Authors: Rajat Verma, Komal Gahletia
DOI Link: 54300
Certificate: View Certificate
From ancient times, streets have been the designated urban spaces for people to celebrate different activities like festivals, political protests, selling- purchasing goods, etc. The streets are the public realm which should have people its first priority. The street design has shifted their centre from people and social spaces to vehicular congestion solutions. The augmentation of vehicular movements on streets have shattered the urban livable environment of a street and converted these public realm for a vehicular movement only. The research is around the commercial streets of Delhi. The Research will begin by understanding the unfavorable conditions for pedestrians on commercial streets and impact of pedestrianisation in improving such conditions. The motive is to hierarchically re-orient the street in order to create a sense of place that fosters social interaction. Various elements of a street including furniture, neighborhoods, etc will be studied and the influence of these elements on the overall urban life of a street to encourage livable walkable space for pedestrians will be drawn. Depending on case studies, surveys and observations, ways of making these streets interactive and livable for pedestrians will be studied. From aforementioned work, some modules and sections will be proposed on the basis of the context of Delhi. Ultimately, the paper will conclude the set of modules that encourages the pedestrian activities rather than vehicular movement.
A city is known by its streets. Streets are the public realm that have been used for multiple activities like carrying vehicles, city services, exchange of goods, etc. However, the streets are more than the transportation.
From ancient times, streets have been the place to perform many activities and allow people to interact with each other, which maintain the social livability of a city. There are various types of streets divided on the basis of its uses. The commercial streets are one of them which are better known for their crowded behaviour. These streets are a major part of a city which attracts a large amount of population and brings the social, communicable environment within a city. These commercial streets also provide employment to many ones, and contribute to a good amount in country’s economy. The Indian commercial streets are always known for their very different urban street life, the extraordinary combination of variety of shops, historic buildings, line of vendors, open markets, etc. In the past, these streets had a great pedestrian capacity and walking was the main transportation, where people found leisure by shopping, interacting with each other. The invasion of industrialization has changed the street urban life. The change in architecture and planning ideologies in modernism has brought many concepts like segregate houses, broadened streets, and more space for automobiles, houses on suburbs etc., which affects the city’s urban life badly. The influence of modernism on cities’ streets has brought the transition from social gathering of people to gathering space by cars; whispering sounds of people to irritated horns; different aromas of foods, flowers to toxic gases from vehicles. The streets that are better known for their livability are then dominated by automobiles. The book named “The Death and Life of Great American City” by Jane Jacobs has discussed the dullness of the streets due to urbanization and its impact on sociality, livability of the city.
The Indian commercial streets have extraordinary features that cater the city from many decades are being ruined. The deadliest combination of these historical streets and modernism has brought the pedestrians and cyclists in danger. The parked vehicles on sidewalks, the encroachment of shoppers on footpaths, and sometimes no or narrow footpaths drove the pedestrians forcefully walking on traffic roads which many times struck by a vehicle. The streets design practices are only working to overcome the traffic congestion and other functions which cater the people are overlooked. The increasing congestion of automobiles in Indian commercial cities has changed the urban life of the importance for people who travel afoot and ignoring behaviour of urban planners has turned the urban street space to deadliest space where there is no space left for pedestrian activities.
Many other side effects of urbanization like pollution, fossil fuel consumption, lack of parking spaces, etc. have retrieved us from the lifelessness of modernism to the sustainable livable environment. Nowadays, many streets and urban places are planned to encourage walkability and NMVs. The density of cars on roads have been decreasing in some places and better spaces are planned for annoying elements of the streets. The conversion of commercial streets to pedestrian only streets has resolved many pedestrian related issues.
The pedestrianisation of Mall Road, Shimla is an excellent example of the need for change. The excessive increase of retailer exchange and pedestrian activities has made the place a tourist hotspot. Today, progress is still unrecognized, the capital city of India is still suffering from this issue.
According to NCRB report, out of 1.8 crore population of Delhi almost half (48%) of them are pedestrians and cyclists. With the increase of road accidents6.55% per annum, Delhi became the highest accident rate in India and third-highest in the world. Having the largest road length in India shows that the demands to fill the spaces for cars has left the city almost zero space on streets for people. The historical, cultural recognition of Delhi streets are ruined by forcefully fitting of technology.
II. RESEARCH PROBLEM
In this paper we want to find the Impact of Pedestrianisation in establishing Social interactiveness on commercial streets of Delhi. The paper is discussing the problems of Delhi commercial streets and pedestrians.
Concept of Pedestrianisation and its conditions (arrangement of street elements) to make streets more socialize and livable will be presented.
III. LITERATURE REVIEW
From the past, pedestrian streets have been the symbol of joy and considered as the origin of prosperous cities. The beginning of pedestrianised streets were started from ancient cities of Mesopotamia, Egypt and Indus. The cities in these civilizations are well organized for pedestrian activities.
The reason for such streets pedestrianisation was to overcome hard metallic noise from carts, congestion, safety, make streets aesthetically appealing and peaceful urban spaces. Another reason is the collection of animal dung on roads due to which the entire population suffers from various diseases.
In the classical age, the Romans used the pedestrian zones to solve design problems throughout their empire (Rosen, 2006). They restricted the vehicular traffic from roads for certain times in a day and designed the streets like they all will meet at a large social and civic centre called Pompeii centre.
The places along the other pompeii areas have traffic calming solutions called Woonerf was applied. Street design became an integral feature of Roman cities, which had paved streets with elevated sidewalks. Concern for aesthetics of street design resurfaced during the Renaissance in fifteenth century Europe (Sen, 1999). During the middle ages, northern Italy was the main urbanized centre of Europe.
The polymath Leonardo Da Vinci has proposed the grade system that has segregated the pedestrian routes from vehicular routes. The invasion of the industrial revolution has exacerbated the problems of city street life before this era. Some municipal governments of America, UK, Germany, French have restricted the car and wagon movements in central areas during day hours. Around the second world war, the impact of pedestrian only streets was noticed when the pedestrianised downtown areas of the city have increased public activities more than areas which are not pedestrianised. The first modern pedestrianisation were completed at the same time in Germany and the United States, the pedestrianisation of Kettwiger Straße in Essen in 1959 and of Burdick Street in the small town of Kalamazoo, Michigan (Kalamazoo Mall, by Victor Gruen Associates) in 1959–1960 marking the actual invention of the pedestrianisation in Western cities.
As the paper is focusing more on social life and livable environment on streets. The people (pedestrians) should be the first concern because they are the only one who are facing the issues.
The survey will be conducted to know the opinion of people who walk and how they feel in such an environment and what changes they want to make. Due to the ongoing situation of Covid-19, the survey will be conducted through an online questionnaire and observation will be drawn according to the responses.
Indian Commercial streets are better known for their very different urban life. Indians have the nature of celebrating everything and from past decades, they have been using streets as a basic place for their activities. The encroachments of cars on roads somehow have prevented the people\'s freedom and make them more sophisticated to themselves. In the case of Delhi, the city\'s commercial streets have its historical and cultural values which are represented by activities on streets and its environment. But the deteriorated condition of these streets have destroyed that sense of cultural and social presence that attracted the people to visit again. Today, people just visit these streets to fulfill their needs and wanted to get out of this critical scenario as soon as possible. According to Jan Gehl, the spontaneous activities and the social activities are casual and uncertain. Urban space design has to give such places or circumstances for activities as much as possible. The squares in the nodes alternate in the pedestrian street link the close and open spaces with rhythm which become the active essential factor to bring dramatic public spaces. The pedestrian streets and squares’ combination makes the spatial structure harmonious and stable. Talking about the Stroget street, the arrangement of each element is designed for all types of pedestrians. Special arrangements are done to embrace the architectural beauty of the city and the cultural recognition. The well designed squares and pathways with plantations on both sides of the street give the natural connection. The arrangement of demography around the street keeps the vehicular traffic and noise away. The pedestrianisation of Karol Bagh Main road, the area like karolbagh is very tough to regain the urban livability. The cutoff of vehicular traffic has made a drastic change to the commercial street of karol bagh. From the surveys and observations, it is concluded that people are keen to do outside activities, inspite of living in a technical world where everything we can get on doors, people are searching the places where they can find leisures. A street environment will decide by how much space we provide for its people and it will decide the future of a city. A dark and deserted street or crowded full of noise and vehicles will have no future for the city, but if the same street has spaces which helps indulging the activities will be the best street that makes its people safe and healthy as well. The Design for people becomes a necessity for both a better city environment and to regain the lifelessness of urban spaces.
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Copyright © 2023 Rajat Verma, Komal Gahletia. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.