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Working Paper: A City in Transition

HMS

Starting base work on a paper we are writing for the International Conference: Filling the Gaps, World heritage & the 20th Century to be held later this year at Chandigarh. Any help/contribution in terms of resources or data is welcome.

A City in Transition
THE 20TH CENTURY PRE-INDEPENDENCE URBAN HERITAGE OF HYDERABAD

Abstract

The Capital city of the Princely State of Hyderabad under the reign of the last Nizam experienced unparalleled urban improvement in the first half of the 20th century, setting it apart from colonial metropolitan cities of India like Bombay and Delhi. Owing to this continued patronage by the regional kingdom, the city was able to transit from being a walled medieval town to an expansive city with a striking vernacular urban form. Alongside innovative water engineering of the region progressing from the legacy of the Qutub Shahis, there was unprecedented technological transformation in construction and a conscious urban design effort. This enabled evolution of an architecture very relevant to its place and people.

This cohesive continuity in environmental sensitivity, technological adaptation and architectural aesthetic has evidently broken since. Through an analysis of the political/cultural geography in which this transition took place and the current practice of adaptive re-use/conservation, this paper aims to examine the exclusiveness of this urban heritage and its state of conservation. The vast data resource collected over more than a decade of professional practice and academic pursuit will be interpreted to explore relevant intervention methods that this study of traditional urbanism demonstrates. The paper ultimately seeks to illustrate multidimensional challenges the built heritage of the 20th century pre-independence Hyderabad must face in the city’s ongoing transition towards a global city.

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