Architectural Degradation

Post September floods saw massive construction work taking place in Kashmir. There is no alley or street or a road that is free from construction material scattered all over.  Usually winter is not an ideal season to construct new structures in Kashmir. But floods have changed many things in Kashmir including priorities and perceptions. While there is no official scanner on reconstruction of residential houses, commercial establishments are required to get proper permission and approval from the concerned authorities. Last time it was during peak militancy times when such a large scale construction took place in Kashmir. It went mostly unaccounted for. People chose spots and designs according to their convenience, without any regard for the law of the land.

And as a resultant we have architectural disasters starting at us from almost all corners of the valley. There was no way to correct our mistakes unless some divine intervention has forced us to rebuild on a massive scale. But we could have corrected our mistakes in post flood reconstruction. Unfortunately that did not happen. But once again we have abandoned our traditional architecture and adopted a semi-modern concept that does not suit our culture and environment. New structures that have come up post floods make extensive use of glass in construction. Glass reflects heat and is used for keeping a building cool during summers. But more than summers Kashmir has a long and harsh winter. That we all tend to forget. These glass-houses does not sink into the overall scenery and stand out like ugly structures. There is no aesthetic consideration as well. With no proper planning in place our cities look more like concrete jungles with glasses. There is need to have some sort of uniformity in design which complements the overall scenery of a place. No world class city in the world is built on the ruins of its history; rather history is preserved in such a way that it complements the modern spaces and structures.

In our quest to become modern and follow the world we have ignored our rich heritage. If we keep on raising structures like we are doing right now, without any regard for the aesthetics and beauty, then soon we will be left with no architectural history.

There is immediate need to stop this mindless construction boom and put in place a system that will help in rebuilding our cities, towns and village in such a way that they become living examples of our heritage.

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