Regeneration of Central Business District, Abids | Urban Design

Redesigning Abids, Hyderabad | Urban Design Project

Urban design is complex but fascinating. At least I find it to be exciting and challenging since urban designers get to shape the lifestyles of the people. I would like to discuss one of the urban design projects I did in Architecture college in a group. We were a group of 12 students, all of us skilled in different areas. When we began, we felt the project work was intimidating and that it was too early for us to be working on one. I am going to be writing a series of articles of how we dealt with this project, the design process that we followed and all the survey methods that we used. It was a great experience.

Aim of the Project:

Conservation of the original market character by restricting to various patterns, colours, to create a scenario that invites tourists without disturbing the old and traditional built forms to relate to the original concepts. We are aiming at Sustainability…Sustaining and improving the living standards and reviving the importance of the commercial hub in terms of commercial activity.

We listed out the target issues in terms of Sustainable Development. Listing aims of the project is the first and most important thing to do before beginning any kind of project. This gave us a clear understanding of the direction in which we should be progressing.

Urban design process

This is the design process we followed for redesigning the commercial hub. We had a brainstorming session with our group and came up with all the possible approaches we could take to design the project.

Stage One: Case study of 1,000,000 sq m of area in the centre of commercial hub (studied land use pattern)

Stage Two: Detailed Study and Analysis of the Critical Zone for Redesign

Selection Criteria

Abids is one of the oldest commercial hub in the Hyderabad city. Abids constitutes the dwellings of Upper middle class families. People from all over the city came to shop jewellery and textiles at Abids. With the decentralisation of the commercial markets, the crowd coming to Abids has lessened as compared to what it was earlier. The good thing about Abids is that it still has a unique shopping market which other places don’t have. This is what we identified as the unique selling point for the regeneration of Abids. To regenerate, it is essential to identify issues and come up with solutions that could enhance the functioning of the commercial hub and help restoring it to its original character.

Here are the issues that we identified:

  • Traffic issue
  • Lack of convenient Parking
  • Scope of redesign of facades
  • Organizing and redesigning streetscape
  • Informal activity
  • No recreational area

Stage Three: Major  focused area selected for redesign

Target Issues of Sustainability that we are aiming to achieve:

  1. Quantum change and Transferability

  2. Ethical Standards and social Equity

  3. Environmental quality and resource Efficiency

  4. Economic Performance and Compatibility

  5. Contextual and aesthetic Impact

Sustainable urban design

Transferable Ideas are those that are affordable, simple and broadly applicable.

  • Intriguing piece of Architecture – Symbolic Power

  • Providing attractive and functional spaces

  • Environmental awareness

  • Landscaping enriches the local Ecosystem

  • Use of cementitious materials (Construction materials and construction Technique)

  • Consideration of climatic aspects

Quantum Change and Transferability – Progress

Effective Passive Mechanisms

Intriguing piece of Architecture – Symbolic Power

For example:


Since Hyderabad has a hot and dry climate and the temperatures are high for eight months in a year, consideration of control of solar gain has been taken by providing shading on the streets by means of plantation and treatment given to the facades of the buildings on the street.

Keeping the shopping streets cooler by providing shade is of utmost importance and of great convenience for the shoppers.

Ethical Standards and Social Equity

A bright and well designed shopping street is a pleasure to shop in everyday.

The ambience and the environment of the shopping street will be brought under qualitative control which in turn will have a huge effect on the success of the shopping street.

Ecological quality and Energy Conservation

Modern Architecture can blend magnificently with nature.

Use of renewable and recyclable materials through energy-efficient management

The building design takes advantage of many renewable resources and assets available on the site including sunlight, shade, vegetation, breeze and water.

Use of durable and low maintenance materials

(Concrete, stone, glass, wood, fibre cement panels for siding etc)

Use of white colour or lighter on the elevations of the facades will reflect light.

Rainwater collection programme to be carried out.

Use of existing landscaping on site

Economic Performance and Compatibility

The shading provided by the plantation of plants and trees, treatment of the elevations will not only keep the streets under shade and will also keep the building cooler.

The investment put into shading or installed any passive features into the structure will payoff everyday throughout the life of the building by greatly reducing the cost of air conditioning.

The use of durable weather resistant materials keeps maintenance costs low.

Efficient use of free energy resources

For example, Wind and Light

Shading, humdification with rainwater (will help in temperature control)

Contextual and Aesthetic Impact

  • Revise Land use Planning

  • Architectural design

Trees and plants are not just meant for ornamentation but for an essential part of Urban Design.

Tree plantation is to be incorporated in Redesign for following reasons:

  • For shading the footpaths, pavements and roads

  • Treating the polluted air and maintaining its quality

Maintain a balanced relationship between Architecture and nature.

These are just the pointers to begin with urban design. I will elaborate the entire process in detail in my successive articles. This shall be of great use to all those pursuing Architecture and those who are involved in Urban Design projects.

Some interesting urban design images you might want to look:

Interesting layouts


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