I know I have not been particularly good about posting regularly in recent days. Part of the reason that I have been so busy is that I am working on my senior thesis, which is due in mid-March. Since it deals with gardens, it occurred to me - partly due to a suggestion by one of my advisors - that I should perhaps write about it here. My topic focuses on public green spaces - parks, roadside plantings, landscaped traffic islands - in India and Oman; those of you who have followed this blog for a while might remember my posts about my travels in the two countries last summer. There are multiple components to my argument; for now, I will focus on the first one and leave the others for future posts. Using the parks of the city of Chandigarh as a case study of sorts, I attempt to define the stylistic elements, horticultural practices, plant vocabulary, and uses of "typical" green spaces in urban areas in North India. I then try to dissect what influences have gone into the making of this "style" of public horticulture, what meanings it carries, and how it relates to people's expectations and ideals regarding gardens and parks.
Path in a park in Chandigarh, India
Now I know this might sound like a lot of stuff to consider with regard public greenery but I would really love some feedback. So in your opinion, what are the defining features of public green spaces? What do you think people expect from them? And particularly if you are in India or have experience of the country, what do you associate with public green spaces there? Is there something that you feel makes a park particularly "Indian"? What plants do you expect a garden or park to include? Do you see any historical or cultural references in the ways such spaces are laid out, maintained or used? I really would appreciate any and all input and will take it into consideration as I continue to write and revise my text.