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Friday, 27 April 2012

INTACH launches Centre for Conservation Training

by Anahita Mukherji, TNN | Apr 27, 2012, 04.36PM IST

NEW DELHI: On the occassion of World Heritage Day, earlier this month, the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) launched its new Centre for Conservation Training and Capacity building, possibly the first such centre in the country. The centre will be headed by conservation architect Navin Piplani, director, centre for conservation studies, University of York.

''The centre will address the training and capacity building needs for heritage conservation. It will target a wide spectrum of people, from students and young professionals to mid career professionals and traditional craftsmen,'' says Piplani.

''Heritage constitutes several aspects such as natural heritage, material heritage as well as the intangible heritage of our country. We have now introduced heritage training as a new dimension to the work we do,'' says AGK Menon, convenor of the Delhi chapter of INTACH.

The centre will be open to anybody who is interested in understanding the conservation of heritage. ''For instance, if someone is interested in heritage walks and wants to become a 'walk leader' he can get the necessary training to do so at the INTACH centre,'' says Menon.

The launch of the new centre was announced at the start of the Pupul Jayakar Memorial Lecture delivered by renowned town planner Charles Correa on cities and political will.

''There are two cities within every Indian city-the posh city and the city of the poor and the squatters,'' says Correa. Pointing to the huge disconnect between these two worlds, he said that, if inequality was not addressed, there was a chance we could go down the same path as cities like Johannesburg where crime rates and instances of mugging were high.

At a time when there has been much talk of Delhi going vertical, Correa was quick to point out that every family requires 45 sq metres of amenities such as schools, hospitals, parks and open space. ''This works out to a maximum of 225 families per hectare. To increase the number of families per hectare involves reducing the area required for the amenities per family,'' said Correa.

He pointed to several successful experiments in urbanisation across the world where densities have been increased without veritcal growth such as the cities of Europe, unlike those of the US. He pointed to vertical cities like New York, which were unaffordable for the middle-class, pushing them to the outskirts of the city.

''Only very rich whites and very poor blacks live in the city, resulting in social polarisation and high crime rates,'' he said.

Pointing to the population explosion in urban areas, he says that only 10% of India's population lived in cities in 1947, a figure that has now shot to 35%.

''This is not the first time in history that such a thing has happened. This happened in 18th and 19th century Europe, with the rural population headed to cities, where the land was not sufficient to support them. But because of colonisation, they could relocate around the world. But this is not possible for us,'' said Correa.

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