Understanding a city through cultural trails

Objectives: Understanding a city's evolution through its built and living environment, socio-economic and cultural ethos; Involving young architects as interpreters to bring in an integration of their sensibilities and environmental perspectives; Using the city space to learn about urban environmental and sustainable developmental concerns.

Methodology:

Cultural trails involving young architects as interpreters were carried out by the Centre for Environment Education in Ahmedabad city. They were mainly offered to school children as a way of discovering Ahmedabad. A structured programme was developed, tracing the evolution of Ahmedabad through its monuments, discussing historical facts around these structures, understanding how cities evolve and grow through interactive exercises and discussion, and learning about environmentally sustainable practices of earlier times through various examples of water conservation, use of certain kind of material; and also about the socio-cultural aspects of the city. The 3 hour walk over a pre-determined stretch introduced participants to all these aspects. A feedback quiz helped determine their understanding and areas for modification. A booklet giving brief notes on the various monuments visited was given to the participants. A city map was developed as an outcome of the experience of cultural trails and was used as an activity for school children to further delve into their city.

Results: A model for a cultural heritage interpretation experience has been developed wherein it besides enriching the participant experience, also broadens the perspective of the young interpreters.