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URBAN RENEWAL AND CONSERVATION OF BUILT HERITAGE THE CASE OF DELHI A.K. Jain* Delhi the national Capital, is known for its charisma. It has always attracted invaders, migrants and is a nerve centre of politics, business, trade and education. From a population of 7 lacs in 1947, today its population is around 1.20 crores (1998), with a growth rate of around 4.3% (1981-91). As a result there is a phenomenal pressure on land, housing, transport network and services. Out of total area of 1485 square kms. about 40% has already been urbanised and the rest is under heavy pressure of urbanisation. In order to restrict the growth of the city, the National Capital Region, covering about 30000 sq.km. has been delineated. However, the runaway growth of Delhi continues abated. Historical Background Delhi is unimaginably antique. It is a legend that lives. The scattered tombs of the emperors, forgotten fortresses and lost dynasties are hidden behind the dust of the vernacular. Steeped in history. Delhi is like no other place in the world. Its past reveals the present. Like the many layers on what is built, Delhi unveils itself to reveal its different facets. Delhi has been the Capital of no less than seven different empires. Through the ages, its cities provide a glimpse of the intertwined socio-cultural political process and forces. These provide a tour de force of historic Delhi’s remains, which conceal and reveal the splendour of many cities built, abandoned, razed and rebuilt by the successive waves of time. The layers of various cities are the grandiloquent testimony of its past. For centuries the river Yamuna has witnessed the rise and fall of several Delhis and transported the sediments of its culture. Its banks have been the abode of pre historic man. The legend of Mahabharata, the great epic, mentions Indraprastha, the capital of the Pandavas. The archaeological explorations confirm its location at the site of the Old Fort. The remains of the cities of Rajput dynasty are still discernible at Lalkot and Rai Pithora, near Mehrauli. Besides the city walls, its remains were recycled in the successive cities. The rustles and ageless iron pillar, installed by the Tomars and the remains of numerous temples, which were used in building the Qutab Minar complex tell their own story. The various cities of Delhi are the stamps of its several invaders and conquerors. Khilji’s Siri, Tughlak’s Tughlakabad, Jahanpanah and Ferozabad, are the reminders of Delhi’s embattled past. These are the tales of terror and valour, bloodshed and violence. The reconstruction of cities at the site of Purana Qila-Dinapanah by Emperor Humayun and Dilli by Shershah Suri are the expressions of thrift and nimbleness of the rulers. Seventeenth century Shahjahanabad is a reminiscent of the past and expressive of the present. It is a climax of the glory of the Mughals and their art of city building. Immensely rich in cultural heritage, Shahjahanabad with its palaces, mosques, bazaars, gilded domes, havelis, katras and a maze of lanes and bye lanes had been one of the most beautiful cities of the Orient. *Addl.Commissioner(Planning) Delhi Development Authority, New Delhi.

Simultaneously. The Delhi Development Authority was set up with broad objectives of “promoting and securing the development of Delhi according to Plan”. and projected requirement of 4. adjustment and resettlement. . also known as the Delhi Improvement Trust Enquiry Committee. The population in 1961 was 2. Lutyens’ Imperial Delhi was conceived as an “Anglo-Indian Rome” (1912-31). community facilities. Through years of improvisation. the refugees were moved into 36 permanent rehabilitation colonies.3 million) population in 1981. All operating agencies were brought within the overall framework of the plan. Delhi was resurrected as the Capital of India (1911-12). set up “Delhi Development (Provisional) Authority which was replaced by the Delhi Development Authority in 1957. DIT resumed work on the Delhi-Ajmeri Gate Scheme. From an urbanised area of 42. Delhi’s population was thus doubled in just two months. The Improvement Trust could not cope up with the demands of urban development and the Government in 1950 appointed the Birla Committee. which had saturated all areas of the city. a Central Coordination Committee for the Development of Greater Delhi was established as part of the Central Public Works Department. In 1949. In 1948. Millions crossed the man-made borders and an estimated half a million sought shelter in Delhi. almost double the 1941 population of 0.700 acres in 1958-59. The population of Delhi in 1951 was 1.000 acres (1981). Tihar and Shekh Sarai were planned in 1948 by the Improvement Trust for the Ministry of Relief to house refugee population. This was the beginning of a new chapter in the history of a Delhi. A national emergency was met with immediate action. Tents were pitched to house these uprooted people. services etc. it enlarged the urbanisable limits to 1. It is a subtle blend of the best of India and the West.91 million. and subsequently by the British Raj. The Master Plan was given a statutory shape on September 1. which developed several schemes. New townships in the urban fringe of Delhi at Kalkaji. Delhi in Independent India In 1947. 1962. The Government of India in November. As the first task. in 1960 the DDA published a Draft Master Plan. which continues to be national focus of power and politics.10. It assessed the existing deficiencies in housing. where five storey office blocks replaced the dilapidated old houses in 1953.65 million. From development of ‘colonies’ by the East India Company.6 million (revised to 5. It culminated.2 - The advent of the East India Company (1803) as ‘protector’ of Delhi Emperor and the British rule (1857) gave an altogether new turn to the physical form of Delhi.. Various rudimentary services and community facilities were provided. The slum clearance and improvement work under the charge of Delhi Improvement Trust was transferred to the Municipal Corporation. after the Independence.794 million. 1955. This Committee suggested setting up a single planning and controlling Authority for the development of the whole of the urban Delhi. Delhi witnessed one of the largest inmigration of people in history. It boosted the enlargement of the city. its economy and development. in the building of the Imperial Delhi. but large areas had deficient development. the Parliament enacted the “Slum Improvement and Clearance Act” in 1956.

07. Urban Renewal of Old Delhi For the Planning purpose.22. The encroachments around Jama Masjid were removed . is empowered to prepare a master plan. The redevelopment of Jama Masjid area was taken up by the DDA during 1975-77. The population of this Division according to 1981 census was 6. At the time of the preparation of Delhi Master Plan (1958-59) this zone contained a population of 6. Most of this planning division is comprised of the heavily built-up areas and organic development including Shahjahanabad. An indexing system was evolved to categorise various areas for these strategies. the Master Plan intended to “equalize living condition and community facilities to improve and sanitize and thin out the Old City without sacrificing its external character.2 percent.22. The role of the local bodies had been restricted to water supply. manage and dispose of lands in Delhi. forming the core of Urban Delhi. zonal plans. construction of night shelters and such piecemeal efforts. insanitary conditions. rehabilitation and conservation strategy.000. functionally lacking in exclusive land use zones. Further in 1991 the population of the zone came down to 6.000 was to be shifted out of this Division. open spaces and parking lots.. Slum Wing undertook upgradation of services. without any green spaces and socially and culturally stagnant’. Delhi Urban Area was divided into 8 planning divisions. scavenging and maintenance of roads. and pulsating with life is a planner’s nightmare with its multiplicity of conflicting uses and its million problems created by acute congestion. Division ‘A’ of Delhi Master Plan (Old City) covers an area of 3. narrow lanes and high land prices” In view of the deplorable physical conditions of the Old City. Delhi Master Plan described the Old City as ‘slum. namely Dujana House (near Jama Masjid) and Turkman Gate. Delhi Master Plan proposed a residential area of 1.600.000 and Delhi Master Plan projected that its population in 1981 be reduced to 3. while for planning Division ‘A’ this was a mere 1.16. It proposed shifting out of about 48 per cent of its population to decongest the Old City. The MPD 1962 projected the concept of ‘Urban Renewal’ comprising of redevelopment.057 acres. Decennial population growth rate (1971-81) of Urban Delhi had been 53 per cent.200 indicating that the dedensification proposals of Delhi Master Plan could not be realised. However. Thus a population of about 2. sanitation. congested. obsolete. The Master Plan for Delhi provides a basic policy frame work guiding city’s development. solid waste disposal. to implement and enforce the plans and to develop.85. Delhi Master Plan (1962) From planning point of view the old Delhi had been recognised as one of the most complicated and difficult.169 acres was to be developed at a density of 250 ppa and the rest 102 acres at a density of 200 ppa. no progress could be made except redevelopment of two pockets. filthy.3 - The Delhi Development Authority as the nodal agency for planning and development of the city. dilapidated structures. Delhi Master Plan (work studies) states that: “Now this past of Delhi though full of the dust and fragrance of the past.370 areas out of which 1.

iii. During 1988-89 it was decided that the Walled City requires focused attention for which preparation of well thought out planning framework as the starting point. open space and special features. Walled City of Delhi with concentration of historical buildings has been designated as “controlled conservation area”. Proposed land use. In August. Upgrading physical and social infrastructure iii. In 1985. of old built up area. facilities and services. physical condition of structures. According to these Regulations maximum ground coverage and FAR shall be same as residential plot in plotted development. known as ‘Special Area’ which has been divided into 4 Urban Renewal Areas namely (i) Walled City (ii) Karol Bagh (iii) other Urban Renewal Areas and (iv) Specific use zone areas. iv. The following strategies are proposed for overall conservation of the walled city:i. Conservation and restoration of historical buildings. Proposed circulation system v. However.. v. The reduction of population is due to invasion of commercial activities and also indicates degradation of living conditions in the walled city.4 - and an underground market (Meena Bazar) was built. Traffic and transportation management and regulation. However. The population of Walled City in 1981 had been 3. In 1982. a seminar was held on ‘Redevelopment of Shahjahanabad’.11 lakhs in 1991.62 lakh which further reduced to 3. Urban Renewal proposals will indicate:i. no concrete action could be taken. . Revitalisation of residential areas. This included Urban Renewal Strategy for Special Area including Shahjahanabad. circulation patter. It is not known whether the Committee finalised its report. Delhi Master Plan 2001 Proposals MPD 2001 proposes urban renewal of 2600 ha. Clearance areas and areas to be cleared. In 1976 at the instance of the Prime Minister. The Master Plan provides guidelines for preparation of Urban Renewal Schemes which will be based on the existing land use. ii. Also a school (Paiwala Complex) and a park (Subhash Park) were developed. Master Plan has proposed Special Area Regulations for Walled City. ii. a final notification was issued promulgating MPD 2001. Shifting and delimitation of residential activity. 1990. which helped in renewing interest in the conservation of heritage. iv. not much headway was made in improving the conditions. the Government of India constituted a Committee under the chairmanship of Home Minister. MPD 2001 stipulate that the Authority shall formulate Special Development Plans for conservation and improvement of walled city and no alteration or demolition of any building without consent of Authority be allowed. Upgradation of facilities and services. DDA published draft MPD 2001 inviting objections and suggestions from the public. Population distribution.

no headway could be made in preparation of urban renewal schemes. listing of heritage. etc. a Conservation Cell was constituted in the DDA. In 1997. The residential area having unique character especially within the walled city should be conserved with care and sensitivity. lack of public participation. Recreational areas. (i) The Walled City of Delhi (ii) the Central Vista (iii) Nizamuddin (iv) area near Vijay Mandal have been designated as controlled conservation areas. ii. Delhi Urban Heritage Foundation In 1993. is recommended to be kept at low density to ensure that its basic character is maintained.. to encourage conservation and also to raise the level of public awareness. . delineation of ‘controlled conservation areas’. in consultation with the School of Planning and Architecture. The Conservation Cell undertook a study of Mehrauli. It is necessary to focus on these issues in order to trigger a self-supporting process of urban renewal and conservation of the built heritage in Delhi Steering Committee Recommendations According to the Streering Committee constituted by the MOUD (1996). The proposals of MPD 2001 have been reviewed by the Steering Committee of the MOUD. Underground car parking projects may affect the overall planning including MRTS. Delhi Urban Heritage Foundation was set up under Delhi Development Act. It further states that serious attempts need to be made to decentralise the wholesale trade particularly those which are hazardous. It is envisaged that as far as possible Urban Renewal Project should be self-financing. However. The proposals of the Expert Group include reactivation of the Conservation Cell in the DDA. New Delhi. In actual practice. So far 25 such buildings have been given awards. the DDA instituted annual “Urban Heritage Awards”. The historic areas like. Accordingly. The Master Plan of Delhi 2001 gives guidelines for conservation of urban heritage. not only on zonal plans but in sub-zonal and layout plans. The tasks before the Foundation include the following: To frame rules. regulations and an institutional framework for conservation of heritage and urban renewal. the zonal development plan approach for such a complex built up area is inadequate to address the myriad problems of the area. no sustained efforts could be made. criteria for listing of buildings for conservation. This is largely due to lack of a clear institutional and legal framework. In 1991. which is one of the most pleasant tree studded areas in the city. iii. together with stipulations for declaring prohibited and restricted areas around such monuments and controlled Conservation Areas. The Lutyens’ Bungalow Area. policy for conservation of walled city. the zonal development plans have listed protected monuments as notified by Archaeological Survey of India. Entry of vehicular traffic needs to be restrained to maintain the desired level of circulation and parking.5 - vi. the policy on hoardings. as well as zoning disincentives inherent in the Master Plan and Zonal Plans. The Steering Committee points out that : i.

Governor of Delhi as its Chairman and Vice-Chariman. .N. ITDC & DTTDC. archaeologists/artists. Planning and Institutional Framework There is a need of evolving legal and institutional framework and the process of conservation. Subsequently in 1997 the TCPO & CPWD also gave proposals for 40 and 50 FAR respectively. With a view to safeguard the built and natural heritage of the city through collaborative efforts. which makes New Delhi one of the finest capital in the world. to define mechanisms for support schemes to stimulate replication to frame schemes and apply special development controls/regulations for Heritage/conservation/urban renewal to organise public hearings on urban renewal proposals which have impact on the heritage monitoring of the implementation projects. The Committee in its report submitted to Government in June 1999. creating ‘bankable’ projects. However. renowned citizens of Delhi and from DUAC. The Committee submitted its recommendations in February. Six other members include eminent historians. Lutyens’ Bungalow Zone In 1988. which should be an inherent part of urban development process.DDA.6 - to create partnerships and commitments among stakeholders and actors who have an interest in the conservation area(s) to mobilize government/private investments to ensure financial and economic viability. Chief Secretary. The Foundation comprises of Lt. any increase in FAR and ground coverage in LBZ will change the very character of this unique heritage area. National Capital Territory of Delhi and other as the Members.. strongly recommended conservation of the tree studded Bungalow character of the zone. This has already been initiated. The Ministry of Urban Development (1998) constituted another Committee under Shri M. 1995 that the guidelines issued in February. The Government constituted a Committee under the chairmanship of Chief Planner. its own Expert Committee (1995) had suggested an FAR of 60 and ground coverage of 25% for redevelopment of bungalow plots in LBZ.Buch to go into the details of delineation of Lutyens’ Bungalow Area and development controls. observed that. The members of the Committee included the representatives of HUDCO and practicing Architects. Town & Country Planning Organisation in September. in order to maintain its tree studded character. Legal. 1992 to finalise the issue of boundary delineation and development controls in respect of Lutyens’ Bungalow Zone. 1988 are to be strictly enforced. without allowing any further construction.1993 which were considered by the Government and it was decided in October.1996). the Government of India issued guidelines in respect of Lutyens’ Bungalow Zone covering an area of 2612 ha. The Steering Committee constituted by the MOUD in its report (Sept. NGOs. Delhi Urban Heritage Foundation has been set up by Delhi Development Authority under Section 5-A of the Delhi Development Act..

Tourism development projects which generate profits that can be channelled to finance other interventions/investments. An Advisory Committee comprising members from DDA. It is also empowered to permit major alterations to heritage building or areas excluding those which are under ASI. ‘Adaptive reuse' projects of significant buildings/landmarks with the involvement of private/public sector investment. aesthetical. heritage precincts or zones as well as natural assets of the Capital City such as river front. without changing the character. which may comprise on the following categories: i. Area based transformational urban renewal of dilapidated old areas and public housing built more than 20 years ago. encouragement is to be given to the owners and occupants of heritage buildings/zones to collaborate with the Heritage Foundation Committee in matters concerning listing preparation of interventions and implementation. ii. alter. It envisages to develop guidelines for the tasks of advocacy.. Enveloping of selected Inner City areas by community initiative through minimum controls and incentive zoning (realization of FAR incentive and mixed land use).7 - The main function of the Foundation is to frame. For this. which should be handy in this task. At the beginning. INTACH has already done tremendous amount of work. action planning. conservation. The next step will be to develop a comprehensive list of buildings and precincts/zones which merit conservation. networking. rather than from the above. implementation and supervision. iv. cultural. vii. A further important work is to establish “urban heritage zone” status in accordance with the Master Plan of Delhi. v. it is necessary to identify and formulate action plans for demonstration projects. Institutions and NGOs associated with heritage development of Delhi advises the Foundation on the policies and proposals. Demonstration Projects In the second stage. management of information base. modify or relax provisions of regulations of protection. As such it is suggested to formulate overall policies and plans emerging from ground level experience. . preservation or retention of historical. Government and Local Bodies. Land-based ‘remunerative’ projects which cross-subsidize other ‘non-conservative’ conservation/rehabilitation project. a citywide process to create community awareness about the need for conservation is to be initiated. Infrastructure and upgradation schemes for Inner city/heritage zones : there is a need to assess the extent to which existing financial resources can be geared towards urban heritage zones. iii. Home improvement loans for home owners/renters through formation of cooperatives as has been tried in Mumbai for repair of chawls. Demonstration projects should lead to comprehensive development plans for heritage zones and definition of clear goals of an integrated conservation policy. vi. architectural quality of any heritage building. ridge and rock formations. architectural/historical features of the buildings or areas.

particularly for infrastructure and employment generating projects. v. Need for prior permission in respect of undertaking any development/redevelopment/constructgion/additions/alterations repair etc. Scope and Competent Authority.8 - Mechanism for Conservation & Renewal In order to make conservation and urban rehabilitation a sustainable proposition. Minimum intervention of controlling authority in terms of development and over detailed elevation controls etc. parking and traffic control.) and apply special Development Controls/Building Regulations for Heritage/Conservation. Pedestrianisation. To frame and review policies and programmes of conservation/renewal. xii. Inviting public objections/suggestions and hearing. listing and notification of heritage zones/areas/buildings and precincts. Procedures and mechanism will have to be evolved to ultimately move from demonstration to replication projects. Control over elevation. vii. Terms of References. For this a system has to be evolved which should promote: i. Private investments can be attracted through tax incentives. and financial and economic viability can be ensured by taking up ‘bankable’ projects via financial institutions. iii. Mobilising private sector investments. viii. Applicability. ix. etc. protection & regulation.Infrastructure/services upgradation. v. where an initial government investment would trigger the process of urban renewal by private/community investment. iii. iv. Compensation against deprivation to owners in heritage zones/buildings in terms of FAR. Permissibility and process of obtaining the approval. in a Heritage Zone. Rules and Regulations There is a need to frame Regulations as part of Master Plan/Statutory Plans (Zonal Plans etc. Technical Assistance to heritage conservation projects can be provided by the local bodies/NGOs. It may be good idea to organise public hearings on specific proposals which have wider impact for the heritage zone. vi. Bankable project approach. Incentives in terms of FAR/land use. examination and review of urban renewal/conservation schemes. Community involvement and self-help. Defining area around heritage building under control. ii. . it has to be self-supporting and self-starting. Leverage strategy. arbitration system. For this it is pertinent to create partnerships and commitments among stakeholders and actors who have an interest in the conservation areas. x. xi. Survey. Preparation. ii. iv. which should form part of the Rules & Regulations. The Rules/Regulations concerning Heritage Conservation should include the following: i. vi.. by Transferable Development Right. hoardings and advertisements.

Recently with the initiative of local Member of Parliament. urban renewal and rehabilitation.Loans. For a living city like Delhi.Dissemination of information. which was quite effective. legal framework in the form of development controls and conservation regulations.Holding competitions & instituting awards for (a) Conservation of Heritage. Incentive Zoning According to Delhi Master Plan.Powers to relax. Chandni Chowk had been taken up for beautification and conservation. but also 30-40 years old housing complexes continue to suffer degradation and unauthorised additions and alterations.. It should be holistic incorporating rejuvenation. organisational structure. The local authorities can facilitate self-supporting conservation on a sustainable basis by adopting proper policies. financial help for conservation and maintenance. and by initiating a process of demonstration projects. for reconstruction is as per plotted regulations. xiv. recycling and renewal of twilight zones alongwith the conservation of the historical heritage. xvi. the approach to conservation has to be dynamic. the FAR allowed in the Walled City/Special Area. which is generally much less than existing. cooperative. reconstruction and repair fund. This is a major disincentive for urban renewal. and as a result massive unauthorised reconstruction and conversions of land use are taking place. it is necessary not only to allow minimum existing FAR and ground coverage. These are ripe for urban renewal.. institutions. Implementation and Monitoring systems. xx.Training and capacity building for craftsmen professionals and local bodies. documentation related to conservation/heritage. for which local bodies should encourage the residents/cooperatives and Resident Welfare Associations to take up urban renewal.9 - xiii. (c) Repair and Maintenance of Heritage buildings. schools. It is suggested that several attractive areas/streets (like Chandni Chowk & Dariba) can be taken up for urban renewal and pedestrianisation. but also give an incentive FAR and adopt mixed land use zoning. modify & alter the regulations. community. public awareness. xix. subsidy. (b) Restoration. In this regard. xviii. xv. For this community participation and incentives are essential prerequisites. . (d) Traditional Crafts/craft person.Guidelines related to technical assistance and consultancy. Guidelines related to the roles of NGOs. tax relief. welfare associations etc. Not only the Inner City. artists. xvii. etc. together with mobilising private sector and financial institutions in taking up bankable projects.

.2. issue on Indo-Dutch Workshop on Urban Heritage June 1996. Conservation and Rehabilitation of Urban Heritage in Developing Countries. July-Sept. A. 1995. June. The Cities of Delhi. A Policy for Area Conservation in India RFAC.2001 Integrated Conservation of Urban Heritage 1996. Guidelines for Training and Conservation. Authority HUDCO: ICOMOS: INTACH & CSD: INTACH: Jain.p. University of Birmingham. 1995. Steinberg. New Delhi. Urban India. ITPI Journal. Legislation for Conservation and Management of Ancient Monuments and Archaeological sites and Ruins. Dec. 1996.F MOUAE (1996): Naidu. Rob: Govt.K.K.K.F.: Blue print for conservation in the Third World.1994 The listing of Buildings and Sites and Archaeological.1977.. &. Mimar 24.B.: Steinberg. Pub. reprinted by DDA (1997) A conceptual Framework for Renewal of Walled Cities in India. of Maharasthra Groves. Dec. New Delhi. 1985 Master Plan of Delhi . Max Mueller Bhawan. Mumbai. No. Delhi-50 years of Triumph & Tragedy. Seminar Paper. ITPI. A.K.: McCallum D. Historical and Architectural Significance in the Context of the Bombay Fort Precinct. Development of Urban Renewal Programme in India. E.: Jain. 1997 Shelter. Heritage Regulations/List of Greater Bombay. Spl. 1987. Vol. A.REFERENCES Cantacuzino Sherban: Cantacuzino Sherban: Delhi Development Authority: (1990) Docter.20-26 (1987) Report of the Steering Committee on Review of MPD-2001. Journal March. 1997.. Ekistics Sept. 1993 Listing of heritage buildings in Delhi. Rao. Florian: . Habitat Intnl.1991 Mehrauli Urban Heritage Project.. Ratna: Ribeiro.1998 Approaches to Housing Renewal.: Jain. G. 1994 Planning Approach for Conservation of Heritage. October 1992. Man. Co.June.N.1991 Conservation of Heritage in Hyderabad-Regulation and list.-Dec. p. URP Thought.XVIII. Richard: Hyderabad Urban Dev.