Reading: Reading a pattern in Sri Lankan landscape through Alexander’s notes on the synthesis of form

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Reading a pattern in Sri Lankan landscape through Alexander’s notes on the synthesis of form

Author:

Jagath Munasinghe

University of Moratuwa, LK
About Jagath
Department of Town & Country Planning
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Abstract

The common map of Sri Lanka presents the island in the form of a network of large, medium and small towns, connected via major and minor roads upon the assemblage of hydro systems. Although this can be viewed as a social construction of the ‘national space’, only limited scholarly attempts have been made so far to explore the process behind this composition. For present day planning & development purposes the island space is studied more in terms of different sectors and their status-core, rather than as a holistic configuration and as an evolutionary process. Therefore, most of the modern development projects have become impositions with little or no concern about the scale and the phase of their impacts upon the landscape of the island. In this background, this paper is an attempt to explore the mapped configuration of the national space of Sri Lanka, and to read its landscape through Christopher Alexander’s ‘Notes on the Synthesis of Form’ (1964). The paper interprets a pattern, long evolved upon the island’s natural terrain, initiated and complimented by different agents over many generations, through both internal organizations and external interventions, with both deliberate efforts and unconscious responses; building upon the former and extending another’s, and in piece-meal solutions, but with an enormous sense of an overall pattern. The configuration of this pattern demonstrates a series of ‘solutions’ which ‘fits’ best into ‘problems’ which emerged in ‘contexts’ prevalent at different times, in line with the language suggested in Alexander’s work. The need to rethink spatial implications of the present day development projects is emphasized.
How to Cite: Munasinghe, J., (2016). Reading a pattern in Sri Lankan landscape through Alexander’s notes on the synthesis of form. Bhumi, The Planning Research Journal. 3(1), pp.11–24. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/bhumi.v3i1.11
Published on 20 Jun 2016.
Peer Reviewed

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