city    of    edges

Type Urban analysis    

Location Delhi

Author Aneesha Dharwadker

Publications Writing Cities Vol. 3 (2014)

Date 2012

City of Edges positions the walled cities of Delhi as an urban structuring paradigm continuing into the 21st century.

Delhi is the capital of India, a role it has fulfilled for the majority of the last millennium. Historically, it has been a successful capital because of its strategic location on the Yamuna River and in the center of the Indo-Gangetic Plain. Its position and form has afforded it urban-scale defense as well as economic power.

Delhi is known as the ‘city of cities’ because, in the course of its development as a capital, it has been built anew several times by its successive rulers. The many city centers that arose from this process are indications of the attempted permanence of each empire, and today, their ruins continue to structure the modern city fabric. This project aspires to understand today’s city as the product of a particular and very unique urban imaginary, rooted in the formation of the walled city.

Through different drawing and mapping techniques, we are able to better understand the underlying logic of Delhi's urbanism, challenging the colonialist perception of "urban chaos" that persists today.

The historic and contemporary walls of Delhi are barriers, boundaries, thresholds, sieves, ledges, ruins, prosceniums, and many other kinds of disobeyed edges.

Photographs: Aneesha Dharwadker

Chennai

Mumbai

Kolkata

Delhi

Ancient and early modern cities in Delhi (red) surrounded by contemporary infrastructure

Edges as walls: Indraprastha (left) and the Yamuna River (right)

Fragments of Delhi (L-R): the Red Fort, the Qutb Complex, Feroz Shah Kotla, and Siri