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The Nehru Memorial Museum & Library


‘Recurring City: Perpetual changes and permanent features in Chennai’s urban history’, 10th April, 2015.

‘Recurring City:
Perpetual changes and permanent features in Chennai’s urban history’


Dr. A. Srivathsan,
Centre for Environmental Planning and Technological
University, Ahmedabad.


Urban history by often highlighting change projects a city as a sort of palimpsest - every successive period erases or dominates the previous period. However, the fact is that cities contain permanent features as much as changing attributes. If the focus shifts to recurring aspects, as this presentation would do using Chennai as an example, the city could be seen as a place with `cumulative texture’ (Gerald Suttles,1984 ). This view is closer to the city on the ground and could lead to better-calibrated plans and programmes. The presentation would also show that recurring features are not only visible in the urban form, but also in the conception, representation and governance of Chennai city.


Dr. A. Srivathsan is an architect and urban designer. He is currently the Academic Director of CEPT University, Ahmedabad. Dr. Srivathsan worked with The Hindu for eight years before shifting to CEPT. His areas of research and writing include urban planning and policies, and architectural criticism.

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