If one ever wished to dabble in India, to have just a teaspoon, one should sample India Lite, aka Chandigarh. It has all the taste of India, with half the beggars, trash, and touts. The result of a 1950's one-night stand between East Berlin and suburbia USA, Chandigarh is like no city I have witnessed. As a whole, it is without density, variety or eccentricity; and the beauty of exposed concrete is diluted by its overuse and subsequent lack of maintenance. The sector scale possesses a familiar aura of pleasant suburban homeliness, with the assemblage of varying materiality and form, thus bringing about visual stimulation. This, I believe, is where Chandigarh is most successful. However, the sum of the whole is not greater than its parts, as the accumulation of sectors results in a vast desert, often with no sidewalks, and accessible only by the automobile.
As the 1950s believed in the future of the automobile, so did Corbu, but so much so that Chandigarh is still bound to her asphalt today. No light rail or tram system exists, as there lacks the density to permit such expenditures. The vast amount of beautiful green space goes widely under utilized, let alone maintained. The result- pockets of overgrown cow pastures with rusty playground extremities.
Chandigarh is home to many wealthy patrons. Similarities could be drawn between the hills of Hollywood and the Northern streets of Sector 7. The homes are complete with armed guards, and branded like cattle with marble and brass plaques proclaiming their names and capitalist ranks. Every home is tinted to some extent, some more than others, with a pinch of Corbu. It is here within the sector where variety and wealth flourish.
Sector 17, the "heart of the city" shopping district
The beautiful, yet underutilized rose garden
The inner shopping district of Sector 7
A tiny stream cuts through the entire city creating its green belt
A common site on the suburban streets of the inner sector
An Indo Inquisition is a thirteen-week train expedition across India. The journey will document the influences of international modernism and British occupation, as well as compare the effects of wealth accumulation, culture, religion, and poverty with economic growth and their effect on the built environment.