Cultural Influence on Urban Form

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Socio-cultural Influence –
Process, Mechanisms and Forms of the Settlements
SURBHI GUPTA
INTRODUCTION
In all the aspects of process, mechanism and urban form i.e. social, physical, spatial, environmental, in terms of associations, community participations, demand making, relationships and architecture elements such as height, density, built to open, ratio and proportions, design elements and design principles, landscape, asthetics, color, building material used, construction techniques used, morphology, light and ventilation etc, the result which comes out is that all the factors and determinants used are comparable in terms of understanding and money, but the factor which is not measureable is socio-cultural . This is the factor which leads to the difference between settlements. The difference is due to many socio- cultural forces including religious beliefs, family & structures, social organization, way of gaining a livelihood and social relation between individuals. Although the settlements have numerous number of physical possibilities but choices are made through the customs and traditional way of culture, and are limited by the socio-cultural forces. Inhabitants of the unplanned settlements manifest a high degree of heterogeneity in terms of caste, ethnic, linguistic, religious ,affiliations, place of origin, income, occupation and length of residence. The nature, form and extent of community participation and action in the selected settlements governs the urban form. Thus urban form is very much dependent on daily behavior, lifestyle, activity system, ritual of the people. The pattern of social linkage and organization of a community forms the base for participation in collective action. the community participation and social interaction among people is different in the settlements and hence their urban form. This paper focuses attention on the nature, form and extent of community participation and action in the settlements in cities of India. In this context, the pattern of social interaction between the inhabitants, the structure of peoples' organisations and their role in community mobilisation and action, the channels and intensity of participation and its effectiveness have been examined. It may be mentioned that the concept of participation has a considerable degree of vagueness and is amenable to diverse meaning and interpretations. For the purposes of this paper, participation refers to the involvement of the inhabitants in collective actions aimed at improving their quality of living environment in the squatter community and facilitating their empowerment. Social Networks

The pattern of social organisation of a community forms the base for mobilization and participation in collective action. This pattern in the settlements has been viewed as the outcome of different social networks. Inhabitants of the settlements manifest a high degree of heterogeneity in terms of caste, ethnic, linguistic, religious affiliations, place of origin, income, occupation and length of residence. However a common characteristic found in all the surveyed settlements is that they group together in dwelling clusters characterised by kin, caste, ethnic, religious, village or regional ties. Notwithstanding the characteristics of aggregation of the inhabitants in the settlements, they are involved in many stranded relationships with the larger urban society. Work places, schools, hospitals, various social services, transportation and communication networks, welfare and environmental improvement programmes, officials, workers of political parties, police, workers of voluntary organisations and others bring them into contact with multiple reference groups. These manifold relationships with different institutions of the metropolis influence their social organisation. In the absence of central institutions of any kind, social life in the settlements is organised around several groups of different size and of unequal...
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