Architectural Value of River Bank Areas

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Malwathu Oya is a one of the major rivers in Sri Lanka, this river bank identifies as a major human settlement established in ancient era. The king “Vijaya” and his force established their first settlements based on the malwathu Oya river bank, because of that they have an agriculture based culture. The first kingdom of Sri Lanka is situated on Anuradhapura, it is also formed based on the malwathu Oya river because that time they mainly using agriculture, the river is the main force for supplying water in the paddy land and today it is still happening. Malwathu Oya is the main natural thing is distributing water in the northern part of Sri Lanka. The importance of this river is, still Anuradhapura city based on this river it is flowing through the Anuradhapura.

The riverbank settlements in malwathu Oya grow in two categories; the planned and autogenously settlements. The first category tends to develop in the northern direction of Anuradhapura and based on the areal governance space layout, this settlement is developed by govt. Town planner Oliver Weerasingha. The second category, riverbank autogenously settlement, which is the focus of this study area, has some experiences which indicate the dialog process with the river. This is shown through “communicative” process between occupier and the malwathu Oya River. The communication on both sides appears through the use of riverbank to accommodate the needs of occupants’ psychological state in cognitive, affective and psychometric. The cognitive activities are the rational-based activities of occupants. The consideration of these activities is so influenced by the occupants’ backgrounds that the behavior expressions are also various.

In the context of riverbank autogenously settlement, the cognitive activities of the occupants of either in the riverbank or in river water are relatively more apparent than others. The phenomenal constructed activity can represent more the responsive behavior which is based on the occupants’ needs and external condition of the river. They have built what so called as a ‘space’ to occupy various activities, while the river condition it enables the occupants to articulate the river for fulfilling their needs. As the ’free land’, the riverbank has given opportunity to the occupants to act spatially. Triggered by its independent status and its possibility to explore, the land attracts the occupants to use it as the space for accommodating domestic, social and economic activities. This specific behavior indicates the phenomenal relation among river behavior components. Therefore, their behavior characters are not common considerations for settlement plan. As the result of the differentiation, not only when the occupants do incidental activities, but also when they do routines does the unique behavior apparent. This experience indicates that the community of riverbank occupants has constructed their environments based on the functionality, norms, and sense of community for the sake of human basic needs. How is the process, who is the actor, and what the motivation behind the construction of space along the river are the questions that this research based on. From the explanation hope that their behavior is the ’real data’, which at the same time is also the community’s aspiration representative. For many policy makers, decision makers, and urban planner and especially for housing planner, this aspiration hopefully can be the consideration. This is very possible as the phenomenal action has social and human values that have much spirit of sustainable development more than temporary economic values for limited interests.

River bank

Social correlation of the river bank areas

River watershed is a major natural inheritance to have all of the fundamental components for a vibrant urban place: nature, culture, people, and economic might. It is one of the most important natural and cultural assets. Over the last fifty years the value of this resource has been reduced by degradation of character and ecological quality. Today, concrete channels and poor water quality limit the river’s capability to support wildlife. Inaccessibility to the river’s edge severs the important connection between the River and people. Planning and design initiatives to ensure that the River thrives as a natural and cultural resource for generations to come. The Master Plan is much more than a Greenway concept. It identifies cultural and environmental interpretive site. Good planning principles with recreation, environmental stewardship and economic development. Areas will provide a natural setting for pedestrian access. As the River realizes its potential as a habitat for wildlife, River flows through an area with rich culture and history. It is a focal point and a thread that ties these cultural resources into a series of related experiences. The goal is to reinstate the river as an important resource that will enhance the ecology and quality of life in communities connected by the river.

History of river side human settlement in world

Indus valley civilization

Indus valley civilization developed along the river Indus 3000 years ago. This civilization is considered as one of the first known urban civilization of the world. The archaeological excavations have shown that the inhabitants were well versed with agricultural practices, rearing of animals, art of making jewelry and artifact and had good knowledge of architecture. The economy was well developed and the civilization had good trade relations with other countries. About 5000 years ago once man had learnt to grow his own food he was no longer a ‘nomad’. He started to lead a settled life. This led to ‘Agriculture’. The most important requirement for man to grow food was fertile soil, good climate and plenty of water, he naturally preferred to settle near river valleys. The Indus Valley Civilization, so named because many of its settlements were bested along the Indus River, turned out to be one of the great cultures of the ancient world. What has come to light since the first excavations suggests that the Indus Valley Civilization was as impressive as ancient Egypt and Sumerian.

What is known about the Indus Valley culture comes exclusively from archaeological evidence, because its cryptic script has never been completely deciphered. We do not even know what the citizens of this civilization called themselves. The archaeological data indicate that the Indus Valley culture was established around 3300 b.c.e. and flourished between 2600 and 1900 b.c.e. around 1900 b.c.e., it entered a period of decline and ultimately disappeared around 1400 b.c.e. At its height, the Indus Valley Civilization covered most of present-day Pakistan, the westernmost part of present-day India, and parts of Afghanistan, in an area estimated to include over five hundred thousand square miles. Over fifteen hundred Indus Valley sites throughout this region have been unearthed so far, and most have yet to be fully excavated. Several hundred of these sites are large enough to be classified as villages or towns.

  • River supplied a continuous flow of water for agriculture.
  • Flood waters, enriched the soil and made it fertile. It was much easier to cultivate the fertile land and grow a variety of crops. It not only helped the Harappan’s to produce enough food grains for themselves, but also keep the surplus. The main crops grown were wheat, barley and peas and in some places rice was also grown.
  • Animals that came to the river beds to drink or bathe became a source of food. Animals were domesticated for milk and meat. Some of them were also used for carrying loads.
  • Rivers were used for fishing and transportation of goods. This was the easiest and cheapest form of transport which later helped in the development of trade. People could go too far off places by using their crude boats.
  • Rivers also posed challenges. Farmers had to control floods and channelize water to their crops. Dams, canals, dykes had to be built. Farmers worked together to build dykes, dig canals, and carve out irrigation ditches. Such large scale projects required leadership and an organized government.

The largest and most are cities known as Mohenjo-daro and Harappa. These names are post–Indus Civilization designations that refer to towns built much later on the ruins of the ancient urban centers. In their heyday, Mohenjo-daro and Harappa may have each hosted a population as large as forty to fifty thousand, which was immense by ancient standards. Harappa appears to have been the capital, and accordingly the culture is sometimes referred to as the Harappan Civilization.


Modern development of river area


Relationship of architecture and river

High Density Developments and Green Space Interactions

Open and green spaces near higher density dwellings must cater to very diverse populations – older people, children, adolescents, parents, wealthy people and the poor – with diverse expectations about the functions that green space should perform. A ‘one size fits all’ approach to green space design for higher density areas will be prone to failure. Most commonly discussed claims; counterclaims and debate on high density developments and its implications on the quality of urban green space are: accessible, crowding, privacy, safety, social interaction, environmental quality, and the overall provisions for open space and a few other similar topics. These topics are attributed to the physical and social qualities of open space. Such factors, among others, will influence the use and user satisfaction of open spaces.

Architectural value of river bank area

In today the river bank areas, mostly using for peoples recreation, to increase the city beauty and identity and social gathering space. Achieving those kind of goals the city, developers and governments need to get an architectural involvement to the river bank areas. According to the architecture river bank environment is a very good natural landscape area. All around the world, most of river banks occupy as an urban space or urban green space that is how architects and landscape architects using the river bank areas.

Factors and Variables Influencing Urban Green Space

Factors Variables

Physical Qualities

  • Adequacy of open space provisions
  • Accessibility
  • Climatic comfort
  • Facilities, Amenities and Maintenance
  • Aesthetics

Social Qualities

  • Crowding
  • Privacy
  • Safety
  • Social interaction

Human Factors

  • Preferences
  • Socio-cultural differences
  • Lifestyle & habits
  • Demographic background
  • Economic backgrounds

Urban Green Space Use and User Experience

The success of urban spaces is associated with its quality - the quality of open space, as mentioned earlier, has both a physical and social dimension. The quality of experience has been often referred to as ‘total satisfaction’ Therefore, ‘satisfaction’ or ‘experience quality’ is found to be a credible indicator of the quality of an open and green space. Here, two cases of urban green space use and user experience in context near to river side Green Spaces.

Urban River Rehabilitation

Cultural requirements and natural properties meet directly at riversides in urban areas. Aesthetic value also represents an important factor for the economic prosperity and social life in the riverine districts. When planning the enhancement of urban rivers the social and economic requirements of the adjacent urban areas are of major importance. Thus, safety and health features and the environmental quality of life in the proximity of rivers have to be considered beside the ecological and chemical state of water bodies. They refer to aesthetic and amenity values, accessibility and environment-conscious utilization. Therefore, design, planning and implementation require an adequate participation of all stakeholders to ensure public acceptance of river enhancement.

The scope of the investigation is set by the following

  • Planning and implementation process
  • Rehabilitation techniques
  • Ecological, social and economic impacts
  • Aesthetic evaluation
  • Social appraisal and community involvement
  • Performance control and indicators of success

The Bridge between Planning and Architecture

The most frequently offered response to what urban designers do is that they mediate between plans and projects. Their role is to somehow translate the objectives of planning regarding space, settlement patterns and even the allocation of resources, into (mostly) physical strategies to guide the work of architects, developers and other implements. For example, many public planning agencies now incorporate an urban design staffer-or-two whose role is to establish criteria for development beyond basic zoning, and then help review, evaluate and approve the work of project proponents as they advance their projects through design and into construction. Such a design review process is an increasingly common component of a city’s regulatory framework, allowing traditionally controversial issues such as aesthetics to become factors discussed during project review and approval. It is the urban designer’s presumed insights about good or appropriate urban form that is seen as crucial in the translation of policy or program objectives into architectural concepts, or to recognize the urbanities potential in an emerging architectural design and thus advocate for its realization. A subtlety within this process is, however, often misunderstood. The translation of plans into designs is not meant to be a linear process – always emanating from planning to affect design – but interactive. The urban designer’s own expertise in architectural thinking should inform the formulation of plans so that these are not fixed prior to consideration of physical implications. This design version of shuttle diplomacy, between plan formulators and translators is important to be sure, but cannot rely only on mediation or persuasion to be effective. Urban designers must visualize, and make others see, the desired affect of planning. This requires specific techniques by which goals and policies are converted into potent design guidelines. It leads to the idea of urban design as a special category of public policy, an improvement on traditional land use regulations that shy away from qualitative assessments of form. So shouldn’t urban design then be considered?

Urban Design as “Landscape Urbanism”

In the last few years a new rallying point called Landscape Urbanism has emerged. Its proponents seek to incorporate ecology, landscape architecture and infrastructure into the discourse of Urbanism. The movement’s intellectual lineage may encompass, though it’s a polemical point of departure seems to be that landscape space, not architecture any longer, is the generative force in the modern metropolis. To return to the ’56 conference for a moment, there was a good deal of rhetoric about how landscape architecture was to be an integral part of the urban design process. Quickly this aspect was subsumed under the architecture vs. planning dichotomy in which urban design would occupy the mediating middle. Momentarily there was no conceptual space left for landscape architecture. Ironically, more areas of settlement in North America have been designed by landscape architects than anyone else. However, there has persisted an accusation (sometimes accurately) that landscape architect’s directed urban design favors low densities, exhibits little formal sensibility, and contains too much open space; in other words it produces sub-urban environments. Landscape urbanists challenge such a cliché, instead insisting that the conception of the solid, ‘man-made’ city of historic imagination perpetuates the oppositional – and no longer pertinent – view that nature and human artifice are opposites. Landscape Urbanism projects purport to overcome this opposition, holding neither a narrow ecological agenda nor mainstream (read architectural) city-making techniques as primary. Valuable urban design, landscape urbanists insist, is to be found at the intersection of ecology, engineering, design and social policy. In one regard the movement may be a reaction to the Nolli Map view of Urbanism; that is, of a binary conception of cities as made up of buildings and the absence of buildings, where the white of the map – the voids – are the result of built from, the black on the map. Maybe this was a useful interpretation of the pre-industrial city – of the Italian piazza as space carved out of the solidity of built fabric. Outside the pre-industrial walled city were certainly landscapes and undesignated space, but within the city space resulted from built form. Any careful perusal of a pre-industrial era city map proves this assertion fails, and surely the “white” of the Noll plan

Comes in many hues and nuances of meaning. Besides, the landscape urbanists ask, isn’t the landscape the modern glue that holds the modern metropolis together? The radicalism inherent in conceptualization landscape as generative for Urbanism, Where Nolli’s white, today colored green, is the central component of urban design, and brings us at last to the territory of:

Cultural and environment impacts of architecture

The growing concern about the negative ecological impacts of human activities, especially intensive agricultural production and deforestation, led some architects and town planners to reconsider the urban development impacts on the natural environment at both the local and global levels. Especially as its ecological impacts at the global level.