The Delhi Urban Art Commission was established by an Act of Parliament in 1973 to “advise the Government of India in the matter of preserving, developing and maintaining the aesthetic quality of urban and environmental design within Delhi and to give advice and guidance to any local body in respect of any project of building operations or engineering operations or any development proposal which affects or is like to affect the skyline or the aesthetic quality of the surroundings or any public amenity provided therein”
The area of urban Delhi has increased and it has become more densely built in the years since the DUAC was constituted. This gives even greater relevance to the injunctions in the original relevant. Ecology and heritage are more pressing topics now, the difficulties of seeing the city as a whole in a situation where there is much decision- making bodies are more evident than before, and there is urgent requirement to have a vision for the future of the city’s constituent elements.
If in the 1970s the predominant issue was about uncontrolled high-rise development, in the 1980s issues linked with Asian Games in the 1990s the constructing of Dwarka and the freezing of the New Delhi Bungalow area, this decade’s main concerns are about four issues – the threats to the remaining oases of open spaces, riverine and forest, the need to enhance the quality of life in historic precincts, the need to ensure that dilapidated areas are ‘redeveloped’ elegantly, and to find ways in which traffic networks can work efficiently but with a humane quality. The DUAC took the significant initiative to highlight city-level matters in an exhibition ‘Imagining Delhi’.
The nodal activities of the Commission ranged over many issues. The new Metro lines and the Commonwealth Games projects, and extensions to existing institutions were analyzed in the context of the underlying ecology and of historic neighborhoods. Agencies with overlapping jurisdiction were invited to discussions for norms about street furniture, and (with the cooperation of the NCT Government) to identify ways to ‘improve’ Shahjahanabad. Pilot projects initiated by DUAC, to assist as templates, including the proposals on Khirkee Village and on Sunheri Bagh, and the work on a Zonal Development Plan for the NDMC. Much time and thought have been given to the pressing matters of modifying and adding to transport-corridors. The Commission has been organizing workshops from time to time on important matters concerning the Capital City. To draw attention o fall concerned to hazards involved in the matters of additions to existing inhabited multistoried housing projects the Commission organized a workshop on March 09. With a view to encouraging work of Art as an integral part of public projects particularly at the Commonwealth Games Venues, the Commission organized another workshop on 11.4.09.
The Commission took the opportunity of the Commonwealth Games to showcase Delhi to the visitors to the City as well as its citizens by an exhibition called ‘Delhinama’. The biography of this fascinating city unfolded in over a year of intense research work by a group of scholars, professionals, and craftspeople. Layer by layer the team unearthed amazing continuities hidden in the folds of time, of this throbbing contemporary megapolis. In this effort, the Commission also got the active assistance of a number of national and international institutions as well as the support of the Government of India and the Government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi.
The Commission with the approval of the Government has taken up mandate City level projects indicated below
- Site Specific designs forwards
- Rehabilitation proposals for Unauthorized colony/slums
- One proposal in respect of vision for Delhi
- High Rise Development Proposals Along Metro Corridors
- Rejuvenation of Delhi’s Gardens
- Preparation of design and prototype for high-tech public toilets
- Unified Building bye-laws for Delhi
The Commission has completed twenty-one conceptual site-specific urban design studies in phase-1 and phase-2.
The other significant initiatives by the present commission covers
- Joint exercise with the DDA in formulating a simplified and comprehensive unified building bylaw for Delhi.
- Fabrication of prototypes for Hi-tech biodegradable public Toilets. The first prototype installed opposite “Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital” New Delhi proved to be very successful.