A Brave New Modernism, Part 3 : Delhi

Delhi, the third chapter in the STUDIOFYNN’s ‘Brave New modernism’ series explores the cities of the developing world and how the human condition is influenced by the rapid development and expansion of the built environment. As noted in the first chapters, the developing world is expanding at an unprecedented rate giving rise to all manner of social, economic, environmental and infrastructural challenges.

By most matrices or measures, Delhi is one of the world’s fastest growing cities. 2013 census figures document a population of just under 17 million with other sources estimating as high as 22 million, which would make it the world’s second largest city after Tokyo by many rankings . The Economic Times of India indicates that there has been a 21 percent population growth between 2001 and 2011 which is higher than the national average of urban population growth of about 17%. The resulting density turns the urban landscape into a complex and unique visual tapestry.

Providing for such a rapidly expanding metropolis out growing its infrastructure faster than it can be built is an enormous task. All environmental and socio economic issues become amplified in a city where many of the inhabitants are classified as the urban poor lacking many of the basic amenities such as sanitation that are too often taken for granted in the worlds developed metropolises.

The consequences of such a population burden is evident in all aspects of life. Inadequate infrastructure creates negative economic impact as goods and services become harder to deliver and labor patterns become increasingly disrupted as traffic gridlock gradually ensues. This in turn may eventually result in new working patterns and the development of mega corridors as a solution for affordable housing in relative proximity to places of work, an equation that remains considerably out of balance in today’s Delhi.

The impact on the environment is potentially the most critical of issues in need of urgent address. As consumption patterns of the middle classes increase, the amount of waste ending up in Delhi’s landfill sites will become unmanageable with much of the pollutants and toxins from the waste entering the ecosystem and water table. The scale of the problem is also amplified by the unknown quantities of waste imported from other nations in violation of law.

Regulation does exist, however, the sporadic observance and enforcement of environmental regulation can only lead to negative impact on the health and well being of the city’s inhabitants. STUDIOFYNN is currently collaborating with Delhi based Chintan Environmental Action Group to raise awareness and explore solutions for the issues of waste and the enormous challenges created by the distinctly modern phenomena of e-waste and its disposal. This will be the subject of forthcoming documentary and publication.

Morning fog and smog
Traffic circles and intersecting diagonal arteries, New Delhi
View from hotel fire escape across New Delhi
Construction supervisors, hotel roof top
Electricity substation, Azadpur district
New development towers over the old, Azadpur district
New development towers over the old, Azadpur district
Railway scenes
Railway scenes
Railway scenes
Railway scenes
Railway scenes
Construction alongside railway line
City periphery
East Delhi
Housing
Methods of conveyance
On the metro
Metro station, Gurgaon
Metro station, Gurgaon
Local transport awaits at metro station, Gurgaon
View from Noida metro station
Housing, Noida district
Taxi driver rest station
Cyber City, Gurgaon
Cyber City, Gurgaon
Elevator in an office complex, Cyber City, Gurgaon
Welder
Office
Office
Office shrine
View from top of a landfill site with water run off collection pool below with high toxicity levels. Trash is collected from the new deposits at the top of the landfill site and traded in the communities below
The top of a landfill site, the most recent deposits support an ecosystem of animal life and human labour
The top of a landfill site, the most recent deposits support an ecosystem of animal life and human labour
E-waste from landfill sites and other sources is reprocessed, often in underground facilities without ventilation and in violation of established codes and methods
CRT e-waste reprocessing and refurbishment, often in underground facilities without ventilation and in violation of established codes and methods
View across housing developments from the top of a landfill site
School
All images © Shaun Fynn