A City is as Good as its Road System

A City is as Good as its Road System

A city, the cliché goes, is as good as its transportation system. If this assertion holds, then logically, a good transportation system is as good as the road system of a city. This has a searing resonance for Kashmir where the condition of roads is so bad that the High Court will be monitoring the roads of the region. Roads determine the shape, form and contours of a city or region. But this is not all. From a socio-urban perspective, roads determine public life or aspects of public life in a city. Consider this. Roads or the road system will decide how and where people drive, how and where people commute and the nature of public interaction in public spaces. The limits of a city are also contingent on the shape and form of roads. In essence, then the nature of the road system will determine the nature of a city. The sorry and decrepit state of Srinagar city, can then, to some extent be attributed to the flawed design and condition of roads here. The importance of roads also lies in these being a metaphor and a reflection of governance of an entity. Given roads constitute the public space of a city, among other things, good roads would reflect good governance. The very bad condition of roads in Kashmir—especially in Srinagar city- then suggests that Government(s) in Kashmir do not care. Or, in the least, they are lackadaisical about these particular public spaces. Either way, it reflects the import and significance that Governments of various hues and complexions attach to governance despite statements to the contrary. The aesthetics of a city, its living conditions and the flow and mobility of people within a city are all affected negatively. All this assumes poignancy at a time when the urban limits of Srinagar city are expanding at a fast rate. The city is expanding in a chaotic and an unplanned way which coupled with demographics of Srinagar are bound to have deleterious effects for life and living in the city. If things continue to pan out in the way they are, then it might not be far fetched to state that Srinagar city will become a massive and unlivable urban sprawl in the coming years. This will exact a toll not only on living conditions in the city but also an environmental and therefore in terms of public health too. To pre-empt this scenario from becoming real, it is about time that the urban design of Srinagar city must be rejigged. Building a good and efficient, intelligent and effective road system with due care taken for its maintenance and upkeep would be a good start.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.