Role of Governance in Quality-of-life Assessment in the Historic City of Shahjahanabad, Delhi

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Rashmi Ashtt, Mayank Mathur


Many of the historic buildings in the city need repair, and there needs to be more awareness about the importance of heritage preservation. Shahjahanabad, a walled city built in the 17th century by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, is a culturally significant and iconic area. However, over time, it has faced numerous challenges, including urban decay, infrastructure issues like Aging Infrastructure, Inadequate Sewerage and Drainage, Lack of Adequate Parking Facilities, Preservation and Maintenance of Heritage Structures, and population pressure as the city was initially designed for 60,000 people but now lives approximately 3,00,000 people.  

This paper examines the role of governmental bodies, heritage conservation authorities, and local community organisations in heritage governance and their impact on quality-of-life indicators. The findings highlight the significance of heritage governance in improving various aspects of the quality of life in Shahjahanabad. Several government and private organisations work together in Shahjahanabad, Delhi, to manage and preserve the historic city while promoting its cultural heritage and tourism. However, challenges remain in balancing development pressures with heritage conservation goals and ensuring equitable distribution of benefits. Effective governance mechanisms should address these challenges by promoting sustainable tourism, protecting intangible cultural heritage, and ensuring the active involvement of local communities in decision-making processes.

The paper concludes by outlining the critical lessons learned from the case study of Shahjahanabad, which can be applied to other historic cities worldwide.


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