Revitalizing Pune's Historic Core City: A Pedestrian-Friendly Transformation

Pune, with its rich cultural history, boasts an old core city established along the riverside. This area holds a unique character, deeply rooted in physical, social, economic, ethnic, and spatial aspects. The core city, particularly in the Peth areas, preserves a distinctive architectural charm with its Wadas, historic built heritage, and public spaces. However, with the escalating issues of air pollution and congestion in Pune, there arises a need to rejuvenate the core city, embracing its past while ushering in a sustainable and pedestrian-friendly future.

The Unique Character of the Old Core City:

Pune's old core city is a treasure trove of cultural heritage, with its mixed-use low-rise urban form defining the Peth areas. These neighborhoods showcase a distinct architectural character through the intricacies of Wadas, frequent resting places in front of local temples, and lanes interlinked by narrow streets. This historic layout was designed to cater primarily to pedestrians and cyclists, reflecting the transportation needs of the time.

Attractions of the Core City:

Laxmi Road: Redevelopment and Rejuvenation of Pune's Core Area

Old City Pune is distinct in its characteristics, it is a place of historical significance, a home to endless temples, old-houses, and an enamouring architecture. It harbours one of the oldest and densest parts of Pune, and a sought-after marketplace, Laxmi Road, with people coming from faraway places to shop and visit. It has seen rapid transformations with changes in mobility practices of people leading to congestion and urban festering, contributing to development that has myriad ill-effects on the place. Population increase has led to crowd and heavy congestion of vehicles on the roads. One of the complexities of Pune’s core city is the high percentages of private-vehicle ownership; mainly two-wheelers. According to Development Plan (2013) (Parisar, 2022), there are 83% households that own either cars or motorbikes, with number of vehicles overpassing the human population in Pune. After more than a decade of efforts by the government and non-government entities, the problems of transportation and traffic remain unresolved. Therefore, Parisar aims at decarbonising mobility systems and promoting public and non-motorised transportation; rejuvenating the core city for a healthier future and better liveable environment, economic recovery and customer focused, conserving its iconic character and vibrancy.