Unauthorized Colonies: As ‘The Microsomes of Delhi’ through the dialectics of the citizen centric Urban Transformation taking the case of Khanpur

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Submission Summary
“Neither resembles like village nor a city”, “Orderly Chaos”, “Shanties behind the buildings” (Mukherjee 1988; Bhan 2013): these are some key dynamics, when anyone talks about the “Unauthorized Colonies of Delhi (UC)”. UCs, the ‘Microsomes of Delhi’, have always been the headline during different transcends since post-partition due to its ‘quasi-legal’ status, imposed by DDA. From 1962 to 2021, the envisioned ‘Master Plans of Delhi’ exempted them from various development norms as they were developed on the “illegally subdivided agricultural land”. As a result of this questionable ‘regularized or yet to be regularized status’, the residents of a total number of 1797 UCs have always faced a contemplation around providing the basic infrastructure and services, socio-spatial amenities and bye-laws, irrespective of their heterogeneous economic identity. But within these ‘contested terrains, the epitome of ‘Right to the City’ has been embedded within the contiguous stories of adaptation, years of multiple contestations and attachment to the multidimensional historical values. Originated with rural identity, the prologue of livelihood here has been measured by neighborhood level community bonding reflected through the shared resources of several chowks, gram sabha land, and informal pockets within the maze of residential clusters of several inherited socio- ethnic groups of Jaat and Gujjars. These areas have undergone a paradigm shift while DDA has swallowed the villages to accommodate the huge migrant influx. Due to complexity of the imposed norms the whole urbanscape has been transformed into multiple division of plots and haphazard illegal horizontal and vertical increment, flourishing with Real-Estate business. In the present scenario, 100% built cover with incremental stacking has left narrow ‘galis’ with abrupt dead ends and connected terraces as the only public spaces providing social-cultural cohesion. These colonies are gradually becoming the magnet of providing cheap rental accommodation with a thriving local economy and employment opportunities within the SME sectors for one-third of the cities total population. Overall, a complex heterogeneous self-sustaining system, running on each micro patch, forms the ‘Macrosome of Delhi’. While the city authority has seen the UCs as ‘Chaos’, people of these areas are least bothered of having any alterations as they have adopted their ‘way of life within the blur of the formal and informal’. So, this paper by design attempts is trying to look upon the complex micro system between the UCs and the city considering the aspirations of its residents as mainstream approach. It also advocates interdependencies between UCs undertaking livelihood enhancement within local resources and capitals. The study area Khanpur ward, one of the important unauthorized colony of SDMC, having a stark contrast in laying out fabric can easily draw the attention while looking at the map: UC Khanpur, with densely packed fabric at one side and an ‘affluent UC’ Sainik Farm having sparing farm houses with luster of introverted private greens on the other. The survival of these two extreme heterogeneous economic groups within the same legal boundary contrasting each other in terms of need, aspiration and association with the city. So, this paper covers a detailed urban design study, to re-imagine these UCs as ‘self-sustainable powerhouse’ for providing ‘Live-work-play’, using the upcoming opportunities of the proposed metro rail corridor, through ‘Local Area Planning’. This also focuses on socio-spatial augmentation to reinforce the interdependencies within the people through community level urban insertion. The idea is to strategies the morphological transformation with the living system beyond the top-down approaches of regularizations, formed by the people of the city, manifesting themselves as a citizen using their tools of urban transformation.
Submission ID :
ISO343
Submission Type
Submission Track
1: Inclusiveness and empowerment. Al-Majlis: planning with and for communities
Urban Designer
,
School of Planning and Architecture
Urban Designer
,
School of Planning and Architecture , New Delhi

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