Skip to main content

Volume 1 Supplement 3

Global and Local Challenges in Non-Western Heritage Conservation

The Rationale for Reviewing Current Concepts of Urban Planning and Developing New Ones in India


Urban planning in India is heir to a colonial paradigm that imposed practices developed from the experiences of Western urbanisation to the local Indian context. This paper suggests that this paradigm exacerbates the complex problems of contemporary urbanisation, but there is little attempt among Indian urban planners to acknowledge and address the consequences of their colonial legacy. The forces of globalisation are reinforcing this postcolonial intellectual malaise by reposing greater faith in capital- and technology-intensive solutions to solve problems instead of reforming the inherited processes of urban management. This paper argues that the nascent field of urban conservation in India offers the potential to review the dominant paradigms of urban planning and develop more context-specific and appropriate strategies for tackling the problems of Indian urbanisation.


  • Anderson, Perry. 1974. Lineages of the Absolutist State. London: New Left Books.

    Google Scholar 

  • Braudel, Fernand. 1992. Civilization and Capitalism: 15th–18th Century, Volume I: The Structures of Everyday Life; The Limits of the Possible. Translated and edited by Siân Reynolds. Berkeley & Los Angeles: University of California Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Chenoy, Shama Mitra. 1998. Shahjahanabad: A City of Delhi 1638–1857. Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers.

    Google Scholar 

  • Dutta, Arindam. 2007. The Bureaucracy of Beauty: Design in the Age of Its Global Reproducibility. New York: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Eck, Diana L. 1984. Banaras: City of Light. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

    Google Scholar 

  • Government of India, Ministry of Urban Development. 2017. Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation. Accessed June 28 2017.

  • Government of India, Ministry of Urban Development. 2017. National Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana. Accessed June 28 2017.

  • Government of India, Ministry of Urban Development. 2017. Smart Cities Mission. Accessed June 28 2017.

  • Government of India, National Commission on Urbanisation. 1988. Report of the National Commission on Urbanisation, Volumes 1 and 2. New Delhi: Government of India Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • IIHS (Indian Institute for Human Settlements). 2015. Urban India 2015: Evidence. Bengaluru: Indian Institute for Human Settlements.

    Google Scholar 

  • Legg, Stephen. 2006. “Post-Colonial Develop-mentalities: From the Delhi Improvement Trust to the Delhi Development Authority.” In Post-Colonial Geographies of India, edited by Saraswati Raju, M. Satish Kumar and Stuart Corbridge, 182–204. New Delhi: Sage Publications.

    Google Scholar 

  • Menon, A.G. Krishna. 1989. “Conservation in India: A Search for Directions.” Architecture+ Design, November–December.

  • Menon, A.G. Krishna. 1989. Cultural Identity and Urban Development. New Delhi: INTACH.

    Google Scholar 

  • Misra, S.C. 1994. “Urban History in India: Possibilities and Perspectives.” In The City in Indian History: Urban Demography, Society and Politics, edited by Indu Banga. Delhi: Manohar Publications.

    Google Scholar 

  • Mohan, Rakesh. 1994. Understanding the Developing Metropolis: Lessons from the City Study of Bogota and Cali, Colombia. Washington, D.C.: The World Bank.

    Google Scholar 

  • Mumford, Lewis. 1961. The City in History: Its Origins, Its Transformations, and Its Prospects. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc..

    Google Scholar 

  • Myrdal, Gunnar Myrdal. 1968. Asian Drama: An Inquiry into the Poverty of Nations. New York: Pantheon.

    Google Scholar 

  • Oldenburg, Veena Talwar. 1984. Making of Colonial Lucknow: 1856–1877. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Ramanujam, A.K. 1989. “Is there an Indian Way of Thinking? An Informal Essay.” Contributions to Indian Sociology (new series) 23(1): 41–58.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Satterthwaite, David. 2003. Understanding Asian Cities. Bangkok: Asian Coalition for Housing Rights.

    Google Scholar 

  • Talim, B.T. 1976. “Town Planning.” Chap. 2 in PWD Handbook. 16th ed. Bombay: Director, Government Printing and Stationery.

    Google Scholar 

  • The Aga Khan Award for Architecture. 1995. Aranya Community Housing Report. Geneva: The Aga Khan Foundation.

    Google Scholar 

  • Tyrwhitt, Jacqueline. 1947. Patrick Geddes in India. London: Lund Humphries.

    Google Scholar 

  • Venturi, Robert. 1966. Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture. New York: The Museum of Modern Art.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to A. G. Krishna Menon.

Additional information

An earlier version of this paper was presented at the International Workshop on Urban Transport: Today and Tomorrow, held on March 22–24, 2007 at Agra, India, convened by the Transportation Research and Injury Prevention Programme of the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, India.

Rights and permissions

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Menon, A.G.K. The Rationale for Reviewing Current Concepts of Urban Planning and Developing New Ones in India. Built Heritage 1, 34–43 (2017).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: