MPD 2041

All Delhites and others residing in the National capital will surely agree that indeed, pollution is one of the most immediate concerns in our city. Planning to alleviate the situation in next 20 years is definitely a cry of the times.

The situation vis a vis security in the city is almost as grim as the smog in our face these days. Are we waiting for it to be more apparent and apocalyptic than it already is?  Many of us do not yet realise the pressing need to make our urban living more secure. Most of us may not even know that security can be improved by planning measures, building regulations and community participation.

CPTED (Crime Prevention through Environmental Design), ‘Design Out crime’ and ‘Secure by Design’ are some of the names to this universal theory in use since the 1970s, in most of the developed societies to tackle urban crime and security issues. While the essential elements of this theory are nothing new to our culture and tradition, its immediate application for crime prevention and even counter-terrorism with documented benefits make it a worthwhile inclusion for the next decades.

While we are grappling with the extreme manifestations of urban crime and women’s security tends to over-shadow all ‘India Shining’ hues, security deserves its rightful place in the list of Delhi priorities. All residents of Delhi with or without young children irrespective of gender, young ladies and senior citizens would agree that a lot of their thought, effort, time and expenditure is dedicated only to this one over-riding concern. While the impact of this underlying insecurity may not be as immediately evident as those of air pollution, it is indeed affecting us at our basal psyche in the form of baseless distrust, anxiety and lifestyle choices.

The same is true for most cities smart or not, though the application may vary from metro to cities to towns as per context. Most of the developed world and especially some of the most secure cities of the world take their planning and developmental decisions by bringing all the governmental, non-governmental stakeholders, urban planners, designers, architects and criminologists on a common platform. In a similar vein or just carrying the original legacy of our architectural tradition, the subject deserves adequate consideration in all further urban planning efforts.

Security is not a top down commodity restricted to the security providers, police or administrations. It is a cultural concept too thriving on community efforts and sensitive social support. It is a direct function (research documented) of design, planning and policy.

These and even more concepts steeped in our tradition are waiting to be rediscovered, redefined and reasserted in our development of the NCR. Once the nation witnesses a resurgence of security, it should be example enough for the rest of the cities to follow and emulate. In that regard it is a necessity for consideration in the Masterplan 2041, as critical for immediate survival as the environment is for long-term sustainability.