Saturday, January 22, 2011

The uplifting experience

While in Mumbai, I visit an office that has two sections, one of which is located on the 25th floor of Block A, and the other on the 25th floor of Block B. The only way to move from one section to another is by coming down to the ground floor in an elevator, walking a few steps to the adjoining Block, and riding the elevator to the 25th floor again. During such transitions, I wonder how life would have been before the elevators were invented.. The answer is, of course, that tall buildings came up only after elevators were available. It was some kind of a symbiotic relationship.

Yet, when we think of the different modes of urban transportation, we think of the bus, the train, the car, but the elevator is denied the credit it deserves. An article I came across recently tries to make amends..

Without the elevator, we would not have experienced the rise of cities. As crucial to the process of urbanization as sewage systems, streetlights, and steel, the elevator enables dense vertical living. Without height, our cities would sprawl out over suburbia and farmland in a blanket of pavement and a noose of traffic.

Not only did the elevator help shape our modern cities, it also offers an object lesson in ecologically sound technology. “It takes about as much energy to run the light inside as it does to run the elevator,”

So, if you are a parent of a school-going child who needs to submit a ‘project report’ on transportation, remind him/her to include some photos of the elevator, apart from the cars and the buses and the trains.

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