Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Sabarmati River Front

French architect, Bernard Kahn had proposed in 1966, a project to make the riverfront beautiful, attractive and useful. The Municipal Corporation studied the project and consulted experts. Then 'Sabarmati Riverfront Development Corporation Ltd' was established. This corporation has taken up the work of making the Sabarmati River Front attractive and beautiful at the cost of 1,502 crore rupees.

The Sabarmati Riverfront Development project will transform Ahmedabad's historic but neglected river into a vibrant and vital focus of the city. The project consists of several linked initiatives aimed at addressing many environmental and social problems of the riverfront.

The Sabarmati Riverfront Development Project began as an urban renewal project to significantly improve the spatial structure and habitat conditions of the river and adjoining areas. This project aims to transform Ahmedabad’s historic yet neglected river into a vibrant and vital focus for the city. Ideas for the development of the Sabarmati River began with proposals in the early 1960s. In 1997, the Sabarmati Riverfront Development Corporation Ltd. (SRFDCL) was formed byt the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation and construction began in 2004.

The development project encompasses both banks of the Sabarmati for a 10.5 kms. stretch, creating approximately 185 hectares of reclaimed land. The Fatewadi Canal is fed by water stored in the Vasna Barrage through releases from the Narmada Canal, this made it possible to store water in the river for irrigation purposes - enabling a public waterfront. The project includes water management systems to minimize flooding in traditionally flood-prone areas and to clean up the Sabarmati with new sewage treatment infrastructure. These include providing interceptor sewer lines along both banks of the river to divert sewage to Ahmedabad’s two sewage treatment plants; and building retaining walls which will protect the low-lying areas near the riverbanks from flooding.
The Vasna Barrage and Narmada Canal have already made it possible to retain water in the river through out the year. Diaphragm walls in the bed of the river and retaining walls along both the sides will create a channel for the river, prevent erosion of the river banks, protect the city from flooding and allow some land to be reclaimed for the city. The embankments on the either side of the river is designed to provide wide walkways and Ghats. After its completion, the citizens will soon be able to enjoy walks and boat rides along the river.

The reclaimed land will be put to various uses. e.g. parks and gardens, housing, public institutions and private commercial developments. The Sabarmati Riverfront Development project will give Sabarmati back to the residents of Ahmedabad and spur-regeneration of the city.

A key element of the project is a new linear two-level promenade. The lower promenade with a minimum width of 10 meters, will be just above water level, providing uninterrupted pedestrian access to the water. The upper promenade will host a variety of public buildings, cultural and educational institutions, public parks and plazas and a few areas for commercial development, while new traffic infrastructure will connect the riverfront to the city.

The project aspires to create a unique identity for Ahmedabad by creating a unique skyline for the city. Being a landmark project with far reaching impacts, it is the backbone for rejuvenating inner city neighborhoods adjacent to the riverfront project, thereby spurring future developments within the city.