Friday, February 18, 2011

A Bit About My Thesis

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.


  1. It sounds like a very interesting subject.
    Good luck with it. I know from experience how much work thesis need.

    for me I get to contrast from my country and japan. In japan there are two kinds of green spaces. Those meant to be just a rest stop and those who are developed with such detail that is like an art. In Mexico green spaces is more a free area, where is more about having a recreational space to enjoy different activities.

  2. how interesting! i;ll pen down my thoughts later in the week.

  3. Jetzt hat es mich aufgefordert zum "sign in"- vorher nicht, aber jetzt weiss ich immerhin worauf es ankommt.

    Uebrigens - Public Garden ist fuer mich die Karlsaue in Kassel- wahrscheinlich spielen fruehkindliche Praegungen eine Rolle.

    Wir haben dich lieb.

  4. Fer - Thank you so much for your comments. Japanese gardens are a topic I would love to study in depth and learn more about one day and the contrast between spaces focused on intricate design and those oriented towards human recreational activity is one that I have been working with throughout this current project.

    Arati - Thank you for stopping by. I am looking forward to your thoughts... :)

    Mom - Thank you for checking the blog, and for your input. Love you... <3

  5. Interesting subject! All the best.

    I took a few minutes to summarize my thoughts about your questions. I hope the info helps.

    Public green spaces may define the region and its people, and may be a combination of awe and practical/usable. I say awe because the green space may be appealing to the senses and practical/usable because it may have at least one purpose. A garden or a park must have a beautiful mix of trees, shrubs, bushes, and grass, and a good balance of flowering plants, fruit-bearing trees, lawn, and so on. A walk path and water body, such as a lake or a fountain, adds charm to the garden or park. We can see such elements in bigger parks; smaller ones have easily maintainable regional plants, a walk path, a few benches, and play area for children, which the residents of nearby areas use regularly. Though it's easier for gardeners to maintain regional plants, visitors may get bored of seeing the same plants. To add variety, exotic plants or plants imported from other regions may be planted. Or, a flower show may be organized. India being a diversified country, we see a lot of experiments in landscaping, depending on budget, purpose, space, and other constraints.


  6. i only just realised that your thesis is about north india. i live in the south, so not sure how relevant my input would be. nevertheless-
    public parks - personally i prefer ones with trees, but i've noticed that the public appeal is for ones with a lot of flowering plants. walkways are important, as much of the public park usage is by morning walkers. weekend visitors seem to like play areas for children. benches are a must!
    whereas previously the focus was on exotic looking flowers, lately there has been an impetus, particularily by local non governmental organizations to plant only native species in public places, in an attempt to restore the natural ecology of the area. In tamilnadu for eg, the focus is on TDEF - tropical dry evergreen forest type of trees, rather than the exotic non native delonix regias and copperpods that the government has traditionally prefered.


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