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Redevelopment Strategies for Highly Dense Neighbourhoods










Redevelopment / Regeneration



Project description 

As Indian cities battled with Covid-19, some of the densest residential areas such as rehabilitation colonies, urban villages and small sized plotted housing emerged as local hot spots of the pandemic. The pandemic highlighted the failure of urban planning that has led to the creation of such dense neighbourrhoods. HTAU undertook an in-house research project to identify strategies to redevelop / regenerate high density areas.

HTAU's role

Taking the case of i) Seelampur, a sub-district in North-East Delhi with a density of 54,000 persons / sq km, and ii) ’Hospitalet de Llobegrat, considered the most densely populated square kilometer in Europe, with a density of 53,119 persons / sq km, only marginally less than Seelampur, HTAU established that:

  • At 5.6 persons per household, Seelampur has the highest average household size of any sub-district in Delhi.

  • Four-to five storey high buildings mostly on plots less than 125 sq m, create exceedingly small dwellings for the size of families that live there. Entry is through narrow lanes, limiting natural light and air. Public open space is non-existent.

  • In contrast, Llobegrat, with a higher number of dwellings but a substantially smaller average household size of only 2.6 persons, provides greater per capita habitable space. Six-to-eight storey high apartment blocks on medium sized plots, public parks and 10-12m wide streets, create better living conditions for all residents. 


HTAU then developed a market-responsive urban renewal programme comprising plot redevelopment, plot amalgamation and street widening, wherein the same density can be accommodated with better quality of life. Redeveloping the plots would increase the built-up area, which in turn would guarantee greater habitable space per person. It would also enable wider streets with augmented infrastructure and planned retail and commercial outlets. Amalgamating plots would not only create larger dwellings, but also neighbourhood amenities and open  spaces. The existing lanes and alleys would be retained for public access within these reconfigured plots. Better pedestrian facilities, retrofitted with wider foot-ways, landscape, and seating for the public, would create a vibrant environment.


The study was published in an article titled 'More habitable space for good quality of life' in Hindustan Times, in July 2020. You can read the articles at


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