Reviving the Urban Water-Edge: History and Heritage Morphology in the Envisaging of Chittagong City
Keywords:Chittagong City, Colonial Period Architecture, Historical Essence, Tropical Urban Heritage, Urban Morphological Coding, Urban Water-Edge Design
Ancient settlements were dependent on the availability of water for sustainable living, ritual values, and economic purposes. Today, many Tropical Asian cities provide examples of urban settlements within water landscapes, yet these cities struggle with water issues, and face challenges in creating a contextual morphological identity. This paper explores urban waterfront heritage through a case study of Chittagong, Bangladesh. The city is experiencing rapid unplanned urbanisation, insensitive land use and the demolition of historical buildings along waterways, which in turn has created a contextual crisis in the built environment and social living. To explore the relationship of built heritage with the water-edge, this paper examines historical architectural styles using urban morphological codes. Results show that the historical orientations, accessibility, and functions of heritage buildings are explicitly and sensitively connected with the water-edge. The paper argues that physical and spatial components of urban structure and water landscape, incorporating the lessons of urban history, could become a tool to preserve urban heritage. However, to enhance the image of the city in a sustainable manner along water-edges, it is crucial to use the potentiality of water landscape with the heritage-based morphologies in current urban design and development practices.
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