Chandigarh City Planning by Le Corbusier

Chandigarh is one of the most significant urban planning experiments of the 20th century. Chandigarh was the dream city of India's first Prime Minister, Jawahar Lal Nehru. After the partition of India in 1947, the former British province of Punjab was split between (mostly Sikhs) East Punjab in India and (mostly Muslim) West Punjab in Pakistan. The Indian Punjab required a new capital city to replace Lahore, which became part of Pakistan during the partition. 

Therefore, American planner and architect Albert Mayer and Mathew Novicki were tasked to design a new city called "Chandigarh" in 1949. Novicki was tragically killed in an air accident and Mayer decided to discontinue. Thereafter, the work was assigned to a team of architects led by Le Corbusier in 1951. 

The master plan which Albert Mayer produced for Chandigarh assumes a fan-shaped outline, spreading gently to fill the site between the two river beds. At the head of the plan was the capitol, the seat of the state government and the city centre was located in the heart of the city. Two linear parklands could also be noticed running continuously from the northeast head of the plain to its southwestern tip. A curving network of main roads surrounded the neighborhood units called Super blocks. First phase of the city was to be developed on the north-eastern side to accommodate 1,50000 residents and the second phase on the south-western side for another 350,000 people.

Fan shaped plan for Chandigarh by Albert Mayer

The Master plan prepared by Le Corbusier was broadly similar to the one prepared by the team of planners led by Albert Mayer and Mathew Nowicki except that the shape of the city plan was modified from one with a curving road network to rectangular shape with a grid iron pattern for the fast traffic roads, besides reducing its area for reason of economy. Le Corbusier conceived the master plan of Chandigarh as analogous to human body, with a clearly defined part. 

  •  Head (The capitol complex) 
  •  Heart (The city centre) 
  •  Lungs (The leisure valley, innumerable open spaces and sector greens) 
  •  Intellect (The cultural and educational institutions) 
  •  Circulatory system (The network of roads, the 7Vs) 
  •  Viscera (The industrial area) 

Le Corbusier divided the city into 63 “Sectors”. Each Sector (what had been named an “Urban Village” in Mayer’s plan) or the neighbored unit, is quite similar to the traditional Indian 'mohalla'. The primary module of the city’s design is a sector, of size 800×1200 m. Each sector is a self sufficient unit having shops, school, health centers and places of recreations and worship. The population of a sector varies between 3000 and 2000 depending upon the sizes of plots and the topography of the area. Convenient walking distance for social services like schools and shopping centers are provided.

 Chandigarh plan by Le Corbusier

The roads of the city were classified into seven categories, known as the system of 7 Vs. 

  •  V-1 Fast roads connecting Chandigarh to other towns 
  •  V-2 Arterial roads 
  •  V-3 Fast vehicular roads 
  •  V-4 Free flowing shopping streets 
  •  V-5 Sector circulation roads 
  •  V-6 Access roads to houses 
  •  V-7 Footpaths and cycle tracks 
The residential buildings were governed by a mechanism known as 'frame control' created by the municipal administration to control their facades. This fixed the building line and height and the use of building materials. Certain standard sizes of doors and windows are specified and all the gates and boundary walls must conform to standard design. 
Chandigarh has four Main work centers – The capitol complex in the north east – The educational institutes in the north west – The city centre in the heart – The industrial area in the south east. The educational, cultural and medical facilities are spread all over city, however, major institutions are located in Sectors 10, 11, 12, 14 and 26. The Capital complex, Sector 1, comprises three architectural masterpieces, the “Secretariat", the "High Court" and the "Legislative Assembly". 
The bus stops are provided each time at 200m so as to serve the four pedestrian entrances into a sector. Thus, the transit traffic takes place out of the sectors: the sectors being surrounded by four wall-bound car roads without openings (V3). All commercial buildings located in the City Centre and commercial or institutional buildings located along V-2 roads were subjected to controls. He allocated nearly 30% of the city to parks and recreational areas. With the development of the city, it is also confronting some problems because population increased in city due to high rate of migration to cities and due to that water supply demand is increased, sanitation problem occurs and slum development get started.



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