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Urban Renewal of Old Delhi

Decay-is most manifest in the native town in core area. Old Delhi combining different area of similar congruity is about 10% of city’s population which is residing in the most congested and decayed part of NCT of Delhi.
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Urban life cycle (Phase) graph
I. Initial slack phase (Formation)
II. Linear growth phase (Growth)
III. Approaching saturation (Consolidation)
IV. Decline
All large cities in India will inevitably reached phase lll (as shown in figure urban life cycle Graph) in the urban Life cycle. The existing population bases are already too high and it is wishful thinking to believe that the pressures of rural influx can decrease in the coming decades. Cities, their administrators and people who live in them will have to reconcile themselves to deteriorating environments for sometime.
 
Industrial and commercial relocation must be done with a knowledge of how business functions and the involvement of business leaders in employment relocation and expansion. Cities will have to provide more and more jobs and cannot afford Unemployment. Housing must be given the number one priority in phase IV programmes both within existing city limits and expansion areas. Programmes of urban renewal and slum redevelopment must:
Ø Be participatory and not imposed
Ø Guarantee a form of transferable tenure
Public participation in the process of planning for revitalization of the area is a must as this would help understand the demands, interests and the willingness of the public to contribute to the process. The new functions should ideally respond to the existing surrounding functions. The new functions to be assigned can be best decided through demand survey and the needs of the people.
At the micro level there is no optimum solution as the approach to conservation and reuse shall vary in different situations. The historic evidence should be retained and the only way to keep a built fabric ‘alive’, after its use has been removed is to give it a new use. In case of reuse, most of the times, it becomes necessary to make some changes within the fabric, in order to accommodate new use that may lead to loss of historic evidence. While conservations should be sensitively handled, a little loss of historic fabric could be overlooked, if that implies the new use would help in the self-sustenance of the otherwise decayed fabric. Conversion should be done keeping in mind the needs of the area, and the compatibility of his new use with the old fabric.
Market forces in the real estate sector must be recognized. Adequate housing for all sections of society must be positively stimulated, but government should recognize that the grant of a development right enhances the value of land. The city administrations roles in housing programmes must be growth oriented and not control-oriented viz:
Ø They should act as a catalyst rather than implementer
Ø They need to recognize that people would like a choice in the type of shelter available and prefer to construct themselves.
Ø They should concentrate on cross-subsidies arid making housing credit available
Ø They should prepare for future migration by earmarking serviced sites.
The city ‘administration will need structural changes ‘to effectively co-ordinate planning execution of civic services, and facilities, amenities, transportation, and telecommunications, housing ‘and employment location. The Central government must play a supportive’ role, particularly in the following areas:
Ø Provision of infrastructure in expansion areas
Ø Fiscal incentives and financing for relocation
Ø Relocating its own units and agencies when necessary
Ø Helping cities formulate common policies
Ø Giving fiscal incentives to employers and others to provide legitimate housing
A policy concerning decay must have two aspects. One should be concerned with the decay that already exists. The other should be concerned with the problem of how to plan, design, build and legislate, so that in future decay will be less of a problem than it is now, and so that we not only control it, but even, perhaps, turn it to advantage.
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Participatory Planning in Plan Preparation: A Case of Delhi
Declare the area as a special area of heritage importance and formulate comprehensive conservation policy to include the following:
Ø TDR as a financial incentive to the owners of heritage buildings.
Ø Public awareness and marketing with support from NGOs and CBOs.
Ø Encourage tourism through — hotels, restaurants, shops, art galleries, crafts museums, theaters, and local festivals to reintegrate the historic centers into mainstream city activities.
Ø Redevelopment of the riverfront with focus on socio-cultural, religious and recreational activities.
For this it is pertinent to create partnerships and commitments among stakeholders and actors who have an interest in the conservation areas. Private investment can be attracted through tax incentives, & financial and economic viability can be ensured by taking up bankable projects via financial institutions. Technical assistance to heritage conservation projects can be provided by local bodies/NGOs. Procedures and mechanism will have to be evolved to ultimately move from demonstration to replicable projects.
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About Editor SNSharma

Author, Planning and Publishing Consultant
http://www.pen2print.org/

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