3×3 partnered with Greha and INTACH to initiate conservation of an ancient settlement in the urban village of Mehrauli, Delhi, utilizing built and unbuilt cultural heritage to connect with the surrounding community and spur joint ownership over urban redevelopment and conservation of local assets.
Mehrauli is an ancient settlement which came into prominence in late 12th century AD when the Qutab Minar was built by Qutub-ud-din Aibak, founder of the slave dynasty which conquered and ruled over parts of Northern India. Today Mehrauli is a bustling urban village of South Delhi and it is spread over an area of about 400 hectares, which includes an Archeological Park of nearly 100 hectares. Mehrauli settlement as well as the surrounding area is rich in historic monuments and archeological remains. The Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) has proposed to initiate a heritage conservation project in Mehrauli with the focus on community involvement such that the heritage assets become the joint responsibility of the local community and the State.
The urban heritage of Mehrauli is perhaps best expressed in the annual community celebration called the Phool Walon Ki Sair. It is remarkable that this festival is still celebrated every year in Mehrauli, even though its importance in community life has diminished in recent years. Having identified the festival as an anchor of community expression and a representation of the settlement’s mythology; we based our intervention idea on the route of the festival procession.
3×3 Conducted qualitative assessment to determine issues faced by residents and business associations and identify opportunity areas for community-based revitalization and cultural programming. From insights, the project team developed a Heritage Action Plan for architectural conservation and urban environmental upgrading in collaboration with the local community and state agencies. The project team created a 5 year execution plan for community mobilization with monitoring and evaluation frameworks for assessment of project impact, implementation and management. In addition, the team proposed a framework to reimagine Phool Walon Ki Sair festival as a tool for community participation.