions and policies and the institute partner can pride themselves on the fact that they contributed to the larger cause of nation building and this exercise is not going to remain an academic exercise only.
Another suggestion was to make a universal pool of all data related to Indian Cities which can be subscribed and shared then. This would really help researchers, consultants, policy makers, students and Academicians as well to get an insight into the studies done. The quality can be screened and even a format can be worked out for standardizing the documentation work, though it is always interesting to follow different enquiry modes of research.
Our Indian Cities have a lot of learning to be taken and I hope my suggestions can help us develop some sort of common grounds to bring all of this together for a really Smart City whilst protecting and nurturing our very Smart Heritage.
Role of Institutions in Smart Heritage of a Smart City
Dr Shubhada Kamalapurkar, Professor and Academic Head, BNCA, Pune, India
Smart city’s Smart heritage is about generating innovations and creating economic opportunities in the specific context of art, culture and heritage; with the support of technologies and within the newer context of smart cities.
Road map to ‘Smart Heritage of a Smart City ’starts with understanding the importance and taking pride in our heritage, then defining the local community, studying the local community of the city to know citizens, their needs, their unique attributes especially in terms of education, art, culture and associations with heritage; then define the benefits to the citizens; based on this, define goals and objectives, create plans and strategies to achieve the goals and finally engage citizens and harness technologies to improve quality of life and economic benefits associated with the heritage of a Smart City. In the context of Pune Smart City Mission, are we really understanding our city, the heritage of the city, its citizens, their cultural aspirations, citizen’s needs and benefits to them? Are the Authorities involving the citizens in the best way possible in the process of evolution of the Smart city or just hosting stakeholder’s consultative meets? Currently, Pune is seen to be evolving in one direction, while Heritage is moving in the reverse direction. There is a big divide between heritage and city since Pune Smart city proposal does not look at the inner core city, but beyond it. Currently, problems related to heritage include lack of pride in city’s heritage, lack of Comprehensive approach and Multi-Level co-ordination in Management of the Heritage, Poor Economics of Heritage, Adaptive reuse of heritage structures and lack of Community Engagement.
In this context, Institutions can play a pivotal role as major part of the community of Pune; Pune which is also known as ‘Oxford of the East’.
Institutions in this context are related to fields of Heritage, Archaeology, Architecture, Engineering, Management, Arts and Commerce and Other interdisciplinary courses, Museums, Archives and Libraries. Institutions have great potential and lot to offer in terms of Human Resource, Intellectual capital, Youth taskforce, Innovations, Creativity, Expertise, Research, Technological know-how, Multi-disciplinary and Interdisciplinary interactions; International and national connections and Collaborations with various Institutes and Organisations. Youth are an important section of society and Institutes which has majority youth can play a major role in educating the youth, making them aware of their roles and responsibilities in heritage preservation, conservation and Promotion; developing their appreciation and respect for cultural diversity; and deepening their understanding about heritage.
Ways to engage youth in heritage include increasing youth to youth communication, creating platform for sharing of ideas and experiences through pictures, videos, essays on forums, conferences and workshops; devising Plays, workshops, story-telling to disseminate information and designing Community engagement projects to create awareness about the issue of sustainable management for Heritage sites. Young ambassadors need to be created to help set the goals in motion. Currently, emerging technologies as VR immersive experience environments or augmented reality could be tapped opening an array of opportunities to improve heritage education through Edutainment. Social Heritage App could be designed to get individuals close to their heritage. Social platforms like facebook, twitter etc could be tapped for building networks, collaborating across cultures, marketing and dissemination of information.
Institutions can also serve as ‘Research labs’ for conducting surveys and providing data support. Processes like generating economic opportunities for those owning heritage structures, promoting and marketing the art and craft of the city could be easily done through these modern and popular mediums. Young and senior professionals, students and researchers can impressively contribute to collective thinking, generating innovative ideas and initiating collective Action.
Some Consultancy and Studio-based initiatives of Research, Form and Material explorations, Community Engagement in context of the heritage were shared. Innovative projects of generating awareness include ‘Know your carbon footprint’ in the Core city of Pune where students of Architectural colleges in Pune conducted a survey to estimate the level of Carbon Emissions. This was an awareness generation activity, making students think about their lifestyle and architectural design choices. Another Innovative project involved citizens’ engagement through Bottom-up approach for the project ‘Pedestrian friendly Street design through Deliberative Democracy processes for Dattawadi Area, Pune.’ This Activity aimed to involve government agencies and strengthen local capacities to undertake transport planning for walking and cycling facilities. This involved processes through which various stakeholders collaborated, deliberated more effectively and designed their own environments. The third project mentioned was use of Sensor-based technologies in design of efficient Heritage walks and giving other smart solutions for ‘Pune Smart Tourism Plan’
Summing up, Can We Think About ‘Our Institutions’ As ‘Smart City’s Lab’, Opening opportunities for –
- Collective thinking
- Creative ideas
Thus reaching out to and involving the Communities spreading awareness of our cultural resources – tangible and intangible and increasing our city’s resilience through innovative minds, technologies and synergies put together.
UNIVERSAL ACCESS TO HISTORIC SITES – A CORE VALUE OF SMART HERITAGE
One of the important goals of any Smart City Plan is to conserve and promote the city’s tangible and intangible heritage using technology and innovative ideas and facilitate equal access and participation to all to enjoy and experience the cultural and historical resources of the city. However, all conservation and heritage tourism promotion initiatives remain focused only on the able-bodied visitors, missing out on incorporating the needs of the diverse types of visitors with differences ranging due to age, culture, gender, language and abilities. Social inclusion can be fostered through engaging in heritage, but it remains a key challenge for heritage policy makers, managers and conservationists. Particularly, needs of people with disabilities are seldom taken into consideration in heritage conservation and management and thus most of the times depriving them of experience heritage satisfactorily, primarily due to lack of physical and intellectual accessibility that meets their needs. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the UNESCO-ICOMOS charters have mandated the need to make world heritage sites, national monuments and historical sites accessible to all including people with disabilities. They recommend the application of universal accessibility to heritage sites in conservation policy but with poor execution on the ground till date.
Changes to the historic environment are guided by conservation theories and principles in which disability interests are not formally represented (Goodall, Brian, 2006). Mostly because any adaptation of a heritage environment to accommodate contemporary needs of the society like accessibility measures for the disabled, has been perceived as a threat to its historical and architectural values. However, recent research discussing new concepts about heritage and its conservation which stresses on the humanitarian approach may constitute vectors of change towards creating inclusive Heritage sites. Heritage is now regarded as universal cultural resources, belonging to all people including people with disabilities and visitor management charters for heritage sites stress on ensuring physical, intellectual and emotive access to all visitors irrespective of their differences (ICOMOS, 1999).
Improved access to a city’s cultural heritage has many benefits such as it makes the city more dynamic and attractive to the locals and tourists as well. It increases visitor footfall and thereby increases its economic profit and growth, generates more employment and revenue for the local communities and can also provide greater financial means for conservation and urban regeneration. But most importantly, universal access to heritage enhances the visitor experience and cements communities around fundamental principles of democracy and equal opportunity for all.
Under the Government of India’s flagship effort “The Accessible India Campaign”, the Archeological undertook an extensive access audit and survey recently of 100 monuments across the entire country to enhance universal accessibility at heritage sites. As a universal design and heritage specialist engaged on this work, a detailed assessments of the present condition and challenges to physical and informational access in Heritage sites in India was carried out, and based on the findings and study of best global practices, site-specific strategies were worked out to provide access to varied site conditions without compromising with the authenticity and the integrity of the site. An all-encompassing accessibility plan was worked out for each site, to offer physical accessibility, intellectual accessibility and more with use of digital and smart technology. The plan is grounded in the experience that one seeks from visiting a historic site, focusing on the abilities of the visitor rather than the disability. In certain cases, where access presents a serious environmental challenge, people assisted access or virtual access has also been considered as an important alternative.
The need of the hour is to consider Universal Access as a core value of Smart Heritage in Smart Cities and as a means to facilitate a hedonic experience without barriers for all, while at the same time preserving the historical originality, integrity and authenticity of the site. Smart technologies if adopted and integrated into the visitor management plans can enable and enhance access to heritage for persons with disabilities through compatible interventions that ensure there is no loss in the reason why people visit heritage sites. Lastly, any heritage resource can be termed ‘Smart’ only if it allows total participation in the promotion of cultural heritage and builds place identity and social inclusion through accessibility and use of smart technologies.
Key guidelines asked during the event:
- “What are the minimum criteria for inclusion of Heritage in Indian cities?” Ritu Deshmukh, Principal, BVCOA, Navi Mumbai
- “Is ‘Smart Heritage’ very technology driven?” Ritu Deshmukh, Principal, BVCOA, Navi Mumbai
- “Why not sensitize/ introduce heritage issues from primary schools? This will make users smart?” Ritu Deshmukh, Principal, BVCOA, Navi Mumbai
- “Is the government thinking about ‘Smart Heritage’ as lots of cities have sidelined the historic cores?” Ritu Deshmukh, Principal, BVCOA, Navi Mumbai
- “Is the population of India the biggest hurdle when it comes to exercising the things such as kiosks on bicycle booths, etc. which are considered to be solutions to make heritage smart? Although we take these examples from the west is t really relevant in India?” Ashwini Bapat, Assistant Professor, BVCOA, Navi Mumbai
- “What can be minimum criteria of ‘Smart Heritage’ in Indian scenarios to be included in ‘Smart City’ planning?” Dr Yogesh Pisolkar, Assistant Professor, Symbiosis Centre for Management Studies, Pune
- “What is Shikha Jain’s opinion about National monument Act which imposes no development zone around National monuments?” Sanjay Kumbhare, BVCOA, Navi Mumbai
- “How can we initiate the ‘Smart Heritage’ process in smaller cities with lost heritage? Like in Jabalpur, we have a very strong history which dates back to the 10th century of Kalachuris dynasty, but now we have very few structural evidences left. How can we retain/regain/reconnect that heritage with the people?” Medha Dube, M.Arch (Conservation), Jabalpur, M.P.
- “Why cannot we use the laser technology on marble/ wood monuments? Since laser technology is quick and non-time consuming, if this technology is applied on Taj Mahal it would reduce labour precision techniques and also save time, so why cannot it be used?” Juie kulkarni, Deccan College Research and Post-Graduate Institute (Heritage Sites Management and Scientific Conservation), Pune
- “Are there any drawbacks of virtual data saving for museums?” Juie kulkarni, Deccan College Research and Post-Graduate Institute (Heritage Sites Management and Scientific Conservation), Pune
- “I am not against technology, but I feel it is just helping us in making our lives better but WE need to be SMART in order to use the technology in an efficient manner.” Pournima Agarkar, Research Assistant, Laya Resources Center