Thesis Defence: Shreya Garg

Wednesday, September 12, 2018 10:00 am - 10:00 am EDT (GMT -04:00)

Gadodia Spice Market in Khari Baoli

Of the thesis entitled: Revitalization of the Walled City of Delhi, Shahjahanabad: Incremental Urban Development Mediated through an Urban Design Framework


Shahjahanabad, the historic center of Delhi, built in 1638, offers an old-world charm that fosters a culturally rich community. Also known as Old Delhi, the hustling streets, the vibrancy of the old city life and the people who live like a close-knit family, are the heart of the city.

This thesis explores the crisis of resilience of the historic city center in adapting to the rural-urban migration that has been occurring as a consequence of a transition from being developing nations to rapidly modernized ones. Shahjahanabad, being the historic center, has been at the receiving end of this explosion in population growth. Migration of thousands of people from rural as well as urban agglomerations has impacted the civic infrastructure and constantly challenges the resilience of the city.

Over the course of hundreds of years, various old mansions in Shahjahanabad have been converted to markets, workshops or sites for manufacturing industries. The change in the functional typology of the mansions is visible in the now built-up courtyards. The charm and grandeur of the architecture peculiar to its historical past is now concealed within extensive development of single family dwellings over those structures and the majority of the buildings are in a state of disrepair. They are especially prone to being collapsed during rainy seasons.

This thesis engages the practice of architecture by gaining insights through an analysis of the existing housing typology, the activities of the people, and how the historical built fabric accommodates and responds to the continuous out-migration and in-migration of residents. Through concept case studies, this thesis develops different models for housing that operate within the typological guidelines appropriate to the existing historical built fabric of Old Delhi and addresses the specific site conditions. The implementation of these models as catalysts in mediating the housing crisis also intends to recapture the lost “genius locus” of the city, which is found in the essence of the environment, the streets, the courtyards and everyday interactions. The architectural typologies engage the practice of dwelling as a means of generating an overall improvement and re-structuring of the physical environment of Old Delhi while maintaining its sense of place which makes it a UNESCO treasure.

The examining committee is as follows:


Val Rynnimeri, University of Waterloo

Committee Members:

Terri Boake, University of Waterloo

Marie-Paule Macdonald, University of Waterloo

External Reader:

Michael Hannay, The MBTW Group

The committee has been approved as authorized by the Graduate Studies Committee.

The Defence Examination will take place:  

Wednesday, September 12, 2018                
10:00 AM               

ARC 2003 

A copy of the thesis is available for perusal in ARC 2106A.