The historical city UNESCO World Heritage Site Bodhgaya is a religious site and place of pilgrimage associated with the Mahabodhi Temple complex, the place where Lord Buddha got Enlightenment. It is one of the most important places for Buddhism, also a source and a place for social awareness and cultural exchange. Rapid growth in tourism and local migration is the cause of organic unmanaged settlements and undisciplined activities which lead to the destruction of ecosystems and loss of biodiversity in the city.
The question is: How to bring back the natural ecosystem and biodiversity? It’s a big challenge to intersect needs and services of the citizens and tourists, whilst essential to follow the world heritage building rules and regulations in respect of the Mahabodhi Temple. To meet the sustainability challenge, it is essential to address the issue related to the current deteriorated condition of the city. The city had lost its uniqueness, peace, ecosystem and biodiversity.
The proposal tends to focus on designing re-naturalization, accommodating needs of mass tourism like spiritual worship, meditation, amusement, knowledge along with fulfilling needs of the local citizens like food, employment, education and common facilities. I consider re-naturalization as a vital element to heal the current problems of unmanaged encroached settlements, traffic problems, pollution and riverfront related issue of the city.
After accessing the problems, the city has been divided into three concentric zones. Zone 1; 0-400m, Zone 2; 400m to 800m and Zone 3; 800m to 1200m. Mahabodhi Temple has been considered as the center of the city and zones. The central zone is totally preserved for nature to facilitate the spiritual purpose along with supporting services. A few roads have been kept with restricted entry for cars to encourage more pedestrians. The core of the city is a traffic free space which allows only pedestrians, the bicycle or electric rickshaw for handicapped and elderly, thus helping reduce pollution of the inner meditation area along with maintaining the ecology.
The second ring has existing commercial and accommodation facilities supported for Tourists and Citizens. The proposal tends to promote institutional development restricting the commercial and residential new constructions. .Second ring has also rule restricted car replacing calculated public transport for the comfort of tourists and locals. Third and outer space has freedom of land use with restricted height. Mixed use development provides ample facilities and services to local and tourists.
It also has public transport and smart mobility systems provided for the Citizens and tourists. The new concept of ‘One Platform’ application has been proposed to connect locals with tourists. It will also help tourists in connecting with local security officials, GPS facilities, restaurants, hotels, ticket booking spaces and other public facilities. Pneumatic Solid waste management will play key role in keeping the city clean and maintained.
Smart garbage collection system has been proposed to meet the tourism challenges. Pavement has kinetic energy generating tiles connecting central energy storage system which will contribute a part of energy demand for the city. The concept will maximize the green vegetation to the city helping people to walk easily in harsh temperature. The Green city approach will tends to achieve sustainability in Urban design with the help of Bio-climatic principles and Technology. Source by Sidharth Associates.
- Location: Bodhgaya, India
- Architect: Sidharth Associates
- Design: Sidharth Kumar
- Presentation Expert: Viplav Goverdhan
- Project Team: Firdose basha, Goutham Santhanam
- Year: 2016
- Images: Courtesy of Sidharth Associates
Article by Marco Rinaldi