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Professor Anirban Adhya, Associate Professor, Department of Architecture, Lawrence Tech College of Architecture and Design’s talk used the temporal spectacle of the Durga Puja in Kolkata, India, as an articulation of the public sphere – as spaces where residents across religions and class can express their collective desires, critique social problems and represent the cultural landscape of the city. He asked why residents of Kolkata spend so much money and effort in producing these temporal spectacles that last only four days in a year, but are apathetic to the production and preservation of the formal built environment. The talk concluded with the suggestion that the official narrative for modernity in South Asian cities is the global city with its skyscrapers, malls and gated communities, but temporary spectacles like the Durga Puja offer alternative narratives that are more inclusive in connecting people to cities. The seminar was held on November 14, 2012, and was chaired by Rahul Mehrotra, Professor and Chair, Department of Urban Planning and Design, Harvard Graduate School of Design.
Sai Balakrishnan,PhD Candidate in Urban Planning,Harvard University