Chandni Chowk Greenway, Delhi, India
Architron Group

Chandni Chowk Greenway (CCG) reimagines the central spine of the historic inner city area of Delhi. Chandni Chowk or the ‘moonlit square’ is one of the oldest and busiest market districts in India, built by the Mughal Emperor Shahjahan in the 17th century. CCG is based on a future of traffic-less streets as a result of the long-term impact of autonomous cars and shared on-demand mobility. The proposal leverages this disruptive opportunity to give the street back to the inhabitants of the city. In the process, CCG incorporates design strategies to positively address a number of urban issues. The greenway transforms from a circulation path to a national landmark becoming an active urban precinct that empowers the local community and reestablishes urban ecological systems.
Context and issues 
After the glorious period of lasting till the mid 19th century, the urban precinct of Chandni Chowk rapidly declined during the colonial period. Post-independence, the area witnessed one of the largest migrations in contemporary history as a result of the Partition of British India. Ever since, it has been one of the most densely crowded zones with extreme traffic issues and socio-cultural tensions. The area has completely lost its character becoming a part of the generic and illegible urban sprawl that is seen in developing countries across the globe. Yet the precinct has an extremely rich historic layer and is a hub of formal and informal commercial activity. CCG acts as the core spine of the area connecting the renowned Red fort with Fatehpuri Chowk. The proposal is developed as a response to the documentation of the existing condition and extensive design research around modular urban strategies suited for emerging economies. 
Replicable prototypical strategies are developed for the CCG that are based on the premise of vehicle-free streets. Key approaches to placemaking, ecology, technology and sustainable public infrastructures are used as design opportunities to develop the prototypes. The proposal is based on three core concepts:
  1. Multiply ground plane and create direct access to the upper level of the buildings along the street. In the process create multi-use areas at the street level and maximize their placemaking potentia
  2. Re-establish the urban ecological system as a living infrastructure consisting of stormwater based bioretention & bioremediation gardens (for air & water pollution)
  3. Introduction of green infrastructure that combines solar energy production with transport technology to create comfortable street level plazas
The urban toolkit created as a result of the design research is applicable across similar contexts in emerging economies across the globe. The prototypes are flexible and can negotiate a variety of contexts, functions, performative criteria and urban frameworks. CCG demonstrates the long term potential of this approach and opens up new ways to reimagine our collective urban futures. 
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