Walkability, as defined by Wikipedia, is a measure of how friendly an area is for walking. It has health, environmental and economic benefits. When we put these words into practical use in our daily life in India, we realize the real importance of this term. Walkability can also be defined as the freedom to move through various blocks in a safe environment without having to worry about cars, motorcycles. It is when we let these words sink in, look out our office or shop window do we realize the scope of massive development that lies ahead for an architecture or infrastructure firm in a country like India and a metropolitan city like New Delhi.
In the 41st edition of Architecture & Society Talk, GREHA, Ar. Goonmeet Singh Chauhan, founding partner Design Forum International, one of the best architects in India said, “Until we restore walkability to the city, there is little possibility for sustainable growth”
We live in the fastest growing economy of the world and yet, we fail to measure the real factors that make a country worth living. We have to hire taxis, autos or take a bus to reach the closest metro station because it is just not possible to “walk”. Across many parts of New Delhi, there are proper pavements but they are filled with parked cars. At other places, they are filled with illegal hawkers, making it impossible to take a stroll without worrying about oncoming traffic.
This is why, when projects like ITO Skywalk, Dakshineshwer Skywalk, Kolkata are commissioned, it brings a cheer to the 30,000 odd public who know they can use it to get from point A to B in the safest way possible. Such projects propel New Delhi and other metropolitan cities into a new era of development where the focus is not just on towering buildings and high skyscrapers, but the focus is also on the common man and his comforts so that every man and woman can get some benefit, economic or otherwise. It speaks of a country which is ready to listen to the voices of the everyday man and is ready to create an infrastructure that caters to their needs.
Design Forum International is a young-old organization with almost 25 years of experience that has quickly set the right foot to be one of the best architecture firms in India. The firm is a vibrant mix of young and experienced professionals bounded by a common thread: the passion to design. An active contributor to the Nation Building drive and the Indian infrastructural boom, DFI holds vast industry experience in both national and international projects with millions of square feet of construction in a varied range of typology like Affordable Housing, Master planning, Mixed use & Retail, Institutional as well as Healthcare. Some of DFI’s notable projects include the famous Select Citywalk mall, and the recently inaugurated New Courts Block of Delhi High Court., the ITO Skywalk, Delhi and the Dakshineshwar Skywalk in Kolkata. The Guwahati International Airport in Assam, designed by DFI is also under completion and is scheduled for completion in 2021.