Changing nature of sociability within privatized public spaces.

Author: Shivadnyi Barate | Krvia – Post Graduate Program | 2020

Key words: Sociability, Privatized public spaces, Public realm

“The new malls have contributed to the unprecedented process of fragmentation of urban structures, social relations and everyday practices of local communities, supporting the progressive erosion of public space and the unrelenting privatization of the urban landscape”( Manfredini, 2017).

The quality of public spaces in the urban are reflection of social health of the city and in turn the people residing in it. Humans being social animals, public sphere since times unknown has always acted as a platform to engage with the other, situate oneself within a similar flock, have formal- informal interactions and expand our social capital. Indian cities had a very conducive public realm, which facilitated both intended and un-intended social interactions, by virtue of their spatial settings and social structure. The phenomenon of everyone being someone’s someone, was quite natural within an inclusive public realm in Indian cities.  

However, as cities have urbanized, and have been exposed to neo-liberal markets since the early 1990’s, global cultures have penetrated into the urban, influencing not just the spatial fabric but also the “urban consciousness” (Harvey, 1989).Cultures that had their origin people centric, in which each individual had a role to play have transformed from ‘mass driven cultures’ to ‘a (singular) culture driven mass’. This transition is more derived through directing the aspirations of people to be structured in a certain class, and commodifying the need of sociability into consumption driven areas

The emergence of café culture, privatized public spaces like shopping malls, clubs, bistros and bars that revolve around consumption, have penetrated into our social lives and have become the only “spaces full of people within a city” (Sennett, 1990). It has led to a heavy compartmentalization of spaces that we position and expand our sociability into.

This research critiques the very nature of ‘inclusive’ being drained out from the public realm & Sociability- a primary need, being commodified through privatized public spaces, due to the nature of transformation of the urban fabric and shrinking public realm.

The cases for analysis have been chosen from Pune as it being the educational capital and a booming IT Hub, has been greatly influenced by global forces. The first case, Deccan an immediate suburb to the core, is an outcome of formal TP scheme developed in 1930-40. Second case Baner precinct, a gated community adjacent to Hinjewadi IT Park, developed in the early 2000’s.

Text & Image Credit: Shivadnyi barate | Krvia – Post Graduate Program | Urban Design

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