In 1857, Central Park was carved out of the still-wild landscape of Manhattan. In 2013, a new park in the middle of super-dense New Delhi is poised to dwarf Central Park by almost 50 per cent.
But how will they build a 111 square metre park smack dab in the centre of the fourth biggest city in the world? That’s the dilemma. The Aga Khan Trust for Culture plans to knit together several different adjacent sites, like the Sunder Nursery, Humayun’s Tomb, nearby gardens, heritage areas and an old zoo. The group also wants to carve out a lake and create a Mughal garden in the lush urban oasis.
Alright, stitching together some adjoining green spaces isn’t that bad. So what exactly is the problem? Well, first of all, no formal proposal has been filed. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, there’s a lot of bureaucratic red tape when it comes to getting the rights to the land. For example, the tomb is controlled by the Archaeological Survey of India. The Delhi Public Works Commission runs the nursery. And the Ministry of Environment handles the zoo. Those are just three pieces to a very large puzzle. But the Trust and its director, Ratish Nanda, say they’re committed to leading the charge.
If they’re successful, New Delhians will have in their own backyard, a space that falls somewhere in between such renowned parks as Chapultepec in Mexico City (2000 acres) and Golden Gate in San Francisco (1017 acres). Nanda says his masterpiece will have 100,000 trees from 200 species, boast beautiful Islamic monuments, a fort, a zoo that holds white tigers and exotic birds, a treated lake that you could actually swim in and so much more. Central Park is a pristine — and necessary — escape from the hustle and bustle of New York City. Hopefully now Delhi will have its own urban retreat. [Huffington Post via Quartz]
Picture: Aga Khan Trust via Quartz