Planning for a New Delhi

More than simply architectural, the plan is to transform vast slums into vertical apartment complexes. The difficulties India will face here are key to understanding why the PRC strictly controlled urbanization until recently.

A Plan to Tame the Architectural Chaos of India’s Capital

By 2021 the city’s population is expected to rise to 23 million from 15 million today….

[H]ow do you transform a chaotic, traffic-choked, churning city into a “global metropolis” worthy of representing India’s ambitions to become the next Asian superpower? The answer boils down to three guiding principles: obliterating the slums, taming the traffic and importing a Manhattan-like skyline….

The government estimates that 60 percent of the city’s inhabitants live in homes that are illegal — in slums, in unauthorized developments or in unplanned and unsafe buildings.

Because these areas do not officially exist, they have no safe water supply, no legal electricity system and no proper sewers. Resourceful residents have made do: artfully siphoning water from the mains, risking their lives to sling wires onto electricity pylons to steal power….

Unsurprisingly, the plan is highly controversial….

Besides, he said, Delhi has no alternative. “There’s no way that we can remove these millions of people, living in illegal constructions, from Delhi,” he said. “And we shouldn’t do it. They are the people who are working as maids, building the metros, driving the rickshaws. They are essential service providers for the community.”

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