Manifestations for a City [HONOURABLE MENTION]

May 2010

Manifestations for a city

May 19, 2010 7:47 AM
Digant Shah

The title of my idea proposal is "Manifestations for a city". The city, I have chosen for the idea proposal is Nagpur, Maharashtra, India. My name is Digant Shah.



It is an established fact that a turn towards sustainable practices is essential for the survival of our planet.

The proposal builds resilience to climate change by re-establishing the relationship between people, natural system and the urban water ecosystem of Nagpur city.“Manifestations for a city” introduces new water ecosystem proposed as per the existing water system of the city and zone level urban design interventions. In natural world, opportunities for novelty are most abundant when systems re-organize. With some resilience thinking, one can see water abundant lakes and networks coming up in vacant plots, along side roads controlling the overall fabric of the city.The neighborhood plan provides a new lake proposal along with its network arranged with the cultural, educational, social and political amenities connected with green pedestrian corridors and boulevards.
The proposal tackles the following resilient planning principles:
1. System Diversity
2. Systems redundancy
3. Local Self Sufficiency
4.Responsive to Natural systems



75: Percentage of Earth's surface covered by water.
97: Percentage of the world's water that is saltwater or otherwise undrinkable.
2: Percentage of water held in ice caps and glaciers.
1: Percentage of water available for all of humanity's needs.?
300: Percentage increase in human population since 1935. 
600: Percentage increase in human consumption of fresh water since 1935.
50: Percentage of Earth’s fresh water supply found in South America.
25: Percentage found in Asia.
25: Percentage found in rest of world (North and Central America, Europe, Australia, Africa, and the Middle East)?.
1 000 000 000 000: Tonnes of water the sun evaporates every day.
1 000 000 000: Estimated number of people who must walk three hours or more to obtain drinking water.
67: Percentage of people who will live in water-stressed conditions by 2025?.
66: Percentage of the human body that is water?
35: Percentage of the water used by families in Asia that could be saved by simple conservation methods.
90: Percentage of wastewater discharged directly into rivers and streams without treatment in Asia.

800: Percentage of natural fresh water converted to waste when the 100 percent of the latter is mixed in a former’s source.

22 000 000: Number of people who die each year from diseases related to contaminated drinking water and poor sanitation.

...water is precious




1702- Gond king ‘Bakht Buland Shah’ found Nagpur by joining 12 hamlets on the banks of the river Nag, formerly known as Rajapur Barasa or Barasa

1706- The eldest son of Bakht Buland Shah, Raja chand Sultan, constructed a fort (mahal) (1) at the centre of this indigenous settlement with a 3km long wall around the town to lay the foundations of a planned Nagpur city.

1742- After the death of Raja Chand Sultan, the Bhosles took over the throne of Nagpur.

1765- The development of the city continued. The bhosles extended and modified the settlement to build informal market town, present day Mahal and Itwari area. They also built a multiple tanks, reservoirs and gardens in and around the market town, one of them being Shukrawari talao (3) to compete against the heat in this hot and dry zone of India. The Bhosles also built a fort outside the city town, known as sita buldi fort (4), overlooking the main city.

1817- The Marathas lost the fortress and the city to the Britishers. The Britishers also took over the Sitabuldi fort outside the city.
1861- Nagpur was made the capital of central province due to its strategic location.
1867- A new British train route GIP railway (7) was laid down between Nagpur and Mumbai, which transformed the city in all directions.

1870- The new connectivity and the late industrial revolution in india gave birth to empress and model mills in Nagpur. Due to the ample supply of cotton from Vidarbha, Nagpur had the resources to grow further. Thus Britishers built a new colonial town west of the old city.

1900’s- the tanks and the reservoirs, which were made by the bhosles began to be filled up for development and buildings filled up the space where one’s stood water.

The haphazard development in many parts of the city has no respect to the site, climate, history, native culture, locally available materials and construction technologies.



Nagpur, the second capital of Maharashtra, practically lies at the geographical centre of India. It is strategically important, as it is situated on the crossroad of north-south and east-west routes by road, rail and air and thus forms logical hub of India. The zero milestone in the city marks the centre of India. It is the largest city in central India with a population of 2.5 million making it the thirteenth largest urban agglomeration in India.

Nagpur lies in the hot and dry zone of India. Nagpur receives low to moderate rainfall over the entire year. Thus, Nagpur faces acute scarcity of water, especially in the summers. Also, Nagpur follows an extreme climate with temperatures varying from 48 degree C in summers to 10 degree C in winters with no or very less humidity.

Land use map

Rail and road transit

Roads branching out from one major north south road

The railway line divides the city into east and west. The east represents an old organic settlement while the west represents the new colonial town.

The west and the east builtform v/s open space pattern analysis.

The slope is gentle form west to east.

The existing lakes and water rivulets.

The breathers (open spaces and green spaces).

The cosmopolitan Nagpur city.

Nagpur city has a suitable topography with a natural gradient in one direction i.e. from West to East. There are two major storm water-carrying streams. The Nag River starts from the Ambazari lake’s overflow weir at the Western end of the city and runs through the middle of the city towards the East. The second Pili Nadi starts from the weir of Gorewada lake at the Northwest end of the city and runs through the North to the Eastern end of the city. The length of the Nag River is 17 km and width ranges from 18 to 50 meters and depth varies from 3 to 6 meters. Ambazari and Telangkhedi lakes give rise to the Nag river while from Gorewada raises the Pili Nadi. Other than these rivers natural lakes like Ambazari, Gorewada, Telangkhedi, and man made lakes like Dahegeon, Sonegaon, Shukrawari, Sakkardara, Pardi, Naik and Lendi Talao are plays a major role in water ecosystem of the city.

But these precious ecosystems are under serious threat. Today 100% of Nagpur sewage is pumped into Nag River; tributaries of this river crisscross the city. The city had a large number of old wells, which in recent times have fallen into disuse. All the wells in the proximity of the Nag River are polluted. The beautiful and utilitarian lakes were and are being filled up and the rivers were canalized and then converted into sewers, often as a result of un thoughtful planning. There is an urgent need for rejuvenation of the decaying urban watershed and look for a total water management of the city.



The resilient proposal is divided mainly into two parts; city level planning elaborating the city level interventions in and around the entire city plan and zone level planning further elaborating a detail of a zone and its interventions.

City planning
The historic city planners in the period of the bhosles planned many man made lakes (gandhisagar, sonegaon, shakardhara, etc) due to the extreme scarcity of water in the hot and arid Nagpur. These lakes and water bodies controlled the microclimate around, acted as water catchments and their surroundings precincts were excellent socio cultural institutions.

Cycle of the lakes over a year

JUNE- The rainy season replenishes the perennial lakes and other non perennial reservoirs in and around the city.(Section 2)

MAY- The drying of the lakes in summers gives a chance to the modern city planners to fill up the lakes and make commerce out of the land where once stood water. The beautiful hubs are now ruined for commerce.(Section 3 and Section 4)

NEXT JUNE- The haphazard filling gets flooded in the next monsoon season to worsen the environment. (Section 1)

Thus, it is crucial to look back into the past and resilient back to create a sustainable and humane Nagpur city. The entire citywide plan is implemented as per the following steps

NETWORKING OF LAKES: The various non-perennial water bodies are networked and linked to the perennial water bodies across the city so that the non-perennial water bodies do not end up drying in summers. (Section 2 and Section 3 )

PROPOSED NEW LAKES: Then, some new lakes are proposed along these networks as water catchments.

SURROUNDING PRECINCTS AROUND THESE WATER BODIES: These proposed lakes and water networks give way to green boulevards, parks, public places, market precincts, etc.

The lakes, lake networks and their junctions proposed as green public breathers for the city.

The green buffer zones proposed along the lake networks and the lakes. This would be policy which would say no development within a fixed distance from the water edge.

The city is divided into three zones according to the present watershed of the city.

Conceptual master plan showing the new networks along with the old networks.

The final master plan with the existing lakes and lake networks(light blue) and the proposed new lakes and lake networks(orange).

Zone Study

The existing open green spaces and the water system in the zone.

The old historical informal market (yellow) and varoius cultural institutions(orange).

The various educational institutions in the zone.

The Gandhi Sagar Lake and their immediate market precinct zone within the city core of Nagpur constitute the project study area. This region, which is about 20 sq. km. in size forms the vital lungs of suburban Nagpur, comprising a rich historic value with market precincts running around the man made lakes. These form the very basis of the only socio cultural grounds in the city. The lakes and their peripheries are under severe threat today due to rapid haphazard development, relaxation of developmental restrictions in no-development zones, increasing population density and improper land use patterns. The pressure of all these factors has already caused catastrophic depletion of the environment, and if allowed to continue will surely wipe out this region in entirety, along with its invaluable ecological and traditional reserves, scenic beauty and its paramount importance as a cultural core of the city. The study of this stressed environment has been undertaken to identify, analyze and investigate into the factors, which have led to the deterioration of the lake surrounds and are further threatening their very existence along with their contexts.

Zone plan-Celebrating Nagpur

The present and potential high activity points are mapped in the zone. These activity points include social and cultural academies, music and dance academies, sports complexes, schools, colleges, recreational public places like sita buldi, reshambagh, bus depots. To this are added new activity points like community centre, city centre, urban health centres, socio-cultural centres, etc. These activity points are networked and linked with green boulevards to create a big interface ground for culture and festival to spring irrespective of age, caste, creed or colour. So you celebrate life and city 24 7 365.

The final zone planning with the new fabric along with the existing fabric. The zone proposal includes the new water network connecting an exixting non-perennial lake to the perennials. The various cultural, educational, open spaces and informal markets connected with the green corridors and boulevards.



The lakes added to the existing fabric of the city in the following ways:

CONTROLLING MICRO CLIMATE: Nagpur follows an extreme climate with temperatures varying from 48 degree C in summers to 10 degree C in winters with no or very less humidity. The addition of lakes would increase the humidity in the air and would help control the extreme temperatures both in summer and winters. Thus, lakes help in control the microclimate of the zone around them.

WATER CATCHMENT AREAS: Nagpur lies in hot and arid zone of India. Also, Nagpur has a low ground water resource. Nagpur faces an acute shortage of water, especially in summers. Thus, these artificial lakes, if planned according to the present topography, act as water catchment areas, collecting water from the adjoining areas.

EXCELLENT SOCIO-CULTURAL INSTITUTION: The lake precincts hold an excellent place for social, cultural and religious cores for the people of Nagpur. These precincts serve as interactive place, meeting grounds, resting place, etc for socialization and recreation. The people from different classes can be educated regarding these water structures and their importance so that these essential utilities becomes a ritual where people start respecting it as a place of worship.



In today's world managing urban waste has become one of the critical issues for the environment. Everyday cities are .The total waste management of the city is divided into two areas:

SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT: The people are educated to segregate the solid wastes from their respective households into dry and wet waste. The dry waste that includes plastic, newspaper, metal and other recyclable wastes while wet waste includes leaves, vegetable peels, and other material waste which can be composted to create clean and natural biogas and effective manures for gardens and fields.

WASTE WATER MANAGEMENT: Decentralized wastewater management of the city is being employed for the reuse of the wastewater from the kitchen and toilets of their respective households.

DEWAT system comprises of following:

SEPTIC TANK: Septic tank has two chambers designed as a prelimnary settler in which the denser material settles to the bottom and the lighter suspended matter floats at the top only allowing this grey water to pass into the horizontal baffle reactor.

HORIZONTAL BAFFLE REACTOR: This also works on the same principle of the baffle reactor, but the difference is that the waste water during its up flow movement moves through a filter material which may be made of cinder, or any porous material having a hollow and large surface area. This filter material allows bacterial colonies to grow on it to treat wastewater more efficiently.

HORIZONTAL GRAVEL FLITER OR PLANTED FILTER: This is a shallow basin complete with gravels and pebbles which would support the growth of plants having shalow roots. The plants which could be reedsand other species such as helophytes, phragmycetes, etc.

POLISHING POND: This is the final stage of the treatment system and the waste water can be used to irrigate directly or stored for the other prposes. The design tries to ensureflow of water takes place by gravity

Zone plan for the dewats showing a dewat plant filtering waste water produced from a few household buildings.

City level plan for the dewats showing different zones and their dewat system. Finally the treted waste water can be safely put back into the original river system of the city.

The benefits of grey water recycling

Grey water can replace fresh water in many instances, saving money and increasing the effective water supply in regions where irrigation is needed. Residential water use is almost evenly split between indoor and outdoor. All except toilet water could be recycled outdoors, achieving the same result with significantly less water diverted from nature.

LESS STRAIN ON SEPTIC TANK OR TREATMENT PLANT: Grey water use greatly extends the useful life and capacity of septic systems. For municipal treatment systems, decreased wastewater flow means higher treatment effectiveness and lower costs.

HIGHLY EFFECTIVE PURIFICATION: Grey water is purified to a spectacularly high degree in the upper, most biologically active region of the soil. This protects the quality of natural surface and ground waters.

SITE UNSUITABLE FOR A SEPTIC TANK: For sites with slow soil percolation or other problems, a grey water system can be a partial or complete substitute for a very costly, over-engineered system.

LESS ENERGY AND CHEMICAL USE: Less energy and chemicals are used due to the reduced amount of both freshwater and wastewater that needs pumping and treatment. For those providing their own water or electricity, the advantage of a reduced burden on the infrastructure is felt directly. Also, treating your wastewater in the soil under your own fruit trees definitely encourages you to dump fewer toxic chemicals down the drain.

GROUNDWATER RECHARGE: Grey water application in excess of plant needs recharges groundwater.

PLANT GROWTH: Grey water enables a landscape to flourish where water may not otherwise be available to support much plant growth.

RECLAMATION OF OTHERWISE WASTED NUTRIENTS: Loss of nutrients through wastewater disposal in rivers or oceans is a subtle, but highly significant form of erosion. Reclaiming nutrients in grey water helps to maintain the fertility of the land.

INCREASED AWARENESS OF AND SENSITIVITY TO NATURAL CYCLES: Grey water use yields the satisfaction of taking responsibility for the wise husbandry of an important resource.




Streets, avenues and boulevards

May 11, 2010 2:30 AM
Digant Shah

The existing street patterns showing junctions as important nodes with activity thriving at these points.

The streets are designed to increase sustainable transit systems (pedestrian and cycles) in the zone. The streets are outlined to increase the pedestrian activity in the zone. The streets are linked to important nodes and high activity points that include social and cultural academies, music and dance academies, sports complexes, schools, colleges, recreational public places like sita buldi, reshambagh and bus depots. The streets are heavily greened and shaded. Some of the streets are designed into open transformable display/exhibition for the local artisans. Urban boulevards are created across the city.

The various street sections of the zone.

The existing street

The proposed modified street view.

The existing node.

The modified proposed node acting as a gathering space during festivals and other occassions.



May 10, 2010 3:32 AM
Digant Shah

The people, Yes,
Out of what is their change
From chaos to order
And chaos again?

-Carl Sandburg

Post Script: Comments/Replies/Critics are welcomed.

Digant Shah






RSS feed