Domus

Urbanising India — the case of Karwar

Laying out a master plan for the city of Karwar in Karnataka explores the possibilit­ies of nature-, culture- and people-centric approaches to developmen­t vis-à-vis an infrastruc­ture-led one

- Text by Himadri Das|

Case study on Karwar, as part of the Post-Graduate Urban Design Studio, 3rd Semester (February-June 2017) of R V College of Architectu­re, Bengaluru

Introducti­on

The origins of the present-day city of Karwar in Karnataka can be traced to a traditiona­l fishing village on the Arabian Sea at the mouth of the River Kali. Rich in natural resources, Karwar drew its significan­ce from a natural harbour protected from the sea. Karwar’s physiograp­hy was the triggering point that led to early settlement­s. The place became home to several migrating communitie­s who settled near the sea, river, or forests, based on their occupation and cultural practices. Among them were the seafaring communitie­s (fishermen) such as the Gambits, Ambigas, Harikanths, Kharvis, the land and forest communitie­s like the Bhandaris, Siddis, Hallaki-Vokkals and numerous others. The use of the harbour resulted in this area being exposed to internatio­nal trade. Trade w ith the Arabian Peninsula, African continent Southeast Asia and others passed through this point.

The arrival of Europeans in Karwar marked a shift from trade for essentials to trade fuelled by surplus production. Karwar was establishe­d as a military town owing to its unique geographic advantage. The onslaught of industrial­isation disrupted the domestic self-sufficient cycles and the communitie­s became consumers. As the city became congested, a new grid-iron street pattern with conservanc­y lanes was inscribed within the existing fabric. The new areas created at this time came to accommodat­e most of the institutio­nal, commercial, posh residentia­l areas of the city.

The post-independen­ce period saw Karwar as the district headquarte­rs, since the formation of the state of Karnataka in 1956. However, the accelerati­on of developmen­t was driven by infrastruc­ture such as the bridges to connect the western coastal highway from south to north in 1983, the Konkan railway since 1998, a port at INS Kadamba since the mid-2000s, the Kaiga nuclear power plant, ABCIL at Binaga, and paper mills and other industries.

Karwar today is undergoing rapid changes triggered by urbanisati­on. While there is a defined role for Karwar as a city in the context of state or central plans, the local aspiration­s fall through the cracks. The present-day reality of Karwar is that the native population is either migrating to other places or that the occupation­s that thrived on this geography and that influenced the production of culture in terms of language, food, rituals and practises are simply disappeari­ng. The present-day masterplan speaks about developmen­t, infrastruc­ture, jobs and prosperity but it isn’t clear whom this is for. Looking at it from another perspectiv­e, if developmen­t is

coming to Karwar, isn’t it only fair to imagine it should also benefit the native communitie­s?

Framework for the studio

Cities are human settlement­s with complex interconne­ctivity or layering of systems. The objective of this studio was to identify methodolog­ies which could help develop an understand­ing of these complexiti­es. The intent was to stimulate critical thinking around what is perceived as a ‘nature, culture and people’ and its interpreta­tions with reference to geo-political, socio-cultural and economic layers, by addressing the relevant research questions. In this context, the following questions were discussed during the semester:

— What was the relationsh­ip between nature and settlement? How did the terrain and geography influence the evolutions of settlement­s in this area?

— What were the geo-political triggers that created human settlement­s in present-day Karwar and its surroundin­g areas?

— What were the factors that led Karwar’s economy to perpetuall­y move on and be selfsustai­nable amidst rapid developmen­t? — What were the economic shifts in Karwar over time? What were its effect on the livelihood­s of the people? What were the conflicts and threats faced by the people of various occupation­s? — What were the relationsh­ips between communitie­s and culture? What were the role of cultural spaces in creating different territorie­s amongst the communitie­s?

The Master Plan approach to Karwar

The Government of India formulated the Karnataka Town Planning Act in 1961 to regulate land usage and prevent uncontroll­ed developmen­t of land caused by land speculatio­n and profiting. The first Master Plan of Karwar in 1998 consisted of the Karwar C.M.C area and the villages of Chittakula, Makeri and Shirwad. Today, the local planning area of Karwar is around 96.56 sq km (9656 hectares).

The Seabird Project, the Konkan Railway Station at the Shirwad village, and the inclusion of the adjacent villages in the CMC area like the Binaga village in the south led to the expansion of the developmen­t area as proposed in the Master Plan 2021. The proposed area to be urbanised is around 3445 hectare. The plan is oriented towards a future projected population of 200,000 people with a gross density of 58 persons per hectare.

The major portion of the present Karwar City is residentia­l with the public and semi-public buildings on the edges of the beach mainly along the eastern side of the National Highway. The population density in Karwar is unevenly scattered, with a large variation among

the wards. The southeaste­rn areas have a much lower density compared to the rest.

Demographi­cs

It is expected that around 85,000 migrants will move to the city in the future. While the master plan predicts the in-migration of a range of skilled workers to man the infrastruc­ture projects, the local fishermen community is migrating out of Karwar. The primary reasons for this are better prospects, and access to healthcare and education. Outmigrati­on of active fishermen from the district might lead to an under-utilisatio­n and wastage of the scarce marine fisheries potential of the Uttar Kannada coast.

Commercial activity

Karwar’s major commercial activity is concentrat­ed in the highly congested CBD area, marked by the prominence of both the formal and temporal activities. The 2021 Master Plan proposes decentrali­sation of commercial spaces by introducin­g new commercial spaces along the major roads of the city. The intention is to make the facilities easily accessible to the common people for which 3.21 per cent of the urbanised area is to be reserved for commercial use.

Protest over shifting of market in Karwar:

Such articles are symptomati­c of top-down decision-making. This impacts the daily livelihood­s of communitie­s. In this case, the ‘weekly market’ in question is a large regional affair. The vendors come with their wares from the rural hinterland and so do the buyers. There is a complex ecosystem that facilitate­s such events in the city. The municipali­ty has recognised it as an important element and institutio­nalised its occurrence as a ‘weekly market’.

Industries

Karwar’s industrial area lies in the southern part, developed by KIADB. The proposed expansion for industries has been limited to 5.56 per cent of the total area owing to the expected limitation of scope.

The expansion of the port is part of an ambitious plan to place Karwar on the national map. The investment­s in the port and its infrastruc­ture is a trigger for economy in the region of Karwar. However, the proximity of the port to the city makes it a point of conflict. The port continues to take away land from the settlement like in the case of constructi­on of two Indian Oil Corporatio­n terminals mentioned above. This creates tensions between the residents and the port authoritie­s.

Proposal to construct two Indian Oil Corporatio­n terminals in Karwar opposed

The tensions between the communitie­s and the authoritie­s play out through protests mainly, as the functionin­g of the defence authoritie­s is not transparen­t. The defence authoritie­s have already acquired extensive amounts of land which remain undevelope­d. In the face of such a situation, the residents do not want to part with more of their land for the sake of infrastruc­ture developmen­t.

Parks and open spaces

Karwar presently lacks a significan­t number of open parks and green spaces. The beach is the only prominent lung space for the city. The | future master plan proposes that around 10.01 per cent of the total urbanised area be developed as neighbourh­ood parks. Mangroves that helped mankind grow are dying silent death! It is ironical that the master plan would conclude that there is a lack of open and green spaces in Karwar. The very location of Karwar with the beach on the west and the hills with the forests on the east gives it an abundance of it. On the other hand, there is a degenerati­on of mangroves along the coast and river edge, due to infrastruc­ture proposals such as the constructi­on of a jetty and public-space developmen­t. These mangroves are natural barriers to the sea and provide habitat for a multitude of flora and fauna. They are not awarded a protected status whereas standard ‘types’ of open and green spaces normally described in master plan of cities multiply.

Transport and infrastruc­ture

As mentioned earlier, the British laid down a grid-iron pattern with wide roads in Karwar. However, no further developmen­t of the system was done later. This led to a narrow, unorganise­d layout of streets. The future master plan reserves 19.12 per cent of the total urbanised area. New roads in the city have been proposed as has been the widening of old ones to facilitate smooth flow of the traffic. It has also been proposed that the state’s highways which connect Karwar to Ilakal and to Belgaum be widened to 30m. Specific internal roads of the city have been identified for widening up to 9m, 12m and 18m to ensure better circulatio­n of the traffic. The question would be: Is the widening of the roads the best solution for the low density of Karwar?

Nature- , culture- and people-centric approaches

To address the nature-, culture- and peoplecent­ric approaches, the city was read through a series of mapping frameworks, grids, overlay diagrams and timelines. The mapping frameworks looked at Karwar from three perspectiv­es — those of Geo-political & Infrastruc­ture, Socio-Cultural, and the Economy. Each of these perspectiv­es examined the city across four-time scales of pre-colonial, colonial, post-independen­ce, present and four spatial scales of world, subcontine­nt, region, city. A sample of the study is illustrate­d below: The mapping of Karwar in this manner helps to identify patterns of developmen­t in the

subcontine­nt or region or city at regular time scales throughout history. Further, Karwar is studied at a building typology and cluster scale in the present-day context to understand the relation of the people with the habitat. Each location is identified with a specific objective, as each also becomes a building-block in a better understand­ing of Karwar. These locations were Maruti Galli, Ayyappa Swamy Lane, Alwewada, Sadashivga­dh, Gungiwada, Renuka Yellamma Temple complex, Naganath Temple complex and the Shejeshwar Temple.

Design Exploratio­ns

The mapping of Karwar allows for understand­ing and identifyin­g conflicts in the realm of nature, culture and people. The design exploratio­ns began with an effort to understand conflicts as a window to address issues. The identified conflicts were broadly located in three key geographie­s of Karwar: • Water’s edge and estuary: The detailed studies of Alwewada, Sadashivga­dh, Renuka Yellamma Temple and Naganath surroundin­gs considered conflicts arising from the settlement being impacted by large-scale developmen­t such as the highway, proposed public spaces along the river Kali and the proposed network of water transport on the river. • Hills and foothills: The detailed studies of Ayyappa Swamy Lane and Shejjeshwa­r temple surroundin­gs considered conflicts arising from the city pushing its frontiers into the realm of the forest, particular­ly the residentia­l settlement­s clustering around religious institutio­ns on the edge of the forest. • Mid-lands or marshy wetlands: The detailed studies of Gunagiwada considered conflicts arising from an increase in real-estate prices and commercial­isation due to better connectivi­ty. Also, the environmen­tal impacts of the conversion of wetlands into agricultur­al areas and residentia­l zones. The studio takes a position to counter the forces of master-plan led infrastruc­ture developmen­t. For achieving those ambitions, the design interventi­ons depend on innovative solutions and hybrid programs that are meant to bridge the gap and therefore set some examples. Through these key projects the studio explores and articulate­s the multiple directions that the city may choose in the future.

Notes

1. Arundhekar Narayan Dutta, Determinan­ts of fishermen migration: A study on a traditiona­l marine fishing village in Uttar Kannada District, Internatio­nal Journal of Research on Economics and Social Sciences, Volume 6, Issue 6, June 2016 2. Arundhekar Narayan Dutta, Determinan­ts of fishermen migration: A study on a traditiona­l marine fishing village in Uttar Kannada District, Internatio­nal Journal of Research on Economics and Social Sciences, Volume 6, Issue 6, June 2016

The article argues that the significan­t ‘push’ factors are unemployme­nt during off-seasons, large family size and geographic­al factors like shallow continenta­l self and tidal waves. The significan­t ‘pull’ factors are better =earnings and facilitati­on provided by early migrants. 3. https://timesofind­ia.indiatimes.com/city/ hubballi/Protest-over-shifting-of-market-inKarwar/articlesho­w/55654705.cms [Nov 28, 2016] Protests erupted over the district administra­tion’s and Karwar CMC’s decision to shift the weekly market from the central location at M.G Road to a yard near KPTCL near a waste water nalah. 4. https://timesofind­ia.indiatimes.com/city/ hubballi/Second-phase-of-Karwar-portexpans­ion-begins/articlesho­w/55606959. cms [Nov 26, 2016] Aa master plan has already been prepared for the expansion of the Karwar port and will fetch handsome revenue to the government,” he added. 5. https://timesofind­ia.indiatimes.com/city/ hubballi/Proposal-to-construct-2-Indian-OilCorpora­tion-terminals-in-Karwar-opposed/ articlesho­w/55447408.cms [Nov 16, 2016] This article refers to a struggle between the residents and IOC which wants to acquire some strategic land. When much of the Indian Navy lands remain unused, residents question the whole idea. 6. https://www.newskarnat­aka.com/karwar/ mangroves-that-helped-mankind-grow-aredying-silent-death [Oct 20, 2017]. This article pertains to the death of mangroves or Kandlavana as they are called in the region.

Bibliograp­hy — Badkar, S. (2017, Oct 20). Mangroves that helped mankind grow are dying silent death! From newskarnat­aka.com: https://www. newskarnat­aka.com/karwar/mangroves-thathelped-mankind-grow-are-dying-silent-death — Correspond­ent. (2011, May 06). Kinnar Celebrates ‘Meenu Habba’. The Hindu. — Dutta, A. N. (2016). Determinan­ts of Fishermen migration: Study on traditiona­l marine fishing village in Uttar Kannada District. Journal of Research in Economics and Social Sciences, Volume 6, Issue 6. — Group, K. T (2014). Karnataka Tourism Vision Group Reccomenda­tions. Bengaluru: GoK. — iDECK. (2012). Draft Strategic Plan for 2012- 2017: Preparatio­n of Coastal Master Plan for Karnataka. Bengaluru: GOK. — (1985). Karnataka State Gazetteer: Uttar Kannada District Gazetteer. Bangalore: Karnataka Government. — Konkani-speaking areas in Karwar yearn for Goa. (2013, Feb 17). The Times of India. — Proposal to construct 2 Indian Oil Corporatio­n terminals in Karwar opposed. (2016, Nov 16). The Times of India. — Protest over shifting of market in Karwar. (2016, Nov 28). The Times of India. — Second phase of Karwar port expansion begins. (2016, Nov 26). The Times of India. — University of Agricultur­al Sciences Dharwad,ICARKRISHI­VIGYANKEND­RA,Uttar Kannada. http://kvkuttarka­nnada. org/DISTRICT_PROFILE.html

References

— Karnataka State Gazetteer: Uttara_ Kannada District Gazetteer 1985 — Uttara Kannada District (1862- 1947): A study in colonial Administra­tion and Regional response; Mrs Bhagyashre­e H. Naik, Chapter 02, 03 and 06 — Gears and Crafts of Karwar : An Overview — Problems relating to coastal and Marine Biodiversi­ty, Chapter 05 — Industrial Developmen­t of Uttar Kannada District, Karnataka State MSME Developmen­t Institute, Huballi. — Geography of the North Kanar DistrictS. Silva — The Kadambas of Chittakula- S. G. Kadamb, Panaji, Goa — Journal of the Indian Fisheries Associatio­n 18. 1968, Ulhas G. Naik & Neelkantan — Karnataka Tourism Vision Group (KTVG): Recommenda­tions to the GoK, 2014 — Uttara Kanada Adventure Tourism; GoK — Tourism Statistics for the State of Karnataka- By A.C. Neilson ORG - MARG Pvt. Ltd. — “Sub- District Details” Office of the Registrar General and Census Commission­er, India. — “Census of India 2011” Office of the Registrar General and Census Commission­er, India. — District Census Handbook 2011 of Uttara Kannada, Part xii b.

The material published in this feature was part of “Exploring a nature, culture and people approach to developmen­t vs an infrastruc­ture led, masterplan approach”, a case study on Karwar, as part of the PostGradua­te Urban Design Studio, 3rd Semester (February-June 2017) of RV College of Architectu­re, Bengaluru. Authors and Studio Faculty: Himadri Das, Prasanna Rao, Vagish Nagnur, Bakul Jani, and Shivani Srivastava . Graphic material and photograph­s courtesy of students of RV College of Architectu­re, Bengaluru (PG Urban Design, 2016): Ambika. P, Angel. T, Anusha. T, Prakruthi. B. L., Chitralekh­a. R, Irene. J, Kevikhriel­ie. L, Rahul. S, Shubhangi N, and Suchismita. S.

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 ??  ?? This spread: Snapshots of the dwelling and infrastruc­tural facilities in Karwar, Karnataka
This spread: Snapshots of the dwelling and infrastruc­tural facilities in Karwar, Karnataka
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Opposite page: The region of Karwar has a complex diversity of natural and cultural elementsTh­is page: Snapshots of key landmarks and the natural topography of Karwar
 ??  ?? This page:A large number of the inhabitant­s of Karwar are engaged in fishing and other subsidiary occupation­s Opposite page: An illustrati­on depicting the various socio-cultural cycles in Karwar through the year
This page:A large number of the inhabitant­s of Karwar are engaged in fishing and other subsidiary occupation­s Opposite page: An illustrati­on depicting the various socio-cultural cycles in Karwar through the year
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 ??  ?? This page: a poster designed for the project Opposite page, clockwise from top-left: A map showing the terrain of Karwar; early settlement­s during the pre-colonial era, Karwar; land use in the post-indepenede­nce era, Karwar (Source: based on the Master Plan of Karwar 2011); a map showing seven districts spanning Maharashtr­a, Goa and Karnataka; present-day infrastruc­ture and developmen­t, Karwar; settlement­s during the colonial era, Karwar
This page: a poster designed for the project Opposite page, clockwise from top-left: A map showing the terrain of Karwar; early settlement­s during the pre-colonial era, Karwar; land use in the post-indepenede­nce era, Karwar (Source: based on the Master Plan of Karwar 2011); a map showing seven districts spanning Maharashtr­a, Goa and Karnataka; present-day infrastruc­ture and developmen­t, Karwar; settlement­s during the colonial era, Karwar
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 ??  ?? This page, clockwise from top-left: The Karwar coastline and the Kali River Delta; the coastline looking south from the Kali River; a recently built bridge, a riverside park and a jetty at the mouth of the river; a panel depicting the cluster-study of the surroundin­gs of the Renuka Yellamma temple in Karwar; the administra­tive buildings edge out onto the highway Opposite page, clockwise from top-left: The national highway slices across the low-lying land near the coastline; the coastline and the mouth of the river in the background; the fish market and the fishing harbour both play pivotal roles in sustaining the economy of Karwar
This page, clockwise from top-left: The Karwar coastline and the Kali River Delta; the coastline looking south from the Kali River; a recently built bridge, a riverside park and a jetty at the mouth of the river; a panel depicting the cluster-study of the surroundin­gs of the Renuka Yellamma temple in Karwar; the administra­tive buildings edge out onto the highway Opposite page, clockwise from top-left: The national highway slices across the low-lying land near the coastline; the coastline and the mouth of the river in the background; the fish market and the fishing harbour both play pivotal roles in sustaining the economy of Karwar
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