Older historic cities witness layers of history embedded within their built form, constantly managing the fine balance of sustaining and renewing urban eco systems (infrastructure and built form), and retaining ties with history through conservation of tangible and intangible heritage. Numerous historic cities across the world have acknowledged the importance of preserving heritage and have seamlessly integrated this movement into the economic mainstream by re-adapting the built heritage structures for various urban purposes such as tourism, housing, innovation based industries, retail and education.
Ratish Nanda, a noted conservation Architect, has been recognized as “the custodian of ruins”. Best known for spearheading the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) conservation project of Humayun’s Tomb New Delhi, Nanda has devoted his professional tenure to the extensive mapping and restoration of valuable and endangered heritage structures in India and abroad, including the Bagh-e-Babur in Kabul. Since 2007, Nanda has been pioneering the Urban Renewal Initiative project in central Delhi’s historic Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti. Besides restoring dozens of medieval-era monuments in the area, AKTC’s venture aims to lift the living standards of neighbourhoods around the monuments. Ratish Nanda has been associated with INTACH, Delhi Chapter and has been a member of the Delhi Urban Arts Commission (DUAC) (2008–11). He was awarded the Eisenhower Fellowship in 2007.