Development of public plazas, arcades among proposals in Delhi’s Draft Master Plan 2041

New Delhi: Development of ungated public plazas, arcades, colonnades, pause spaces around movement corridors are some of the proposals laid down in the Draft Master Plan (DMP) for Delhi – 2041.

The draft of Master Plan Delhi-2041, which was put in the public domain on Wednesday for suggestions and objections, largely covers policies of environment, economy, mobility, heritage, culture and public spaces among others and has been developed by the Delhi Development Authority (DDA).

The document says that streets occupy approximately 20 per cent of the total land in Delhi and are the most ubiquitous form of public space in the city. The plan focuses on leveraging this potential and reclaiming streets as places for people.

It also talks about how citizens and other stakeholders can play a major role in public space management through initiatives such as conducting regular audits of public areas in terms of accessibility, safety and illumination, needs of specific user groups, etc, and sharing these with concerned agencies.

“Concerned agencies may also gather public opinions by integrating public space user surveys as part of the active travel and other smart applications,” the document said.

The document says temporary art installations and street performances shall be encouraged in public spaces.

“Residual spaces such as subway crossings and space under flyovers may be activated through such interventions, ensuring that users are not inconvenienced. The guidelines on Public Art Policy as prepared by Delhi Urban Art Commission to be followed,” it said.

The plan also says walkability shall be facilitated across the city providing barrier-free environment with adequate street infrastructure, shading, and public conveniences as per the Street Design Regulations.

“Public life on streets shall be further improved by creating opportunities like street vending zones, accessibility to all types of users, pedestrian crossings and public plazas,” it says.

Elaborating on public plazas, it says that they range from neighbourhood chowks and nukkads to institutional forecourts, city squares and piazzas, and form important pause points along movement networks.

Three types of plazas shall be encouraged in the city — standalone plazas, corner plazas along streets and mid-street plazas.

Standalone plazas can be in the form of forecourts of buildings, and may be on-ground as well as elevated levels. Corner plazas along streets may be developed at the intersection of streets while mid-street plazas may be created by recessing plot lines or building edges along a street, particularly in front of public buildings.

“Plazas shall be planned as part of layout plans in all greenfield and brownfield layouts/schemes as per prescribed norms for different types of development,” it says.

Plazas shall be provided as part of all transit station projects at ground, concourse or other elevated levels to facilitate public movement and act as spill over areas. “Public plazas shall remain ungated and open to general public at all times,” it says.

The plan also proposes to ensure vibrant and safe public areas by promoting stronger relationships between public areas and surrounding buildings.

It proposes a mix of activities within plots and buildings “resulting in areas remaining active for longer periods during the day”.

“Public uses such as libraries, book stores, retail, post offices, etc., to be mandatorily placed on lower floors with easy access from the street. A certain percentage of active frontages in the form of arcades, colonnades, shop fronts, pedestrian entries/ exits, plazas, access points, transparent shop windows etc., shall be maintained along roads… as part of regeneration projects,” it says.

In places where boundary walls are permitted, care should be taken to maintain visual connectivity with the street, it says.

The plan proposes to programmes subways and public/private plazas with kiosks, informal vending, public art, performance etc.

“Attractive play elements, water features, street furniture, charging points, reading corners, etc. can greatly enhance the quality of public spaces by providing pause spaces along movement corridors,” it adds.

The plan promotes development of privately-owned public spaces that shall remain private property and be maintained by the owner/developer, but provide open public access during regulated hours at ground or elevated levels within buildings.

“Developers shall be permitted to locate activity generating uses around such areas but no kiosks or commercial use shall be permitted within the designated public area,” it says.

The plan also states that provisions of fire safety shall be ensured in all public spaces and evacuation areas shall be identified by concerned authority in proximity of all congregation spaces and public buildings to be used in the event of any disaster.

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