Shahjahanabad, the ancient Delhi built in the 17th century by the Moghul em- peror Shah Jahan, offered the opportu- nity to explore a set of issues that are crucial for our times in a context stron- gly characterised by:
- the presence of positive and also negative features, elements of crisis and potential for change, co-existence and mix of cultures, social classes, traditional inhabitants and immigrants, a great variety of social and economic groups, different kinds of activities: residential, administrative, religious, commercial, traditional and industril
- an urban structure and building typologies that have undergone deep transformation; have been altered but can yet adapt to new uses and lifestyles
- the contradiction between a situation of dramatic congestion, inadequate infrastructure, lack of public spaces and at the same time an intense and vibrant life that cannot be wiped out by programs of re-qualification, urban re- organisation, social re-equilibrium.
- the complex relationship with the ex- pansion of New Delhi that is growing closer, occupying open spaces and abandoned areas, threatening the fra- gile fabric of the historic city.
The workshop explored methods and strategies for the upgrading of Shahjahanabad that would not disrupt its nature and social structure:
- interventions on the historic fabric
- methodological proposals for the re- qualifying of the system of public and private open spaces
- proposals for the peripheral areas where the old city walls used to be
- reorganisation of the commercial ac tivities along the main axes
- historical places for exchange – and consequent re-use of the internal areas for residential use
- re-interpretation of the public space for contemporary uses.
The Laboratory was organised in co-operation with: Delhi Development Authority, INTACH (Indian National Trust for Arts and Cultural Heritage), TVB School of Habitat Studies, New Delhi School of Planning and Architecture