Interview with Urban Designer, Swapnil Patel, Pune
How did you decide to foray into urban planning?
Cities have always fascinated me. While it is true that cities grow organically, the great cities are actually an act of deliberate intervention, vision & a long term planning. It’s a science & art which I started appreciating while doing my masters course at Berkeley. I consider it a privilege to have professors like Allan Jacobs, Donlyn Lyndon, Chris Alexander, Dan Solomon and Calthorpe at Berkeley. After graduation I also had an opportunity to work with Dan Solomon in San Francisco & with the likes of Larry Beasley & Andres Duany while working with UPC at Abu Dhabi. As an Urban Designer I could not have asked for more. Working with these Masters, observing them at their craft & learning from them was the greatest motivation for me.
What is your approach towards master planning and what do you think differentiates your practice from the others?
Ours is one of only practice of its kind in India, that is exclusively focused on just Urban Design, Masterplanning, Campus Planning & Visioning workshops. I think what differentiates our practice is our approach, principles & philosophy which is totally driven by our well defined process & methodology which includes an exhaustive 8-10 day client visioning workshop. Everything we do afterwards is an outcome of this participatory process. I think this is unique to our practice.
What kind of projects have you been working on in India?
We are working on several master planning projects ranging in size from 5 to 5000 acres. These are typically concept masterplans, visioning exercises, large scale integrated townships, TOD’s, long range campus plans & designing ‘Agricultural Urban Communities’