Public spaces such as parks and roundabouts across the Lutyens’ area will be developed into arts and cultural hubs, as the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) is planning to convert them into ‘happy zones’.
NDMC officials said the objective is to “upgrade urban life” by bringing art and culture out of the confines of museums and auditoria to open spaces where general public could also participate.
“It will help budding talents to display their works. Also, common man will have access to those cultural activities free of cost,” an official said.
‘Happy zones’ will be created in parks such as Nehru Park, Talkatora Gardens, Central Park in Connaught Place, Children’s Park, Central Vista Lawn, open areas over Palika Parking and Palika Bazaar, and also at roundabouts. The Mandi House circle will be the first one.
“Classical dance and music performances and art exhibitions are planned. We have infrastructure at some locations like amphitheatres in Talkatora Gardens and Connaught Place. A stage has already been constructed in Charkha Garden. The idea is to spruce up these spaces, so that people could throng them with their families and also office-goers could spend some time there in the evenings. This custom of outdoor entertainment is common abroad,” the official said.
“We have an open art gallery – Srijan in Nehru Park —where sculpture, painting, and graphic exhibitions can be organised,” he said.
For the purpose, the NDMC will join hands with states or regional cultural centres, embassies, armed forces, and institutions that promote arts and culture. The list includes Sahitya Akademi, Sahitya Kala Parishad, Lalit Kala Akademi, National School of Drama and Indian Council for Cultural Relations.
“We will approach several groups and invite them to hold their events at these sites. We can ask state governments to observe their State Day or embassies to celebrate National Day here. The council will have Independence Day and Republic Day celebration at these happy zones,” the official said.
However, before redeveloping a roundabout for such activities, the council will have to provide space for parking and movement of visitors to avoid any effect on traffic flow. In 2007, when the council considered closing down Gole Market, built on a roundabout, it had reasoned that it caused traffic congestion. The Delhi traffic police had also supported NDMC then.