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KARACHI: As a part of their urban open space design project, fourth-year architecture students at the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture went to the drawing board for re-visioning of the Clifton beach and its surrounding areas on Wednesday.

Beginning with dividing the area into three zones — red, orange and yellow — in their drawings, they reserved the red zone for the movable vendors; orange zone for camels, horses and buggies that move from one zone to another and the yellow zone for women and families.

Important landmarks such as restaurants, including fast-food joints, and parks were also kept in mind while re-visioning.

It was observed that most of the structures such as kiosks had tiled flooring and some of them were blocking the view of the beach. When redesigning, care was taken it should not happen again.

The other beach structures such as fibreglass umbrellas and shades were surprisingly missing seats. Therefore, they were not in use. But the umbrellas and shades on the tiled area were. Also noticed were the benches without umbrellas and shades over them. They were also left unused during the day.

So when redesigning, the things kept in mind by the students were the positives, such as the pleasant view of the beach and sea breeze, and the negatives, such as littering on the beach, the accumulation of sand, etc.

Also spaces and paths were to be created for joggers, walkers and cyclists who at the moment stay away from the beachside.

The moving vendors, too, were seen as a risk when crossing over from one side to the other. And the parking area had to be relocated as it was taking far too much beachfront space.

Site survey included asking people about the problems they faced. The cyclists, walkers, dog walkers came out after 5pm, considered peak time when the sun is setting.

Activities at this beach go on until 4am but the place lacks proper lighting. So, there is little shade in the day and bad artificial lights at night.

The list of things needed included pedestrian crossings, more washrooms, shades, seats, dustbins, lighting, drinking water, multipurpose road with bicycle and bus lanes, bus stops, shuttle system of buggies or carriages, and a green area that transitions to the paved or tiled areas and then to the sand and sea. The students had plenty of benches in their green area.

They also came up with their new and people-friendly design by gaining inspiration from other beaches in other cities of the world such as Rio de Janeiro where one’s visual connection with the sea is constant and pedestrians are given a priority over motorists.

Speaking to Dawn later, course instructor Farhan Anwar said the project looks at giving a new vision to the Clifton beach that is one of the most visited public places in Karachi.

Published in Dawn, November 23rd, 2017