Karan Saharya

MDes CC

MDes Design Studies Thesis Prize

In the Name of Heritage: Conservation as an Agent of Differential Development, Spatial Cleansing, and Social Exclusion in Mehrauli, Delhi

Advised by Susan N. Snyder and George E. Thomas

Karan Saharya, MDes Design Studies Thesis Prize. Conceptual diagram indicating spatial cleansing and social exclusion around Qutub Minar monument
Karan Saharya, MDes Design Studies Thesis Prize. Street separating the Qutub Minar Conservation Zone from Mehrauli urban village

I intend to study the impacts of the architectural conservation of the Qutub Minar Complex on the urban village of Mehrauli, New Delhi, because the manner in which national- and international-level preservation and planning frameworks operate reveals underlying sociopolitical conflicts and instruments of spatial cleansing. The thesis seeks to develop a new framework for the examination of “heritage” in the post-postcolonial milieu that contextualizes the designated monument within the larger urban fabric and can inform policy using a stakeholder-centric approach. I hypothesize that the appropriation of “heritage” in contemporary urban India is a tool to develop elite tourist destinations while displacing local communities, expropriating land, and reiterating colonial-era identity politics.

Karan Saharya, MDes Design Studies Thesis Prize. Boundary wall separating the designated monument from informal housing in Mehrauli urban village
Karan Saharya, MDes Design Studies Thesis Prize. Theoretical framework for thesis project
Karan Saharya, MDes Design Studies Thesis Prize. Map of Mehrauli depicting historic designated monuments and conservation zones
Karan Saharya, MDes Design Studies Thesis Prize. Bustling streetscape of Mehrauli urban village with a protected monument in the background