chapter  13
Getting the city back to its people: conservation and management of historic Ahmedabad, India
Pages 16

The personality and the character of a city are formed as the result of centuries of growth, in the course of which new elements are constantly juxtaposed with older ones. Historic buildings and neighbourhoods of the city should be looked upon as assets rather than liabilities because they represent the history of communities, embodying their tradition, heritage and culture through architecture and the urban form. Most Indian cities have a long history, strong architectural and urban character, and have been places of life, vitality, power, enlightenment and culture. However, they have been marginalized in the process of urban growth, neglect that brought decay, and depressed economic conditions that led to people moving to newer areas. In the absence of any signifi cant state effort to stop or reduce the decline of these areas that are vital for the local identity and continuity, an alternative way of utilizing community resources and initiatives through community participation for managing, regenerating and redeeming the quality of these areas from deterioration is called for. In this chapter, I discuss such an initiative being implemented in historic Ahmedabad, India.