Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Wrong turn at the Barapullah Nallah elevated corridor

Covering a nallah is not bad in itself, but we could have done so much better than this...

I was shooting by Nehru Stadium early one morning in March and was surprised to see a crowd gathered by the side of the road. I asked the auto driver to stop and was told that Agent Vinod was being shot just below. While I didn't get to meet Saif Ali Khan--didn't even get a photo of him--I did get a photo of the Barapullah Nallah corridor and the film set. 

I realized that I used a shot from the same place for my photo essay on Delhi's Nallahs. A lot has changed in the year and a half since the first photo was taken.

I guess you could say it looks nicer--it certainly smells nicer. But a lot of people lost their homes because of this project. What if, instead of a road and a massive parking lot, we'd built a park instead, with a dedicated path for cyclists and pedestrians. There would still be room for some low cost housing to replace what was taken earlier.

Here's the view from the other side of the road. My son saw it one day and asked if it was an airport--so much empty space, it seemed like a runway.

Ripping out a road, or covering a nallah in order to make a public space is not unheard of. I was just down at Dilli Haat the other day and was reminded that it was built on top of a covered nallah. And when I did a web search, I found pictures of one highway in the US that was converted to a park 40 years ago. It happens, though not very often.

A little imagination goes a long way. Besides, if we continue to let cars dictate our urban planning, we will be left with little but tarmac below and hot sun above.


  1. Another example of imaginative reclaiming: the High Line in New York, which is a public park built along an elevated railroad. http://www.thehighline.org/about/high-line-history

  2. Highway reconstructed into a park? Even at http://www.togetheragainbook.com/ I never read such mad projects. Totally blew mind.


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