Calcutta used to be called a city of palaces. Surprised? You shouldn’t be. Not that long ago, Calcutta had views and vistas like the ones below, illustrated by the Daniells:
I love Calcutta. And it’s rare that I meet someone who’s lived there and who doesn’t share that love. Yet, as the city has evolved over the years, even the biased observer would be forced to admit that not everything is perfect.
I’ve had the opportunity to spend time in many great cities over the years; there’s something about them that continues to fascinate me.
The writings of two incredible people, Jane Jacobs and Christopher Alexander, if anything, served to accentuate and sharpen my interest. I would particularly cite The Death and Life of Great American Cities and A Pattern Language to those who are interested.
For many years now, I’ve wondered what it would feel like to build a great city from scratch. How to make sure it is alive, organic, adaptable, real. Now, thanks to friend Sabeer Bhatia, I have the chance to find out, albeit vicariously.
He thinks big. Very big. He’s taken on an amazing project, Nanocity. Here’s a quote from the web site:
To develop a sustainable city with world class infrastructure and to create an ecosystem for innovation leading to economy, ecology and social cohesion
Go take a look at the site and try and understand the scale of the project. 11,000 acres, the size of Manhattan, between two rivers. A stone’s throw from Delhi.
Sabeer thinks big. And I wish him well.