Delhi Master Plan for heritage sector addresses safety and lack of infrastructure, in bid to foster vibrant public realm in capital

According to the plan, location of all heritage assets that are maintained by respective agencies, shall be integrated with the GIS-based Delhi Spatial Information System.

Press Trust of India June 10, 2021 11:00:49 IST
Delhi Master Plan for heritage sector addresses safety and lack of infrastructure, in bid to foster vibrant public realm in capital

Image via Wikimedia Commons/by A Savin

New Delhi: Integrating locations of all heritage assets with GIS based information system, extended timings for hotels and restaurants, preparing a comprehensive cultural resource management plan and setting up of heritage cells are among the proposals outlined in the draft Master Plan of Delhi 2041.

According to the plan, location of all heritage assets that are maintained by respective agencies, shall be integrated with the GIS-based Delhi Spatial Information System.

The list of the heritage assets shall be updated every five years in order to assess their condition and take the necessary steps towards conservation. The draft MPD 2041 has been made available on the website of the Delhi Development Authority and public suggestions and objections have been invited. The plan for the heritage sector aims to significantly address issues of safety, encroachment and lack of infrastructure associated with public spaces to foster a vibrant public realm in the city.

"This will provide numerous benefits across all three goals of the Plan with better walkability, public life, social cohesion, health, creativity and boost local businesses, retail, cultural economies," the draft said. The plan gives provisions for undertaking eco- sensitive rejuvenation of the Yamuna floodplains and strategies for creating greenways along buffers of drains. "This will encourage sensitively designed new public spaces alongside water bodies in areas that were previously neglected," it said.

"Cultural hotspots such as Shahjahanabad, the Central Vista and India Gate lawns, Connaught Place, Hauz Khas, Mehrauli, etc. are places of intense public activity, attracting locals as well as tourists. Other specific hubs with a concentration of socio-cultural activities shall be identified (like Mandi House, Lodhi Institutional Area and Art precinct, Dilli Haat, Dastakaar Haats," the draft added.

Efforts shall be made to improve the public realm in and around such sites.

The plan promotes development of privately owned public spaces that shall remain private property and be maintained by the owner or developer, but provide open public access during regulated hours at ground or elevated levels within buildings.

The plan has identified numerous opportunities in Delhi for creating green corridors, heritage and cultural circuits or even temporary festival circuits.

Noting that night time economies and an active night life are important for improving safety, reducing congestion by staggering activities, utilising spaces for different activities optimally, and improving productivity for formal as well as informal economic activities, the draft plan has proposed streets or areas such as cultural precincts, areas with concentration of heritage assets, areas in the central business district, etc. that have a vibrant nightlife presently shall be priority nodes.

"Local bodies, Tourism Department and other concerned agencies shall identify NCs and permit extended timing for hotels, restaurants, socio-cultural activities, entertainment, sports facilities, retail stores etc, to function in the night as per stipulations," it said.

The plan has proposed encouragement of three kind of public plazas--standalone plazas, corner plazas along streets and midstreet plazas.

A comprehensive Cultural Resource Management Plan of each area such as protected buildings and monuments and site including infrastructure upgrade, visitor amenities shall be prepared and implemented in consultation with the local community.

"The authority may identify any other buildings and clusters of heritage and cultural value including old markets, pre-1962 structures, isolated premises such as school adjoining Jama Masjid, Presentation Convent School, church at Kashmere Gate, municipal offices at old Hindu College complex etc, where additions and alterations shall be within the overall frame of conservation on a case to case basis.

"Owners of heritage buildings notified by local bodies shall be compensated for loss of development rights. Heritage buildings identified by the local bodies are mostly privately-owned and in active use by the occupants. In such buildings, the constituent owners shall be encouraged to conserve such buildings and make adaptive use or reuse of such assets in conformity with the historic context.

"Local bodies may set up heritage cells that will manage heritage assets,
monitor status of their upkeep, delineate cultural precincts, promote complementary economic and cultural activities, conduct festivals, walks etc, facilitate adaptive reuse projects and set up a Heritage Fund to support these initiatives. Such a heritage cell may identify other landmark modern and industrial heritage buildings, part buildings and sites," it said.

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