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Community Involvement in Post Disaster Cultural Regeneration – Case of Marathwada, India

Book Contribution - Chapter

The close links between social organization and the built heritage have been recognized by socialscientists, environmental psychologists, conservation professionals and planners including Patrick Geddes, Christopher Alexander, Ralph Erskine, Jane Jacobs, Rod Hackney etc. since last two decades. There is a general consensus across disciplines that people both create, and find their ways of life influenced by the cultural heritage around them. With reference to cultural heritage, studies like that of Jane Jacobs and Ebenezer Howard in his famous “Three Magnets diagram”, well emphasize the importance of interaction between the local community and built heritage. Several such authors like Kevin Lynch underline that heritage is a process and that the meaning of heritage are constantly being adapted to the changing needs of their participants. However, in some cases the adaptation could be forced than voluntary. In the aftermath of a disaster, the building process is routinely taken over by external agencies whose approach towards reconstruction is governed by considerations such as safety, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness. Reconstruction following disasters often entails dramatic changes in settlement location and morphologies, housing designs, building materials, construction processes and cohesion in the affected community. These considerations raise a number of questions that thus far have gained only limited attention. • What measures are taken to ensure the regeneration of cultural heritage in the reconstructed project?• How much is community involved in this process and how well the participation is conveyed throughout the process of reconstruction• If such participation can lead to better results. . • How conservation professionals can facilitate the cultural regeneration in the new settlement by working with the locals. These questions can only be answered through interdisciplinary longitudinal research undertaken several years after external agencies’ contribution to reconstruction has been completed. This paper aims to analyze how community participation methods undertaken for the process, helped the community to face the opportunities and challenges different settlement plans, house designs, and building technologies pose with regards to transformation processes in a post disaster scenario. It brings out results of such a research which was undertaken in 2011 in Marathwada, India following the Earthquake in 1993 which destroyed several villages in the region, as a case study to illustrate how community participation was undertaken in this particular case. The research also goes into really understanding how the people modified their houses over time bringing out key points to be considered while undertaking a reconstruction project. The paper starts by explaining the methodology undertaken for the research. It then explains the background of the case study undertaken. And then goes on bringing up the key relevant points in which role of community participation was most relevant. How it was/not undertaken, concluding the discussion with a future vision of undertaking proper steps to acknowledge and incorporate proper method of community participation in post disaster scenario.
Book: Community involvement in Heritage.
Pages: 131 - 140
Publication year:2015