DDA plans al fresco fine dining at six of its district parks

New Delhi: Delhiites will soon be able to enjoy a fine dining experience in city’s urban greens. The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) has decided to start restaurants — regular ones and fine dining — at six of its district parks across the city. It will also open kiosks in parks, a DDA official said.

For this, the land-owning agency has thrown open a design challenge, inviting innovative design solutions from budding landscape architects for ‘integrated restaurants in Delhi’s urban greens’.

The six district parks which have been selected for the project are Aastha Kunj (Nehru Place), Recreational Complex (Hauz Khas), Sheeshmahal district park (Shalimar Bagh), Satpula Lake Complex (Saket), Ashoka Garden (Ashok Vihar) and Lake Park (Hari Nagar).

Currently, these parks have some kiosks, but most of them are not operational. The restaurant spaces are meant to draw people to green spaces, a senior DDA official, who involved in the project, said.

But as most district parks are spread over a huge area (between 15 hectares to 102 hectares), the DDA plans to make these public spaces more people friendly.

DDA vice-chairman Tarun Kapoor said, “We don’t want people to use these parks just for morning and evening walks. We want parks to become a core area where people can come with families and spend quality time. For that, it is important to provide spaces for restaurants. We are planning fine dining restaurants and kiosks that will cater to all sections of society. Private players will be roped in to run the restaurants and kiosks.”

“The built-up space will be for kitchen and other facilities while seating will be al fresco. While we will have only one fine dining restaurant in one park, but there will be multiple kiosks,” he said.

As per the Master Plan 2021 norms, restaurants in district parks (measuring 25 hectares) can be developed on 1% or 0.8 hectare, whichever is less. A senior DDA official said it will be on the lines of the restaurant in Lodhi Gardens, which is owned by the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) and given on lease. “But unlike the restaurant in Lodhi Gardens, the ones in our parks will be an integral part of the park,” the official said.

“In most parks, the space for kiosks and restaurants are lying vacant. There is also the issue of encroachment by vendors. After studying various models, we have decided that we will construct the built-up space and the seating will be in the open.”

The design challenge is open to all students of architecture and landscaping and they can submit innovative designs for integrated built-up spaces in parks as ‘happy destinations’. “The challenge is to create ‘happy destinations’ that contribute to people’s well-being by integrating a building with its surroundings…,” reads the brief for competition. The last date to submit the designs is September 4.

Kapoor said, “Once the design is finalised, we will start the construction work.”

Urban planners welcomed the move and said it is crucial to develop urban greens as an integrated, vibrant and multifunctional public spaces.

Arunava Dasgupta, head of urban design, School of Planning and Architecture, said, “It is a good idea, but it shouldn’t become an elite zone and be accessible to people from all walks of life. These are huge parks abutting residential neighbourhoods. The boundaries of these parks are often inactive or negative areas. Apart from restaurants, there should space of activities like sports, fitness etc.”

Pankaj Aggarwal, general secretary of Efforts Group (a federation of RWAs in Safdarjung Enclave and neighbouring areas), said, “The parks need basic facilities. They should focus on opening low-budget restaurants or kiosks selling affordable food. They should open something like the coffee shops we have in Connaught Place. An eating joint in parks should cater to all classes.”

First Published:
Jul 16, 2019 23:32 IST

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