Integration of art in urban design for balanced rejuvenation of public spaces. A case study of Chandigarh

Tanima Bhattacharya, Joy Sen



“Urban space” exemplifies the synergy of space in an urban location and its structural or compositional elements from the social and institutional forces. Contemporary public spaces tend to perform commemorative functions related to different activities for the users, starting from physical, social, to psychological and aesthetic concerns. These public spaces add dynamism to social life; hence, public spaces need to be built in a way that promotes healthy interaction and community well-being.     However, in contemporary urban scenarios, the expeditiously booming population is deliberately encroaching the open spaces in and around the city, making it more claustrophobic, cramped, and oppressive which further affects the physical and mental health of the stakeholders. As a result, imageability and happiness associated with public and semi-public urban spaces are choking. Therefore, to cope with the situation, urban public spaces need to get rejuvenated through the infusion of the sense of connection, emotional attachment, aesthetic sensitivity that promotes public interaction and exchange. Considering the scenario, the present paper aims to explore the possibilities of integrating art in urban design to rejuvenate public spaces and promote happiness among the stakeholders. The findings of the paper argue and further establish that the installation of the artistic elements alters the visual perception of the space, activates public participation and involvement of the local community, which finally aids to rejuvenate local identity associated with the public spaces. To establish the proposed argument, the paper assesses the public spheres of the first planned city of India, namely Chandigarh, and attempts to demonstrate the potential of art elements of design along with physical infrastructure in securing happiness and urban rejuvenation. Assessment of the public spaces of Chandigarh, the happy city of India, confirms the perception that only integrated application of infrastructure and art elements of design can ensure good imageability and secure happiness through balanced urban rejuvenation.

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