__ Experiencing a city__
Recently I was talking with a curator who spent her childhood and study years in different parts of India. She has now embraced Mumbai as her home and been staying here for more than five years. Her experience in city has been like everyone who has not been raised in this beautiful yet messy city. She was shocked by the speed, thrilled by the variety and confused by the people. She was disappointed by the fact that the city has very few open spaces to offer and that available public spaces are 'tiny' as compared with Delhi or Kolkatta. When I tried to argue that it does have beautiful streets to explore - she thought I am pulling her leg.
This conversation reinforced my belief that architects and planners experience the city very differently from others. For us, architecture and built environment provides us moments of clarity in terms of general properties of space that cannot be conveyed otherwise. Streets and roads become interesting warps and wefts which help in creating the fabric of the city. And we love to study it, analyse it and implement it. How people are meeting at junctions, how the shop fronts add texture, how street furniture is missing ( or vandalized), how the facade is inviting, etc etc But this something which a non-architect/ planner could never learn to like - maybe bits and pieces and from time to time but not always. I do not think he or she would ever have a list to visit x, y and z streets in their spare time. That's how fundamentally we experience the city contrarily - by exploring and absorbing their streets and roads.