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Students propose design overhauls for Delhi centered on Yamuna


New Delhi, Nov 18 (PTI): The dismal condition of Yamuna, the river on whose banks Delhi has sprawled and straddled and which in the face of a flood threatens to affect at least one million people living on its plains, forms the basis of a new study.

Conducted by students and faculty at the University of Virginia School of Architecture, the study rings a warning bell for the dismal condition of the river, which researchers say lies disconnected and neglected by the city.

“If the Yamuna floods, the city’s infrastructure from power plants to cement factories, the train lines, the pedestrian crossings all will be totally submerged. It’s a major natural disaster waiting to happen,” says Pankaj Vir Gupta, Visiting Professor, University of Virginia School of Architecture.

Since last January, a group of students and faculty at the school have been working on a three-year academic project to come up with “urban design speculations that have potential for re-establishing vital connections between New Delhi and the Yamuna.”

Along with Gupta, the research and design initiative is led by Professor Inaki Alday Sanz of the same university, who has been credited with designing important public spaces in Barcelona, Ibiza and Zaragoza among other places.

The team is now displaying their research which draws on global perspectives formed by studying urban planning of other mega-cities like Zaragoza by the Ebro river in Spain, Shanghai at the heart of the Yangtze River and even the Sabarmati river in Ahmedabad.

The two-week long exhibition titled “Re-Centering Delhi”, which presents in the form of drawings and maps a series of design speculations that reimagines the relationship of Delhi with the Yamuna.

The display that began on November 14 at the Swiss Embassy takes into account ecological, social, political and infrastructural aspects of Delhi.

The capital city had experienced one of its worst flood in year 1978 when the Yamuna touched the 207-metre mark level, claiming 3,800 people according to the official death toll and leaving behind a trail of destruction.

According to research by the team led by Gupta and Sanz, there is one per cent probability that the river may touch the danger mark and cross the 208 metre mark forcing floods, an event that can take occur any year.


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