By Britain A. Ogle, University of Arizona, Masters Candidate – Landscape Architecture
Well, everything I’ve heard about India is true. The streets are chaotic, the Metro is jam-packed, and the food is fantastic! I landed in Delhi on June 6th around midnight. The streets outside the airport were loaded with taxis awaiting any fare, especially one that involves a tourist unknowing of their deceptive practices.
Dr. Shikha Jain, Director of DRONAH, was sitting at her desk when I arrived, eager to meet, she promptly stood and shook my hand. After introductions she proposed an alternative to the UNESCO Creative Cities Project: Crafts Walk assignment. The Jantar Mantar Landscape Master Plan (a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2010) is in need of a revision, she felt the project might better suit my interests. Dr. Shikha explained to me, “Either project is suitable, you have the final say in which ever one you might want to pursue.”
It is most difficult choosing one site over another, each is so unique and has its own challenges and erudition. Since my work as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Zambia, UNESCO Heritage Sites and landscape design has been my pursuit. Although attractive and fascinating, it is not an easy task deciding which UNESCO project to adopt. The Jantar Mantar lies at the axis (literally) of the majestic Pink City of Jaipur, and sets an example for future development throughout the historic city, whereas the Crafts Walk would provide an opportunity to immerse myself in the discovery and mapping of Jaipur’s cultural traditions.
Britain Ogle is no stranger to life abroad. As a Peace Corps volunteer in Zambia, he worked on
the need for proper land management techniques, water conservation and improving living
conditions. I became interested in developing more sustainable systems. These systems would
integrate the culture, heritage and traditions of a community with the landscape in which it
exists. No pursuing a master’s degree in Landscape Architecture, Britain’s experience in Zambia cemented his interest in how we preserve the past while moving forward with sustainable systems.
In his IEP application, Britain wrote that through his experience in Zambia:
I have found cross‐cultural programs crucial in proper land management techniques. These programs not only promote resiliency and infrastructure but also increase awareness to these significant landmarks. I am continually researching and learning about solutions to these diverse yet devastating problems by studying the successes of one country and learning how similar interventions can be implemented in other unique areas.
Now Britain hopes to build on these experiences, helping to restore and preserve world heritage sites thorough investigative analysis of heritage and cultural experience. Britain’s IEP work has taken him to Jaipur, India where he is working this summer with DRONAH – Development and Research Organisation for Nature, Arts and Heritage. DRONHA is an interdisciplinary organisation consisting of highly motivated professionals from various fields who share a vision for a better quality of life – one that is sustainable environmently sensitive and draws on the contemporary without foregoing the strength of the Traditional.