Safdarjang Airport – Round-2?

?The Habitat centre is hosting a presentation as part
of its ongoing series Agenda Delhi on the Future of
Safdarjung Airport on Monday, November 10th at 6:30
pm. The venue is the Casuarina hall. After the
presentation there will be a discussion and
suggestions/opinions from the audience. The
discussants include Ravi Agarwal, environmentalist,
Arun Rewal, urban planner, Kamal Meattle, entrepreneur
& activist; and Alpana Kishore, activist.?

IHC had in the same series a discussion on the same
topic on 21.07.03 at initiative of Kishore and
Agarwal, worried about risk to sunset over Safdarjung
Airport (rather flying club) from shopping mall
proposed by Ministry of Civil Aviation. The other
discussants then were DDA Commissioner Planning and
Minister of State for Civil Aviation. The latter did
not show up and was substituted by Meattle.

I contributed (and later wrote to MoCA and DDA) some
plannerly facts missing from the starting premise,
notably that the airport / club is illegally occupying
for 40 years a site meant for District Park and
neither MoCA nor civil society are empowered to make
plans for future of public land.

Apart from Commissioner Planning and myself there were
other Planners, all of who agreed with this. Of
?Architect-Planners? present, Arun Rewal made a
foreign-precedents? case for club/airport project and
will now represent Planners. Meattle, perhaps, will
represent Government ? by inertia or since the
proposal for mall et al, modified subsequently to one
for ?world class convention centre?, was mooted by
CII. I wonder who will make what ?presentation?.


Arun Rewal, nephew of Architect Raj Rewal, teaches
Architecture at SPA and is on an MCD panel for
hoardings as Urban Designer (Urban Design being a
post-graduate discipline in Architecture studies).
Architects and Planners are different animals.
Planners, somewhat like accountants, make budget-like
statutory frameworks for equitable sustainable use of
city resources. Architects apply creative design
genius on sites within these frameworks. For obvious
reasons, it is not right for practicing Architects to
advocate Plan modifications with reference to a
particular sites. (By the way, by qualification I,
too, am ?Architect-Planner?, in fact
gold-medalist-Architect-gold-medalist-Planner, and can
say with confidence that
practicing-Architect-practicing-Planner is untenable

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