Imagining the future is always fun. As we mark 75 years of India’s independence and look towards the big milestone of 100, it’s hard not to wonder what the world will look like in 2047. The generation that came of age soon after independence in 1947 put the country first, yet could not have imagined the changes it has undergone, as we learn in one of the articles in Lounge this week. We are taking the leap, though, and believe that 25 years from now, the city is still likely to be central to our lives. There is no reversing urbanisation, no matter what idealised notions one may have of the bucolic life.
In the cover story, as we explore the future of Indian cities, we look at the possibilities ahead of us and the challenges inherent in change. How we choose to plan and build these urban spaces will be a reflection of how we choose to live—with heterogeneity, inclusivity, vibrancy and multifunctionality. Architects will have to reimagine the cityscape, not just in terms of technology and futuristic design, but also to accommodate the social, political and ecological concerns of the day.
Artists, architects and designers tell Lounge what they think the cities of the future will look like and the issues that will shape their spread. It does seem a bit utopian to imagine cities of the future bringing together the built and natural environment and helping all human beings reach their fullest potential, but that, essentially, would spell freedom.
It is the weekend before Independence Day, so naturally that is the theme running through most of the articles in this issue. An essay from Auroville explores the urbanism and ecology debate, asking whether the small community could have used its time to build the ideal city. In another piece, we explore memories of the past 75 years through daily objects—from the everyday steel Godrej almirah to the passports issued by a newly independent India to the early designs for spacecraft. A number of private museums and archives have started paying attention to these daily objects and we pick such ordinary things that mark moments in contemporary history. As simple as they may seem, these objects connect us to our past, creating a sense of community and shared history, all of which we need as we go forward into the next 25 years.
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Also read: What will cities of the future look like?