ArrowArtboardCreated with Sketch.Title ChevronTitle ChevronIcon FacebookIcon LinkedinIcon Mail ContactPath LayerIcon MailPositive ArrowIcon Print
Tea Leaves

In Delhi, urban regeneration becomes work of art

India's first open-air public gallery bridges the divide between rich and poor

Singaporean artist Yip Yew Chong's mural at Lodhi Art District (Photo by Pallavi Aiyar)

Lodhi Colony, a middle-class neighborhood in central Delhi, has long been emblematic only for its own ordinariness. I remember it as leafy and littered, with betel juice stains -- the effluence of paan-chewing passersby -- splashed across the whitewashed walls of its housing blocks. As a child I would visit the local market, crammed with tailor shops humming with sewing machines. My mother would be busy getting measured for a saree blouse, while I sat on the curb outside looking up at crows flying high in the hot white skies.

The "colony," as neighborhoods are known in Delhi, primarily accommodated mid-level bureaucrats from the Central Public Works Department. It formed the rump of Lutyens' Delhi, the city district dominated by the British colonial architectural style made famous by Sir Edwin Lutyens between the 1920s and 1940s, which created a space neither grand nor congested. The area has now become the unlikely setting for the hippest and arguably the most revolutionary public space in the Indian capital. It could also serve as a model for urban regeneration efforts across Asia.

Sponsored Content

About Sponsored Content This content was commissioned by Nikkei's Global Business Bureau.

Discover the all new Nikkei Asia app

  • Take your reading anywhere with offline reading functions
  • Never miss a story with breaking news alerts
  • Customize your reading experience

Nikkei Asian Review, now known as Nikkei Asia, will be the voice of the Asian Century.

Celebrate our next chapter
Free access for everyone - Sep. 30

Find out more