Architecture and Society | City as a Cultural Enterprise

In the nation’s urban development the capital city has played a pivotal role.

In the last panel, the discussion focused on the declining state of public spaces in the national capital, and what this foretells for the notion of urbanity. The phenomenon of Delhi’s rapidly shrinking public spaces raised the issue of the intrinsic ‘publicness’ of these spaces and the need for a fresh understanding of their character and potential.

For over a hundred years the city has been imagined as a physical fabric to be configured by engineers and town planners. In this period, our cities have become less convivial and humane, consigning the majority of citizens to sub-optimal living conditions in terms of the air we breathe, the water we drink,the food we eat, and the way we communicate. 

This panel will brainstorm the possibilities of reimagining urban planning and development as being led by the humanities and the arts rather than by technocrats. We can debate the potential of Delhi’s revival by its citizens, including the most vulnerable, whose well-being may hold the key for a more civilised future for all of us.


  • Ratish Nanda | Architect and Conservation Expert
  • Swati Janu | Architect and Community Artist
  • Shonaleeka Kaul | Professor of Ancient History, JNU
  • Virkein Dhar | Architect and Performance Artist

Chari: MN Ashish Ganju
Collab: GREHA

About 100 Years of Re-Imagining Delhi: Over millennia in the making, the urban spatiality of Delhi was last addressed just over a century ago, a colonial divisive Hausmannization of the landscape. As it continues to attract people in one of the largest sustained urban migrations in recent times, Delhi ’s urban environment needs urgent revaluation and action to remain both habitable and equitable.  This series of panel discussions will address immediate citizen concerns of their inherited city, by engaging with those building for the next hundred years.