Culture Kattas over Concrete: What Indian Cities Can Learn from New York, London, Paris

In summarizing his vision of the ideal city, Jaime Lerner, a renowned urban planner and architect, stated “The key to a successful city is its integration. Each city’s area must be a mix of leisure, work and culture. Separate these roles and certain parts of the city will die.”

Although our cities are filled with workspaces but there aren’t enough leisure centers or cultural spaces. We’re not doing enough in the integration of culture and art into everyday city life. Experts have proposed an easy and inexpensive method to achieve this. Alongside the existing infrastructure that is private and public for cultural activities, the idea”Culture Kattas” must be included in an urban plan policy.

Culture has always been at center of urban development, and it’s evident through the cultural icons and heritage sites found in cities. To be distinctive in the age of globalization and integration cities must have distinctness, beauty and cultural features that make them stand out from other cities. To do this, more public spaces must be developed for performers, artists and other cultural enthusiasts.


A city such as Pune is a city with a rich cultural and political past, and is regarded as the capital of culture in Maharashtra. It has always been an advocate for various arts, be it traditional music or classical dancing film, theatre or literature. In the end, people of Pune are attuned to the development of artistic expression. This is the reason why an traditional classical music festival such as the ‘Sawai Bhimsen Festival’ is met with an overwhelming response. It is a city that is devoted to theatre even after the advent of technology and a variety of OTT platforms. The artists from Pune no matter the place they live now are still a part of the city.

Now is the time to promote and show the talents of the younger generation by providing multiple avenues for young people and giving them opportunities to express their creativity. “Culture Katta” can fulfill this function in the full sense. It could serve as a space that young people can meet artists and share ideas. In the end, the dimension of art expands with collaborations and interactions.

The concept of a “Katta Katta’ isn’t new to Pune. It is a space where people get together to catch up over a drink and engage in conversations that are unrestricted. To help develop the talents of young people in art , this ‘Katta culture’ must be transformed into a ‘Culture Kattas’ that are accessible to people from different kinds of lives.

It is encouraging to see that these places are becoming increasingly prominent in Pune. For instance, the ‘Kalakar Katta’, located in the centre of the city along FC Road is getting a positive response. The wider footpaths and the sitting arrangements along JM Road and FC Road are now popular spots to gather and host a range of arts and cultural events.

However, like Jaime Lerner said: every part of the city should be equipped with such facilities. Pune city as a result of its boundaries has grown to become the largest urban area in Maharashtra. Due to the amalgamation of 34 villages over the past seven years, role of city planners has grown. Alongside the provision of essential municipal amenities like drinking water roads, schools, and medical facilities, social integration of these communities should be taken into consideration.

When we talk about the growth and utilization of open spaces to stimulate creative minds, there’s an additional benefit of taking this approach. These spaces can be used to strengthen the spiritual roots of the city’s civic society. Spirituality and art are interconnected to a degree. The main goal is to present one’s view of science and life to the public.


It is important to be aware that some of the most well-known cities around the world draw in hundreds of people due to the culture and art that is maintained and nurtured by them. How can you describe New York without its artistic expression? How can you describe London without its galleries and museums? What would be Paris without its cultural and artistic heritage? The cities have not only preserved their heritage but they have also never stopped embracing the new styles of art and promoting emerging artists’ work. Certain cities are famous worldwide because of their art. For instance, SoHo in New York is famous for its artists’ lofts, galleries and fashionable boutiques. In London the world’s best art of every era and movement is on display and the most remarkable part is that the smaller, businesses and independent establishments don’t hesitate to exhibit the work of contemporary as well as emerging artists. This is the way the city continues to be relevant as an international art center.

In 2015 in 2015, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) recognized that culture is an essential instrument for promoting sustainable urban development via the protection of cultural heritage as well as the promotion of diversity in expressions of culture. After this, it released a report about cultural development for sustainable urban growth named ‘Culture: Future of the Urban The report has stressed the significance of cultural expression in ensuring cohesion in urban environments by its ability to act as a bridge-builder to promote good relationships and as an identity-building tool and source of reconciliation.

The creation of spaces that allow art to develop as well as strengthen the spiritual roots of the urban environment will not just alter the urban landscape, but will also assist in improving the overall mental well-being of people and aid in the development of a collective moral sense of.

Sudhir Mehta is Chairman and Managing Director, Pinnacle Industries Limited; President, Mahratta Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture-MCCIA. The views expressed in this article are the views of the author and do not reflect the position of this publication.

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