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Reconnecting the city to its river. Sabarmati riverfront development project in Ahmedabad

Figure 1: Night view of the completed lower promenade. Source: Dinesh Mehta for HCP Design, Planning & Management Pvt. Ltd.

Author(s): Aparna Joshi

Abstract / Introduction (download full article at the bottom)

Ahmedabad, located in western India on the banks of the Sabarmati River, is the largest city in the State of Gujarat. The river has served as Ahmedabad’s lifeline for ages and has been an integral part of the rich history of the city. It has been a major source for drinking water and informal recreational activities for the city. However, with rapid and haphazard urban growth by the end of twentieth century, the river became neglected, inaccessible and polluted. The city had turned its back towards the river. Riverfront development was a subject of interest to various city professionals since 1960s, but it was in 1997 that comprehensive planning was undertaken to transform Ahmedabad’s riverfront. Sabarmati Riverfront Development Project is a multi-dimensional project with several objectives. It aims to reclaim the private river-edge and turn it into a public asset thereby redefine the city’s relationship with its river by creating a thriving, people-centric network of parks, waterside promenades and civic facilities in the heart of the city. The project’s political objective is to provide a highly visible and robust urban renewal project around which the entire city can constructively rally. It is a first project of its kind in India. It is ongoing but already demonstrates that such projects can positively transform the city and be implemented in a fractious democracy like India, which is also why it has been much-talked about during the recent national elections. This paper describes the project’s background, objectives and its unique features.

Publication: ISOCARP Review 10, pp. 48-61
Year: 2014
Editors: Shi Nan, Jim Reilly, Fran Klass
Coordinator: Lucian Perici
Graphic Designer: Ricardo Moura

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