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Demystifying Cubbon Park: One Shared Secret at a Time

Cubbon Park gets its own crowd-sourced and professionally planned information signage system, courtesy Sensing Local

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Do you think you know Cubbon Park well? Have you unearthed every hidden treasure? Share the secrets! In a one-of-its-kind crowd sourcing initiative, long-term residents of the city along with die-hard fans of the place, now have a chance to earmark their favourite spots in the park, that sprawls over 197 acres.

Enter Sensing Local, a think tank comprising architects and urbanists, and their Wayfinding Project, that seeks to inform the casual visitor of the recreational possibilities within the park. Sanctioned by the state tourism department, they’re attempting to recreate the idea of what the park can be used for, based on the best possible source: The people of Bengaluru.

Cubbon Park, spread over nearly 200 acres in the heart of the city, is a sight for sore eyes and the second largest green space in the IT capital. Originally created in 1870 by a British chief engineer, it remains the most loved spot in the city to escape the everyday hubbub. Senior citizens, youngsters and families all flock to Cubbon Park, especially on holidays. Flanked by Shivaji Nagar, Central Business District, major government offices as well as shopping hubs and eateries, it’s indeed the gateway to a host of activities. 

Using only post-its to indicate their choice on a massive poster of the park on the inner wall of the metro station, people really went for it, offering suggestions as well as responding to queries posted by other citizens.

People spoke about the picnic tables where they like spending time with family and friends.

Where they like to cozy up with a book, making it their own personal nook.

What a good spot for an afternoon siesta!

Or where one might come to escape the confines of the office, and catch up with work amidst a blanket of green.

Thanks to inputs, a 5-km jogging track has also been marked out all along the periphery of Cubbon Park.

Walk into the park a bit, and the boulder park is a fun place for friends to hang out at.

Not just crowd favourites, a network of signs also lead the curious and adventurous to some of the most well-known landmarks and monuments of Cubbon Park. Like, Bandstand:

Its famous bamboo grove, that forms a canopy above your head as you walk around.

Boards, bearing information about monuments and sculptures, educate the visitors about the historical significance of the ancient works – the pride of Cubbon Park.

People responded to the initiative in a big way, with suggestions, compliments and things the project may have overlooked, including asking for highlighting the locations of toilets, dustbins and giving more information about the flora.

Contradictory inputs were common, as can be expected from a public forum.

But ultimately, people were all praise for the initiative.

In the second phase of sourcing inputs, Sensing Local conducted an experiential walk through the park with people of different backgrounds, landscape painter, historian and writer, artist and story teller, artist working on gender issues in public spaces, a visually disabled person and an expert of trees and ecology to offer their unique perspectives.

A network of signs, from the minute you enter from any of the gates, to when you emerge from a garden to multiple paths, all enable easy navigation.

The Sensing Local Wayfinding Project is a definite step forward in helping people make sense of one of most beloved public spaces in the city. If you have some stories about Cubbon Park that you’d like to make part of its infrastructure forever, help a fellow citizen out!

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