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Yamuna River Project. 

Reinvigoration of Jaipur's Urban Fabric:

Spring 2021

Tulane Master's of Architecture Program

Research Studio


The Yamuna River Project is an interdisciplinary research program whose objective is to revitalize the ecology of the Yamuna River in New Delhi, thus reconnecting India’s capital city back to the water.



The research question for this project is essentially an exploration of urban and architectural strategies that might enable Jaipur to be sustained. In addressing the essential need for harvesting and harnessing the water from the few months of monsoon rain, the project prioritizes the creation of a more equitable city – both in terms of natural resource allocation as well as through a new socio ecological framework for the development of egalitarian public amenity. From this inquiry, the project has diagnosed the current condition -understanding the history and evolution of Jaipur, to develop a vision for the future of the city, and propose pilot projects that will test the implementation of this vision. 


Jaipur founded in 1727 by Jai Singh, is the capital city of Rajasthan, India’s largest state. Designed by the architect Vidyadhar Bhattacharya, the extraordinary heritage makes it a magnet for tourism. Behind the pink sandstone facades of the medieval city, Jaipur confronts an urgent crisis: the rapidly diminishing supply of drinking water. As a growing city with a population of 3.65 million inhabitants, and expected to reach 5 million in 2030 (UN World Urbanization Prospects), architecture, landscape architecture, preservation and urbanism are essential to redefine a built environment able to support a thriving urban life.

This study began as an examination of the variety of socioeconomic statuses found within Jaipur. The study was conducted with the hope of revealing inequities in access to resources plus issues related to privilege, power and control, with the intention of intervening in such a way to not only address the major water crisis but the crisis of urban expansion and the abandonment of the common spaces. 

Because of Jaipur's extreme diversity, a case study needed to be chosen for the base analysis. From this study additional areas of Jaipur could be chosen and analyzed in the same method, this allows each study area to receive personalized analysis so the specific contextual issues can be addressed.

Common conditions and characteristics found in Jaipur were selected as indicators to help narrow down the process of the case study selection. Special emphasis was put into finding areas of high density and low socioeconomic status, with opportunities for adaptive reuse and cultural significance.


This selection process led to an area of Jaipur known as the Walled City, the original footprint of Jaipur. From this point a series of demographics were compiled of the surrounding wards and studied before narrowing down the case study selection even further; putting emphasis on living conditions, accessibility, and access to resources.  

Jaipur is divided into a ward system that is headed by a municipal corporation. Each ward consists of roughly 40,000 residents and is determined by a census given every 10 years. Each ward is responsible for maintaining the city's civic infrastructure and carrying our associated administrative duties. A mayor heads the corporation but each individial ward elects public figures to represent the residents. 

Currently there are 250 wards divided as follows: 

100 Jaipur Heritage Wards

150 Greater Jaipur Wards 


Selection Conclusion: Ward 69

Because of Ward 69's location in the Walled City there are strong connections to the rest of the city and the river. Ward 69 also has an extremely dense urban fabric but with no obvious ordering system as found in similar blocks of the old city. There are four existing historically and culturally significant gates located within or near the ward, and it has one of the lowest literacy rates in the city. The ward relies mostly on piped water, that is running low, and would leave 40,000 residents without drinking water if the system were to fail. The living conditions are considered livable but not good, and lastly, the majority of transportation is by private vehicle with almost no formal accessibility. 


Ward 69 Analysis

While the boundaries of Ward 69 are roughly demarcated with the solid white paths, the analysis and proposals resulting from this study also take into account and consideration of the surrounding urban tissue.



- public amenities are clustered around one popular gate, and large roads bordering the ward

- only one stop for public transportation (bus stop located at Ramganj Choupad)

- large amount of religious institutions but disparities in education, hospitals, and public resources such as libraries, parks, and community centers

Existing Public Amenities

Accessibility and 'Dead Zones'


- what public amenities are available are not easily accessible

- there are “dead zones” located within the center of the block, that without vehicle transportation would leave residents without access to any existing amenities



- extreme diversity of density

- the majority of >20 icons are located centrally and into the southwest corner of the case study


Singular Trees + Vacant Lots


- there are still a decent amount of vacant lots located throughout the ward
- no formal green spaces
- correlation between tree location and the vacancies



- for a ward dependent on vehicular transportation there is a lack of formal accessibility

- for transportation to be improved, both public and private, improvements to the existing road system would be needed

Road Typologies

Intersections + Vacant Lots 


- some of the intersections with the highest traffic rate have the least amount of infrastructure (i.e. sidewalks, pedestrian pathways, etc.)

- there is opportunity for some of the existing vacancies along these high traffic intersections for easily accessible public amenities such as clinics, markets,and pharmacies

Analysis Conclusions:

There needs to be a more equal dispersion of public amenities, both in physical location, as well as, programmatically. This will also address the removal of the 'dead zones' currently located throughout the ward.


While additional public amenities and infrastructure is needed within Ward 69, careful consideration must be insured to not increase the densifying of the ward by offsetting interventions with formal green spaces, markets, parks, etc.

From data gathered, Ward 69 is heavily dependant of vehicular transportation but lacks formal accessibility. For this to be improved both public and private improvements to the existing road system would be needed.  


Due to the complexity of Ward 69 and the analysis conducted before, the first step of the methodology was to break down the ward into a series of easily understood scales. 

Scale of the Neighborhood

Scale of the Ward

Scale of the City

The scale of the neighborhood is to focus on the accessibility and public infrastructure needed on the smallest level.

The scale of the ward is to focus on the accessibility and public infrastructure on a slightly larger scale while also connecting the interventions proposed within the neighborhoods.

The scale of the neighborhood is to focus on the accessibility and public infrastructure needed on the largest level. This scales purpose is to highlight the necessity of connections from the neighborhoods, to the ward, and to the city beyond.

Public Infrastructure:

green pockets
water access
micro interventions such as single stall vendors, wifi access, gardens, etc.

Public Infrastructure:

educational facilities

religious institutions
local markets

Public Infrastructure:

large markets
waste management


non-motorized transportation

bike/cart/animal traffic



single lane
small motorized vehicle


two or more lanes

dual directional









Public Infrastructure: by only using the currently identified vacant lots in Ward 69 a drastic change can already be seen in available hospital beds, accessible educational facilities and still leaves vacancies for other community projects, such as libraries, shelters, and community centers.


world average: 2.8 people per bed
ward 69 + surround urban tissue: 80 people per bed 5 additional hospitals at 200 beds: 40 people per bed


there are currently 10 operating educational facilities for all education levels

by adding an additional 10 schools the amount of students would have the potential to double

Additional vacancies

this leaves an existing 14 vacant lots that could now be used to address a variety of public needs

hybrid infrastructure and public amenities such as community centers, libraries, women's shelters, small markets paired with waste management, water storage, or resource containment


Stormwater Management: in making these new routes of accessibility the previous construction methods of solid concrete can be replaced with a system of permeable pavers - these then not only become a way of harvesting and reusing stormwater but can also serve other purposes such as directional guides and community gathering spaces.

stormwater can then be collected and filtered the water can be used in a variety of ways:


piped to localized water treatment centers


used for gardening or landscaping

percolate into the groundwater


new permeable ground

treated and redistributed

used for urban agriculture


Waste Management

On average a person in India produces 1.4lb/670g of solid waste per day

multiplied by the population of the case study area is roughly 112,000lb/53,600,000g of solid waste per day

if one 5’x6’ dumpster is placed every 100’ on only the newly proposed main accessibility 120,000lb of solid waste could be stored.

collection methods:


By using this methodology to examine other wards in Jaipur, and implementing the relevant interventions, the existing urban fabric of Jaipur could become more accessible, resourceful, shared, safe, and desirable.

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