13 October 2007 / 21 Mizan 1386
As with photos in Europe in July, this page is for urban planning students, showing some features of two neighborhoods in New Delhi.
This is the edge of the Nizamuddin disrict, which is actually several neighborhoods. Here the houses back up against the Delhi Drain. I thought that was an odd name for a creek until I came to this area; and it is really a massive, open-air storm drain. So the ensemble of houses here looks great, but until New Delhi does comprehensive sewage treatment, the odor here will keep the land values low.
Still, as a built ensemble, I like the look. Tom Devine asked: What are those beehive-shaped things? They are sewage settling tanks. They seem to do a partial filtration of the sewage which then flows into the drain. But this is definitely the backside of these houses!
Here I am looking back towards the major road (on the left) before entering the neighborhood on the right.
As soon as you enter the neighborhood the character changes totally. The continuous wall of houses shown above provide an effective barrier against the smell of the Drain. Within 50 meters, you are in a sheltered, dense neighborhood. Here, most of the residents are Muslim, so they were in a festive mood, looking forward to Eid and the end of Ramadan..
Here, an informal builder gets a little creative with preexisting infrastructure. I guess they hope the lines will be relocated underground soon.
Within this neighborhood is a lovely pocket park. As with the parks that Alan Jacobs advocated in San Francisco, it is quite small, and tucked in to the surrouding urban fabric. But it works well, and I think the surrounding residents feel ownership of the space.
On the far side of the park the character of the neighborhood changes again. Here the streets are wider and luxuriously planted, and the houses are larger and much more elaborate.
In general the house designs are not very distinctive, but the street-space is well-defined and lovely.
Here I left the Nizamuddin neighborhood by crossing a bridge over the Delhi Drain, a little further downstream. Despite the odor, I suspect that this Drain is actually much improved, as is the environment of New Delhi as a whole. The birds you see in such abundance here are black eagles.
The next neighborhood I entered was Pant Nagar. Here you can see the ubiquitous domestic water tanks. Apparently every city in India (with the exception of Trivandrum in Kerala) has a serious water-supply problem.
Here the houses face onto small service streets around a neighborhood park. The area seems to really work well.
The view of the same hosues from across the park.
Short service alley; not even 3 meters wide.
4.5-meter service alley. A recent trend in Indian cars is to make them narrower, to fit in the streets and traffic.
Another alley, differently used.
The neighborhood street, in contrast, is about 10 meters wide.