Theses Master's

The Walled City of Ahmedabad: Proposing a New Framework for the Conservation and Maintenance of Pol Houses Through Analysis of the Roles of Different Stakeholders

Mistry, Nilika

The Walled city of Ahmedabad is the oldest portion of the Ahmedabad city in the state of Gujarat in India, established in 1411 A.D. on the eastern bank of Sabarmati river. The Walled City of Ahmedabad comprises of centuries-old vernacular houses constructed initially to withstand battles. The houses built in the city were organized in dense neighborhoods consisting of a set of dead-end streets entered through a single gateway. The gate into the neighborhood could be closed for security and each house could store its water and grains. These neighborhoods are called pols, and the houses in these neighborhoods are called pol houses. These houses are thriving today with day-to-day life and carry with them the history worth of six centuries. These houses are the reflection of the city and should be preserved and maintained so that the heritage of the city keeps living. Over the years, the condition of these pol houses has deteriorated, and many of these historic houses are dilapidated. The city is losing many of these houses because of changes in the economy, problems in regulations and policies, social problems and lack of awareness. This thesis aims to study the different factors and stakeholders responsible for the deteriorating conditions of the pol houses, and analyze the obstacles hindering the conservation and maintenance of these houses. The research process includes a site visit, examining a selected pilot project - Dhal ni pol, one of the 600 pols in the city, which has 80 pol houses under the local government body’s protection. The site visit comprises of interviews of stakeholders of the pol houses – owners, developers, restoration architects, and government entities, to understand the complexity of the dynamics between these stakeholders, and the challenges and dangers the pol houses are facing today. The thesis proposes policies that would contribute in addressing the factors affecting the conditions of the pol houses. It also proposes a co-management public-private framework and strategy for the better execution and monitoring of the policies.

Geographic Areas


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Historic Preservation
Thesis Advisors
Clark, Carol A.
M.S., Columbia University
Published Here
September 25, 2018