The first phase of the project has generated a working methodology, a schematic design of a sewerage and drainage system for the neighbourhood adjoining the Johar, and a scheme for appropriate utilization of public land around the Johar. It has also been instrumental in initiating a programme for greening of the Ridge land adjoining Aya Nagar, and coordinating efforts at increasing community awareness for environmental improvement. Taking note of the special problems of development work in areas which are not ‘authorized’ by the existing planning framework, GREHA has prepared a policy paper which outlines the institutional modifications required to create a sustainable urban development system within the State government hierarchy.

Site Plan - Aya Nagar Development Scheme
Site Plan - Aya Nagar Development Scheme

The Action

Subsequent to receiving the grant from the Delhi Kalyan Samiti, the programme being worked upon by Greha since 1999 was organized as a time- bound research project. It was clear that some innovative thinking was required to get beyond the many hurdles which were preventing the planned development of Aya Nagar, inspite of the efforts made since 1999.

To start with, improvement could be effected by raising awareness and responsibility in the local community, and for that purpose the Aya Nagar Vikas Samiti was re-activated. The Samiti had been formed and registered in the year 2001, was active for a couple of years, but became moribund due to lack of success in effecting real change on the ground. It was decided to focus efforts for improvement of physical infrastructure in one neighbourhood, so that tangible results obtained here become a model for other parts of the settlement.

Simultaneously the task of recording the process of work was initiated. A detailed physical survey of the choosen neighbourhood (Ghoda Mohalla) was undertaken. Discussions within the community had clearly established a consensus on the urgent requirement of a solution for the problem of drainage. The existing condition was mapped and expertise focused on devising a scheme appropriate to the context. It was evident that the public spaces (mostly the roads and paths) could not be kept clean as long as open channels were made for drainage. These inevitably served as refuse bins and carriers of sullage, thus becoming unsanitary and a health hazard.

The scheme therefore proposed a system of biologically charged digesters, prefabricated and inserted below ground in the roads/paths, to treat the sullage and waste flowing from the houses at the nearest point of contact. The treated grey water flowing out of the digesters can be piped (sub-surface) to a nearby water harvesting structure. Before entering the storage reservoir the grey water receives secondary treatment by passing through a reed bed to ensure reasonable quality of water for re-use, thus ensuring a closed water cycle to conserve this valuable resource.

The proposal was presented to the local authorities, and at the request of the Deputy Commissioner (South) was formulated as an ‘Action Programme’ [attachment 3] and submitted for implementation. Part of this programme was the rationalization of vehicular traffic and appropriate landscape treatment of the public space adjoining the neighbourhood and the ‘johar’. Public awareness regarding environmental improvement was spread within the community by meetings of the Aya Nagar Vikas Samiti, by holding public workshops, by distributing a specially designed information leaflet [attachment 6] to all households, and by launching a dedicated webpage on the development programme as part of the website [attachment 7]. At the same time a video record [attachment 8] was also made of activities and context of the community action. The video documentation now awaits editing and production as a short film.

As the research efforts brought clarity to the methodology, it became evident that implementation of the development programme (second phase of the project) was beset

with procedural and administrative complexities. The nature of development activity in spontaneous and unauthorized sections of the urban habitat was not well understood. The integration of such areas with the mainstream of urban development requires a closer scrutiny of the policy framework. The second phase of the project needed to be formulated in the light of the above realities, and towards this end a dialogue was initiated with agencies which could contribute fresh understanding of development issues. The background for policy formulation is outlined in a paper [attachment 2] which uses the field experience of the first phase to project a framework for planned development in the next phase.

The Document

The several reports, papers, presentations, and technical submissions made to constitute the first phase of the Aya Nagar Development Project are attached. The index of the documents is given below:


Aya Nagar Development Project – Presentation made for the 1st Habitat Summit, held in New Delhi from 24-26 September 2009

September ‘09


Urban Renewal by Citizens-Towards a Framework for the Planned Development of Unauthorized Colonies

October ‘09


Aya Nagar Development Project - Action Programme

Drawing 1:Master Plan
Drawing 2:Settlement Drainage Plan
Drawing 3:Neighbourhood Drainage
Drawing 4:Proposed System for One Street
Drawing 5:Engineering Concept
Drawing 6:Johar Scheme - Existing Road Network
Drawing 7:Johar Scheme - Road Widening Scheme
Drawing 8:Johar Scheme - Area Chart

Attachment:Distress Map and Photographic Documentation

March ‘09


Road Widening and Neighbourhood Drainage Schemes – Submitted to Project Director, Rural Development, Government of NCT of Delhi

Scheme 1:Road Widening and Johar Redevelopment Scheme

Scheme 2:Public Health - Drainage Scheme

August ‘09


Awareness Leaflet Published and Distributed in Aya Nagar, by Aya Nagar Vikas Samiti and Greha

May ‘09


A dedicated section on the Aya Nagar Development Project, launched on the Greha Website,

August ‘09


Video Documentation: Log of Footage shot for the Aya Nagar Development Project

November ’08-April ‘09


Exhibition Panels prepared for the Aedes Symposium on 'What Makes India Urban?' held in Berlin, Germany, from 10th October 2009

August ‘09


Urban Renewal by Citizens - A framework for sustainable urban development-Patrick Geddes Note

March ‘09


Aya Nagar Development Project - Presentation made for DFID (Department For International Development), Government of UK

June ‘09


Aya Nagar Development Project – A Paper written for the 1st Habitat Summit, held in New Delhi from 24-26 September 2009 > A proposal for Comprehensive Re-development of Aya Nagar and its Proto-Urban extension in New Delhi.

September ‘09