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Designing Chandni Chowk of tomorrow

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Visionaries: Students of Manava Bharati School, Panchsheel Park, explaining their project for ‘Re-development of Chandni Chowk’ at the American Center in New Delhi on Wednesday.
Visionaries: Students of Manava Bharati School, Panchsheel Park, explaining their project for ‘Re-development of Chandni Chowk’ at the American Center in New Delhi on Wednesday.

Manisha Jha

NEW DELHI: The “Future Cities India 2020: Student Infrastructure Design Projects” exhibition on the theme of “Re-development of Chandni Chowk” was held at American Center here on Wednesday.

Featuring 15 schools shortlisted from 43 entries, the annual exhibition now in its fourth year was organised by the Union Ministry of Science & Technology and Bentley Systems Incorporated to actively engage students from Delhi and the National Capital Region schools to develop solutions to real-world infrastructure challenges using their design skills with Bentley software.

From exploring different ways to organise the present parking and transportation problem in Chandni Chowk to introducing new concepts to revive the lost heritage and charm of the area, the exhibition represented a multitude of ideas reflecting the children’s creativity and vision.

The 15 student teams in the competition addressed three requirements in their conceptual design for re-development of the district. These comprised using the existing land and infrastructure to the best advantage, proposing a congestion-free transportation plan for Chandni Chowk and integration of the principles of environmentally sustainable designs.

Bentley global director Scott Lofgren said: “There are no rights or wrongs here as each project represents a creative vision of youngsters and their approach to a real-world problem with each project highlighting various aspects of the multi-faceted Chandni Chowk.”

A student participant from Manava Bharti School, Har Sewak Panesar, said: “We did not want to alter the basic historical character and essence of Chandni Chowk and yet make it futuristic. So combining the two concepts was the main challenge. The USP of our project is the proposal for setting up a giant Ferris wheel at Chandni Chowk which would offer a splendid aerial view of the entire place showcasing its historic monuments, people, culture and hidden charms. We have envisioned this Ferris wheel titled Chakravyuh-II to be the next landmark of Delhi for 2020 just like Qutub Minar is the city’s landmark now.”

Added another participant, Plash Sachdeva, “Me and several of my teammates had never been to Chandni Chowk in our life. We had our own pre-conceived notions about it and were simply shocked to see the extent of mess of civic and infrastructure facilities there on our first field visit. But as our project progressed we realised the true potential of the place and came to the conclusion that instead of blaming the authorities we could design a new and improved place for its residents.”

A student of K. R. Mangalam School, Roshini Ashok, said: “Apart from enhancing my personal knowledge of the area and giving me a new perspective, the project also made me respect architects and urban planners and the various challenges they face.”

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