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Title: Reclaiming the urban environment: mixed use architecture as a means towards urban sustainability; From efficiency to sufficiency.

Abstract: Ecological and sustainable design incorporation is about rethinking the future. The necessity of a self-sufficient sustainable neighbourhood or shelter or in a more large scaled area such as a town, are realised due to the increasing demand of energy, resources as well as shelter for each individual of  an ever-growing population such as that of our country. The word self-sufficient for a building explains that it is designed to work independently by harvesting all its energy requirements by using on site energy generators and lessening the burden over other power sources.The main objective of the dissertation would be a detailed analysis and study of all such existing endeavours leading to a prototypical typology which could act as a model for future developments.Motivation: Earth’s urban population is expected to increase 84% by the year 2050. With this current rate of expansion into the world’s biggest cities, it becomes increasingly important that we focus on how to create sustainable, clean environments for future generations that are born in urban settings.

Background: Sustainability is a profound challenge of survival at the end of an era of cheap oil and materials, to rethink and redesign how we produce and consume; to reshape how we live and work. The need of the hour is to shift the focus on how we design and consume energy into somethings that benefits us long-term.We need structures that can meet our needs as they evolve. Such a design not only reduces the dependency on natural resources, but also promotes a model of a walkable community.

There are some proposals which deal with being self-sufficient and a mixed-use typology, but not all of them end up being successful models. Analysis and scrutiny and exploration of these forms the precedent for the thesis whose end product would be a self-sufficient, mixed use, vertical mini city.Problem statement: The concept of verticality in architecture is the need of the hour, with urgency in the need for a solution. Even at the global level, the most imperative and pressing issue is to tackle environmental issues. And buildings which are existent are contributing to the problem instead of solving it. Such proposals have multi-faceted impacts on our lifestyle, community, environment, etc.Aim: To try and build a self-sufficient model/typology which acts as a mode for development while reducing its overall impact on the environment. Not only achieving environmental, social and economic sustainability, the design is going to be a resource for food and water, to make self-sufficient.

The purpose of this project is to achieve a balance between environmental and social sustainability in contemporary urban architecture.Objectives: To explore the potential of architecture in designing self-sufficient mixed use typologies.1. To encourage walkability, reduced environmental load, and bring about a sense of belonging and togetherness; a step towards it all.2. To promote liveability in the society.

3. To endorse dealing with utilities and waste responsibly.4. Socio-economically, mixed use developments meet the essential needs for housing, employment, recreation, and other societal services, while optimizing the efficiency and cutting out the daily commute.5. Balancing environmental efficiency and sufficiency with the quality of social life.

6. Aims to prevent the loss of natural greenbelts, while reducing pollution since all commuting is vertical.7. Designing mixed use developments to meet essential needs for housing, employment, recreation, and other services, optimizing the efficiency gains of centralized labour by doing away with long wasteful and polluting commutes between work and home.Design Project: Self-sufficient, vertical cityExpected Outcome: Each year, the world population is increasing at a 1.8% rate. At this rate, in the near future, all our natural resources such as energy, land, and water and food may breach the critical point. The concept significantly reduces the per capita use of land, the reliance on outside energy sources, the need to destroy the remaining greenbelts, and the CO2 emissions.

By promoting an idea of a walkable community, and a vertical community, countless area of land is being saved from getting converted to roads, and concrete jungles. Architecture goes beyond buildings. A building is a concentration of activities in a particular location which should be responsive to concrete cultural, social, economic and technological conditions. In the 21st century, the buildings are more than machines for dwelling in.

They should be living organisms, capable of interacting with their environment, following the principles of ecology or biology rather than those of mere construction. In effect, a building should be interacting with the natural networks around it, generating its own energy, and creating self-sustaining and complex ecosystems.Scope and Limitations: A lot of such projects appear as theories or in conceptual phases, and not many examples of such architecture can be found in the Indian subcontinent. So a physical case study is not probable.

Also it is quite large scaled, so phase wise developments would be ideal.Conclusion: Such proposals are already under construction in countries such as Japan and are in fact needed in a densely populated country such as India, where we are heavily dependent on our natural resources. We are currently classified as a developing nation, and such proposals would help us in rethinking ahead for the future as well.Future cities must look past immediate gain and focus on long term sustainability rather than what is happening right now. Self-sustaining developments are a feasible alternative to uncontrolled sprawl because they cap growth, nurture community, and deal with utilities and waste responsibly. Power, water, waste, and food must be generated responsibly and sustained as much as possible by the community itself and give back to the system what it can to further future growth responsibly.

Such proposals and designs have the power to impact our growth, development, standard of living and influence it in a positive manner.A vertical sprawl will make it possible to design ecological corridors and public park spaces between and linking developments.

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