Reviving the Historic Core Through Community Spaces: A Case of Alwar

Author: Sugandha Agarwal| Krvia – Post Graduate Program | 2020

The research aims at examining the issues and challenges faced by the historic core and investigate and understand the reason why the local-community of historic core is moving to the suburbs. The aim of the thesis is revival of the historic core through community based approach.  Alwar has a population of 3.15 lakhs (census of India 2011). It was a walled city which was laid out more than 200 years ago based on Indo-Islamic traditions. The city currently acts as an important magnetic center in the National Capital Region (NCR) plan 2021 of Government of India.

Alwar is also known as the ‘Gateway to the historic and colorful state of Rajasthan’ having a variegated history of almost 19 generations of rulers ruling the city. Alwar is situated in the foothills of Aravali ranges, earlier a walled city with 5 gates. The walled area of Alwar forms the city’s historic core which consists mainly of mohallas, chowks, and markets. In the present time, the historic core of a city which forms an essential part of the city’s identity is under threat due to socio economic reasons, lack of facilities, neglect, and narrow lanes. Many buildings have been abandoned or dilapidated.

The mohallas which were once a place where a community lived is now becoming dead slowly. Many buildings with rich architecture are now empty or dilapidated. The residents of the historic core tend to move out and live in more developed areas. If the historic core is continuously neglected, soon the whole culture of mohalls will vanish. So, there is a need to revive the historic core of small towns. There can be many approaches through which one can attempt to conserve the historic core .One of the ways of doing this is reviving the neighborhood spaces and connecting them through a network of economy and tourism. This will help the community of core area socially as well as economically .It may help in the overall conservation of the old city area and the residents would feel like staying in the traditional houses.

Infrastructure and tourism development are vital for urban conservation and do add to the quality of life of the community. The area of action is the core area, that is the walled city of Alwar, within the walled city 3 routes have been identified passing through the chowks , leading to the city palace . All the three routes have different characteristics. These routes form a network interconnecting each other. These chowks are now lying vacant or dead. There is no active public realm in the chowks. The proposals like introducing activities for enhancing tourism as well as for economic development, Re-adaptive use to the vacant or partially vacant buildings, Design intervention, and Restoring the character of the chowk may help in activating the chowks.

The proposal is to revive the route and the chowks lying within the route. This was done by maintaining the street character and introducing activities within them. The proposed routes are for the tourists and community both. Adaptive reuse was proposed in the vacant structures surrounding the chowks. All this will help the historic core socially as well as economically.

Text & Image Credit: Sugandha Agarwal | Krvia – Post Graduate Program | Urban Conservation

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