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Quo vadis, Delhi? Urban heritage and gender: towards a sustainable urban future
journal contributionposted on 2014-01-01, 00:00 authored by Yamini NarayananYamini Narayanan
Historic architectural heritage is important to sustainable urban planning policy, particularly in cities that have heritage sites and/or themselves have ancient archaeological value. Delhi is one of the oldest living cities in the world. However, the vision of its planning policy is limited to valuing heritage for itself and for its economic value instead of also exploring the ways in the city’s heritage might contribute to the social organisation and utilisation of the urban public space. Particularly, like most national policy documents on heritage, it ignores the heritage/gender nexus, which has implications for the identity and status of women in Delhi, community development and ecological preservation. But twenty women practioners and scholars of development in Delhi referred to heritage as a challenge as well as opportunity for gender and urban sustainability when asked for their perspectives on the most important sustainability issues in the city. I argue that Delhi’s urban planning strategies must acknowledge the gender/heritage nexus to enable holistic and gender-inclusive urban development for the present and future generations of its citizens, which is an important thrust of the sustainability agenda.