a Symposium on the Shaping of Gurgaon
Gurgaon, a ‘city’ in the state of Haryana in India, is situated to the south of the metropolis of Delhi. Mythologically, this place had a reference in the Hindu epic, Mahabharata, as Gurugram – the birthplace of Guru Dronacharya. Historically, Gurgaon was a stop-over for the Muslim pilgrimage between Delhi and Ajmer, which is how a small, local market started developing in the older part of today’s city.
An important phase of urban growth was later initiated with the coming of the Railway, at which point, the settlement grew towards the railway station. With the setting up of the Maruti vehicle manufacturing plant in the 1980’s, Gurgaon which had been an agriculture-based small town in North India, emerged onto the industrial map of the nationwide economy. A stronger network with the larger city of Delhi was established and the process of urbanisation started being observed on the new Delhi-Jaipur highway that ran through the town. A different set of working people started coming into Gurgaon which led to the emergence of residential colonies supported by real estate initiatives by government as well as private agencies.
After the mid-90s, with the ‘opening up’ of the economy and subsequent ‘globalisation’ process, both economic and cultural, the town of Gurgaon witnessed a tremendous change in its urban and natural fabric. Inclusion into the Delhi-centric NCR (National Capital Region), well connected road networks with South and West Delhi, proximity to the airport and lower land prices as compared to Delhi– all acted as catalysts to this development.
On one hand, Gurgaon epitomizes the popular perception of ‘high-technology’ living, ‘modern’ development and ‘way of life’. But, on the other, development in Gurgaon has been characterized by unplanned and unchecked growth, insufficient infrastructure and mindless encroachment on natural resources with ceaseless losses in agricultural land. The shine and gloss of glass and steel, unique building forms and the ever-changing skyline makes Gurgaon an interesting agglomeration of architectural artefacts. However, the notion of urbanism here has been relegated to an ad-hoc arrangement of disjointed sets of enclaves – residential, commercial, industrial, retail, rural.
With administrative pressures on land-use and increased regulation in the property sector in Delhi (for eg. property ‘Sealing’ drives by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi), Gurgaon which was already a favoured destination for the corporate sector quickly became a desperate ‘last resort’ address for companies and the service industry.
It was in this context that the Sushant School of Art & Architecture, located in Gurgaon, held a symposium on the shaping of Gurgaon to bring together and provide an interface to exchange ideas among various interest groups and stake-holders in the city. The contents of this publication ‘dialogues’ were prepared from the various presentations and discussions that took place during the symposium.
Suptendu P. Biswas, Symposium Coordinator & Asst. Professor
To receive a copy of the publication, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or write to the Sushant School of Art & Architecture, Sector 55 Gurgaon, Haryana, Pin Code: 122003, India
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