Theory & Discourse
City| Landscape: A Rumination | Sriganesh Rajendran
LA 56
Regardless of the sea, creeks, streams and a forest core, Mumbai evokes the metaphor of a 'concrete jungle'. To appreciate the city's natural landscape and ecological structure it is essential to look for clues in between its frenetic development. Transects across the city reveal a range of urban patterns and form. They also identify rocky foreshores, sandy beaches, tidal flats, marshlands, creeks and plains from the south to the north. A similar sequence is seen from the Thane creek on the east to the Arabian Sea along the west. The forested hills of Borivali National Park cohesively bind these, creating an intrinsic landscape pattern..
Intrinsic landscape

Mumbai's evolution from a natural archipelago to its present amalgamated landform is well known and forms a typical narrative beginning from the reclamation of seven islands. Peeking into prehistory takes us into a landscape that formed roughly 65 million years ago, coeval with the disappearance of dinosaurs. This landscape witnessed the Indian subcontinent's migration towards the Asian plate until 35 million years before present. Thus, a long period of sea level changes, volcanic flows and geochemistry became causal factors in the genesis of a terrain that would be seen by mapmakers from the sixteenth century onwards.
In this terrain, the relative orientation of hills in the 'Bombay islands' and Salsette, Elephanta and Trombay suggest an apparent parallelism. Broadly speaking, the eastern faces of Mumbai's hills exhibit a homogenous and compact structure, while the western sides are more weathered and heterogeneous. This influenced the siting of rock-cut caves at Salsette island (1st century BCE to 9th century CE), and the occurrence of the famed 'Kurla' and 'Malad stone' cladding seen on colonial buildings (mid-eighteenth-nineteenth century CE). The differential cooling of the lava flows created some remarkable features such as Gilbert Hill, Andheri, with its perfect polygonal columnar jointing, nearly 50 m high, while contact with sea water gave rise to 'pillow' shaped rock formations, as seen at Malabar Hill and Haji Ali. Many hillocks in the city retain only a vestigial elevation due to quarrying (e.g. Jari Mari, Hanuman Tekdi, Cumballa Hill etc.). The aforementioned Gilbert Hill-a National Geological Monument-originally covered a greater area; what remains is sandwiched by high-rise buildings.

report |
Framing Landscapes of Urban Modernity
Modern Heritage, Frame Conclave 2019

Vanessa De Sa & Amey Korgaonkar

tribute |
Remembering Girish Karnad

Nina Chandavarkar

conversation |
Changing Human Relations with Nature

In conversation with Prof. David Gilmartin

heritage conservation |
Jaipur: World Heritage City

Dr. Shikha jain & Dr. Rima Hooja

Restoration of the Mughal Charbagh
at I'timad-Ud-Daulah Tomb Complex
Mughal riverfront gardens of Agra
A partnership project of the Archaeological Survey
of India and World Monuments Fund

Annabel Lopez

Restoration of a City Icon
Flora Fountain, Mumbai

Vikas Dilawari

photo essay |
Fortifying Nature
Re-activation of traditional water systems
in Chitradurga Fort

Mohan S. Rao

heritage conservation |
Advancement of Heritage Understanding,
Practice, Awareness, Advocacy & Research
Post graduate diploma in INTACH Heritage Academy

Navin Piplani

conversation |
Traditional Knowledge as Future Vision

In conversation with Harini Nagendra & Seema Mundoli

people's narratives |
Designing within the Informal

Swati Janu

conversation |
About Art & Nature

In conversation with Ebba Koch

book review |
Textures of Mughal Court
The Mughal Empire from Jahangir to Shah Jahan

Review by Dr. Priyaleen Singh

The Building as a Metaphor

Review by Ruturaj Parikh

Architecture for Water
Spatial Ecology of Water

Review by Snehanshu Mukherjee

website review |
To Stop Adding to the Problem,
Use Climate Positive Design

Review by Jared Green


© LA Journal 2019