(GIST OF YOJANA) Development of Historic City Centres

(GIST OF YOJANA) Development of Historic City Centres


Development of Historic City Centres


  • India’s monuments are irreplaceable and significant assets for the nation and its people with associated emotional, religious, economic, historic, architectural, and archaeological values amongst others. 
  • Their conservation efforts require craftsmen to use traditional materials, tools, and building techniques and can also become significant employers. 
  • India’s craft traditions have survived to the present times, and it is recommended to give an emphasis on a craft-based approach to conservation as well as modern public buildings. 

Conservation Approach:

  • The Indian approach to conservation allows leveraging our historical assets to improve the socio-economic conditions of residents of our historic cities. 
  • The residents of our numerous historic city centres can benefit from greater integration of preservation and conservation efforts with public policies and schemes for development measures. 
  • For instance, the Aga Khan Trust for Culture in partnership, with the Archaeological Survey of India, the Central Public Works Department and the Municipal Corporation of Delhi has undertaken a 15-year urban renewal project at the Humayun’s Tomb—Nizamuddin area in Delhi. 
  • Here, conservation efforts have incorporated local area development through employment generation, boosting local crafts and arts, the building of infrastructure, environmental conservation, and landscaping. 
  • The Archaeological Survey of India is taking several steps to ensure long-term, sustainable preservation of our nation’s heritage in a manner that is based on increased awareness amongst the public of the significance of our heritage and increased involvement of civil society in the preservation effort. 
  • Conservation efforts have incorporated local area development through employment generation, boosting local crafts and arts, the building of infrastructure, environmental conservation, and landscaping. 

Community-Based Conservation:

  • India’s monuments are under threat from the pressures of urbanisation. 
  • To achieve conservation and development objectives, different agencies of the government need to partner with academic institutes/civil society and local communities. 
  • It has already been demonstrated that any resources invested in such an endeavour lead to multiple returns as well as fulfilling multiple government objectives.
  • Several of our monuments stand amidst dense urban inhabitation in our many historic cities. Also, often the communities residing around monuments in these dense urban centres are poor and often deprived of even the most basic urban infrastructure.
  • The success of the Nizamuddin Urban Renewal project has demonstrated a model approach for community-based conservation. 
  • Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti underwent conservation and this conservation effort has been coupled with providing education, health services, and vocational training to create economic opportunities for local youth and women, sanitation, urban improvements including landscaping neighbourhood parks and street improvements, the revival of a 700-year living culture centred around Sufism and Qawwali amongst other aspects. 


  • It is hoped that the community of Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti will now play a pivotal role in the preservation of the built heritage that stands amidst their neighbourhood and that conservation/culture can be used as a tool for development in several other similar historic urban areas of India.
  • Conservation and development should go hand-in-hand, but conservation interest must remain paramount if any such development is to be sustainable in perpetuity.



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Courtesy: Yojana