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Adaptive Land-Water Edges in Indian Cities

Alpa Nawre, Kansas State University, Mellon Fellow 2015–2016, Spring

The Mellon Fellowship in Urban Landscape Studies at Dumbarton Oaks has been a remarkable experience that has allowed me to develop a better understanding of the flexibility and sociocultural performance of urban land-water edges in India. During my fellowship term, I studied the data collected during my field studies and developed three papers. The first compares the ponds (talaab) and river edges (ghat) in India to synthesize aspects that enable them to act as vibrant social spaces; the second analyzes the role of religious architecture at the talaab water edges; and the third explores the dual role of ghat infrastructure as a hybrid object and subject in the landscape. The Mellon Midday Dialogues were especially helpful, as they enabled me to connect with a practitioner with whom I am collaborating on a joint presentation on water landscapes for liveable cities at the American Society of Landscape Architects 2016 Annual Meeting. The fellowship has helped me not only to further the design understanding of urban water infrastructure as social landscapes but also to develop a broader perspective on better water management strategies in urban development.