Living Culture in the Himalayas

Living Culture in the Himalayas.
Anthropological Guidelines for Building in Developing Countries

von Ao. Univ. Prof. Dipl. Ing. Dr. phil. Andrea Rieger-Jandl

In a world of rapid cultural transformation this book takes a new look at architecture from an anthropological perspective. From the 1990s on there has been an increasing call for the integration of culture into development work and into planning and construction processes in developing countries. However, the mere declaration that it is absolutely necessary today to include the subject of culture in planning processes is rarely followed up by theoretical precision or methodological considerations. It is therefore the main goal of my work to develop a methodological toolkit for the integration of culture into planning.

To this end, an exemplary field study was carried out in Ladakh, in the Indian Himalaya. The housing problems in Ladakh are representative for many regions in the Himalayas and similar problems can be found in many less developed regions worldwide. A methodological approach for a so-called “anthropological pre-design study” (APD-Study) has been developed and introduced prior to a major building project (Solar Town) in Ladakh. A lot of useful information could be gathered in a relatively short amount of time and the results of the study are now with the planners helping them in their own decision making process in a number of ways. Drawing from this experience, general guidelines were elaborated – and are presented to the readers in a readily accessible form – in order to promote the introduction of similar studies in other world regions with comparable problems.

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