The Architectural Growth of Guwahati
The growth of any big city is usually along a water body. In tune with this, the initial development that took place in Guwahati was just because of and along the Brahmaputra River.
Being the gateway to the other northeastern states, it also became a business hub.
Guwahati is not a planned city. So when we talk about the development of this city architecturally, initially everything was traditional here like any other city of Assam. And this facet still exists somewhere. But as Guwahati developed, people started migrating to this city as well. When people come from the other parts, they carry along with them their knowledge and traditions and thereby start transforming the place they have started migrating to.
Also, many of us have studied outside Guwahati. So basically we all have learned and borrowed ideas that were taught to us through our studies outside and actually planned for those places.
This makes it easier for us to implement those ideas here since education is one of the major factors that influence our ideas. In Guwahati, we have two colleges for studying architecture.
But these two colleges are teaching what they teach in the northern or western parts of India. So basically, teaching is not climate-oriented. And this is influencing our architecture as well even though much of what is taught is not even suitable for our climate.
Also, the man-made floods in Guwahati are getting worse. In the future, it will only increase. In the late 1970s or beginnings of the 1980s, there was no flood in Guwahati because at that time the rainwater used to go out through the drains. But since the time construction and developments of buildings started in the basin bowl areas like Nabin Nagar, Lachit Nagar, Zoo Road, Anil Nagar, and Rupnagar among others, these areas started to get flooded. So we have to stop those constructions first.
There is no fixed plinth level in Guwahati. The authority is raising the road level every time they repair or construct them. To match that, when a building's life span ends, people build a new one raising the height of its foundation or boundary. So the entire rainwater flows onto the roads resulting in waterlogging. The authority should first work on that. The government can maybe buy the plot from the owner and relocate them elsewhere in a well-planned manner to contain a huge amount of population clusters in a particular area.
Nobody can stop a change whether it is good or bad. But it is up to the authority to give shape to such changes. Making a garden or a riverfront park is not smart. You need to have basic infrastructure and amenities.
In the future, if you are following this trend, then it looks rather bleak. To make a city smart we have to concentrate on the important and crucial matters as well. Otherwise, it's like a dog chasing its own tail and moving round and round without catching it at all.