De-Coding Urbanity : Learning from and for Old Delhi || Preserving Cultural Urban Codes
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The Walled City Of Old Delhi serves as the heart of metropolitan Delhi. The city is a complex amalgamation of Mughal, Colonial and post Colonial architecture. This overlap has resulted in a rich urban fabric and networked cultural urbanism. This provides the city it’s personality traits, which can be defined as it’s urbanity. The thesis aims to decode the microcosm of this urbanity, which can be understood as the result of a morphogenesis that is generated by boundary conditions, a densely packed fabric and urban attractors and connectors. This investigation attempts to extract the spatial and cultural codes of Old Delhi using parametric tools to analyze the changing sets of relationships that govern its architectural growth and development. These codes serve as parameters that define the shape of the city’s fabric. The first act in this process is the Database Step-this critical part is simply the recording and translation of the informal types of settlements— into architectural and urban maps and drawings so that they can be analyzed. The recording of acts, processes and their resultant architectures and the urban fabric that they constitute are considered to be invisible as they are not ‘legitimated’ by formal civic processes but rather are embodied in the lives, activities and culture of a community and embodied in the urban fabric that surrounds them. This narrative description is then supported by the extraction and development of parametric urban codes through Grasshopper scripts and manual design iterations representing a series of algorithmic morphological conditions. These codes can generate typologies and exhibit the relationship between the communal and larger infrastructure to give the user a material sense of the cultural world. The preservation of historic centers and its embedded urbanism is an important question of urban design. The planning department and organizations pay primary attention to the heritage sites instead of understanding and preserving its embedded spatial codes. Hence, the goal of this thesis is to address the need for a planning model that illustrates the framework of the residential settlements of historic cities that are undergoing rapid transformation or are under process for redevelopment to architects, planners and organizations involved in urban development. This model provides sets of rules and values that anticipate design solutions that can act as a paradigmatic model for Old Delhi and other historic cities thereby facilitating the preservation of its cultural and architectural urbanity.