American Society of Landscape Architects ASLA 2005 Professional Awards
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Dasve Village Site Location and Characteristics
Project Goals & Objectives
Study of Human Settlements and Urbanism in Indian Context
Project Development Strategies
Dasve Village Master Plan
Dasve Village Aerial View
Dasve Master Plan Analysis
Dasve Village Development Standards & Design Guidelines
ANALYSIS AND PLANNING AWARD OF HONOR

Dasve Village, Maharashtra, India
The HOK Planning Group, St. Louis, MO


"Beautifully documented in terms of understanding the place and the land. . . stunning, great work. . .sensitive to the region and the world. . accessibility at the planning scale germinates from the concise townscape. "

— 2005 Professional Awards Jury Comments

Dasve Village, currently under construction, represents Phase 1 of a master plan for a new Hill Station community on 8000 acres in the Mose Valley of Maharashtra, India. East of Bombay and near the city of Pune, it is one of five primary villages proposed along the banks of Warasgaon Lake. The site’s wonderful natural features, such as plentiful water, lush vegetation and dramatic vistas, provide a setting quite unique to the region. It is envisioned that the village will become a new place to live, work, and play amidst the natural splendor.

To this end, the Project is founded upon, and continues to be guided by the following sustainable principles:

Identify the Locations of the Most Important Environmental Features and Preserve Them
• Establish and protect view sheds to preserve the existing natural beauty of the site
• Protect and celebrate watersheds, waterfalls, streams and lakes
• Continue to enhance and embellish the forest greenway
• Establish / implement re-forestation programs for underdeveloped areas
• Protect existing Dhamanhole village
• Preserve existing and establish new planting and habitat for local flora & fauna

Enhance the Relationship to Water
• Explore options to retain water levels over time in selected locations
• Celebrate water as one of the sacred elements, including earth, wind & fire
• Accentuate the lake as the path to the sea
• Exhibit the playfulness of it, yet revere the importance of it

Promote Low-Impact Development as a Model
• Promote sustainability in all aspects of design
• Encourage compact development to preserve open space
• Build quality public spaces
• Implement and enforce design guidelines as a code for ensuring the quality and predictability of the development

Provide an Appropriate Mix of Uses
• Leverage attributes of land forms to provide indigenous settings
• Understand compatibility of land uses: High traffic vs. passive
• Provide live, work, learn and leisure opportunities
• Provide a variety of experiences for visitors: Active, passive, spiritual, educational, entertainment & recreational

Provide a Flexible Master Plan that Can Adapt to Changing Market Needs
• Provide an expandable road network
• Provide a phased infrastructure system
• Build flexible buildings that can adapt to changing needs
• Ensure economically flexible and establish achievable phases
• Leverage land value by creating amenities throughout the landscape
• Provide a clear hierarchy of effective circulation options

Dasve Village is the first of five primary villages to be constructed as part of India’s first new “Hill Station” community in more than a century. Drawing upon historic patterns of Indian town building as well as vernacular building forms, the master plan emulates traditional culturally based urban design principles that have remained beautiful and proven sustainable for centuries.

The master plan represents principles of the Transect by proposing transitions from rural areas, designated as natural and agricultural open space, to the village center. By prescribing patterns of development that follow the Transect, inhabitants will benefit from not losing touch with traditional ways of life in both rural and urban areas. Residents will remain stewards of the land and appreciators of urbanism much in the same way that their ancestors were. It is anticipated that the village will grow organically, remain flexible and culturally appropriate as it evolves.

While originally conceived as a resort site of “second homes” for India’s prosperous, the project team attempted to create a new and sustainable micro-economy within the larger region that accommodates the primary residents, but also a host of employees and service providers that accompany any development of this type. The program was expanded to accommodate a variety of residential units at price points to provide for individuals and families seeking “first homes” as well as those wanting to invest in second homes. Teachers, shop owners, restaurant workers and the like are provided places to live within the same urban environs.

Dasve Village responds to the unique context of the land on which it is located. The town center was located at the confluence of two “nalas” or streams that converge in the valley floor and empty into the lake. This concept attempts to show reverence and celebration for water and its importance to sustaining life. A check dam, also under construction, will retain storm water year round for local drinking water needs as well as civic maintenance uses. The village will grow around this recreational amenity, creating an icon thus increasing the real estate values. Secondly, by promoting compact development, infrastructure will not need to be distributed over large areas of the landscape and will help preserve open space. It is intended this open space will be reforested in an attempt to replenish what was once forested land.

In keeping with principles prescribed in the Transect, the highest density is located in the town center, gradually decreasing towards its edge. The urban form derives its structure from topography and drainage patterns and is organic in nature. The village edges are defined and thus formed by steep and un-developable slopes of adjacent hillsides as well as the lake edge.

Geography defines the edges of development of all the villages within the master plan. Where urbanity transitions from more to less dense, the Transect defines the patterns by which the built environment evolves. As valley floors avail themselves, urbanity gives way to open space in the form of preserves or agricultural uses. Where possible, open space is captured as frontage for residential development whereas commercial (mixed use) uses typically front village right-of-ways such as streets or plazas.

Public right-of-ways are designed to accommodate several modes of transportation commonly used by local residents. Particular attention has been given to pedestrians so that they can navigate safely in corridors occupied by four and two wheel vehicles, animal drawn carts, and free roaming animals. All of the villages within the community are to be linked by public transportation that will link terminals in each village center. Vehicular routes coupled with bicycle easements connect all villages to accommodate four and two wheel vessels. Secondarily, a trail network for adventure seekers on treks connects to locations that vehicles cannot get to such as Hill Station Lodges, remote camp sites, and preserves. To assist people who cannot or do not want to hike to these remote destinations, vertical transportation systems such as funiculars and vertical rail cars have been designated in key locations to provide access to the sites. Other alternative modes of transportation are currently being explored to determine their construction and financial feasibility.

Dasve Village is also considered sustainable in its flexibility. By design, many of the land uses can be interchanged as the market changes. For example, in the town center, the mix of uses may change between ground floor retail, residential and potentially even office. In the residential areas, the mix of lot types and unit types can also be modified over time to meet market demand but still respect and enforce urban guidelines. The recreational and tourist attractions uses can also be modified as corporate and institutional partners become interested in contributing to the development of the Hill Station. Urban and architectural codes offer the development a blueprint to ensure the vision is maintained and equip local practitioners with the tools to ensure long-term sustainability.

Dasve Village upholds the historic and cultural aspects of the traditional Indian Hill Station as a place of healing and rest. The master plan seeks to ensure its goal of becoming a premier destination and place to live through sustainable practices of density, preservation of open space and natural places, and indigenous architectural technologies as well as being economically viable and exciting.

For the project team, it was important to realize that urbanism in all parts of the world derives its form by cultural, climatic, and economic influences. To deliver a product that actually took into account all natural and socio-economic influences that have proven successful through time, the project team found it necessary to spend a great deal of time researching and testing models of development. Long understood western models would not suffice in being the basis for design for a culture found in the Mose Valley of western India.

Since the project is in its construction infancy, many of the lessons learned are not understood yet. Construction document preparation in offices on the other side of the planet does not guarantee that the project will be built as dimensioned and detailed. On-site visits are needed to ensure the success of the urban space and one needs a client who is willing to pay for such services. Time will provide the lessons learned beyond the drawing and design phases.

 

Dasve Town Center Plan
Dasve Town Center Aerial View
Dasve Town Center Landscape Features
Dasve Lake Edge Treatment Urban Condition
Dasve Lake Edge Treatment Natural Condition
Dasve Village Character Vignettes
Dasve Village Phase 1 (Town Center) Construction Photos (April - 2005)
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