The Initiative for Green Habitats represents a long term commitment towards providing solutions for the creation of Sustainable Built Environments. This blog attempts to provide an insight to our views, commentaries on our work, ideas that we are working on, and provoke thought where there are more questions than answers.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Green Homes to remind you of the 'Old Bangalore'

Bangalore, the garden city of recent yesteryears, has been transformed into a metropolis that attracts a quarter of a million people every year. The growth that was fuelled by the IT boom around Bangalore has become a scourge to living amongst convivial greens. The retirement paradise of remnant sahibs, the Anglos, military officers, and railway baboos has become a cluttered city of undefined character. The steady stream of movers into the city has put immense pressure on the city’s infrastructure and amenities like abundant water supply, clean air and the ‘sound of silence’ in the shade of 500 year old trees, is evanescent.
Colonial and other terracotta clad bungalows have been torn down and replaced by apartment blocks and shopping malls. Land prices have escalated so much that people are happy to forsake their garden paradise for the sheen that bucks could add to their lifestyle. No consideration has been evinced for the resources of the city, or its past promise of languorous afternoons and walks down tree-lined boulevards. On the pretext of globalization, the city’s people have huddled themselves into a myriad of cubbyholes, all the while pining for Bangalore’s past resplendence as a retirement post among serene environs.
In the last few years, of course, the scenario is changing. Reports of receding glaciers, the thinning ozone layer and the human impact on global climatology, not to forget the CII IGBC promoted green building certification, have woken people out of their slumber of indifference and apathy. People are adopting ‘green’ practices, albeit a few only, almost as penitence for the sins committed against Mother Nature over the last few centuries. But penance alone will not bring about Grace; new ways of living have to be contemplated to make the planet a worthwhile commentator of our times to the next generation.
Bangalore developers who built with impunity are now trying to add a soft touch to their footprint. Eco-friendly housing, waste management, rainwater harvesting, recycling, energy conservation and indoor air quality are terms that are being bandied about as the new mantras to exorcising the past and ushering in an effulgent future for the residents. The denizens are becoming wiser and are demanding adherence to norms; are becoming active and questioning the reason behind every trend. One day, soon enough, the citizens will have realized that they don’t need to be cornered into a pigeon holed high-rise, or brook the shoddiness of a tardy developer.
Building or buying a green home, even if the plot sizes are relatively smaller, or a tad further out of town, makes eminent, and imminent, sense. Such a green home could bring home the essence of the old Bangalore (in spirit if not in form) while doing one’s bit to reduce our ecological footprint. While some of the green concepts are easy to comprehend and implement, there are many aspects which require professional expertise. Greening, besides requiring huge doses of common sense, draws its inspiration from science and technology, social systems and practices, local artisan-ship, heritage architectural concepts and designs, and more importantly, its intent is harnessed on a strong edifice of ethics, morality and prudence. There is an increase in the number of professionals and organizations who now offer consulting services on the elements of green construction and this could be well our chance to make a grab for retiring in serenity in the fractured bosom of Bangalore.

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