"Asia and Africa today"
- is a scientificl monthly journal (in Russian)
of the Russian Academy of Sciences
Included in Russian Science Citation Index on
WoS platform, and EBSCO Publishing.
ISSN 0321-5075
Published since July 1957.

"Asia and Africa today" № 3 2020




Svetlana E. SIDOROVA, PhD (History), Senior Research Fellow, Center for Indian Studies, Institute of Oriental Studies of Russian Academy ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )


    The paper focuses on the problems of sidewalks in Indian urban space considered through the lens of their relations with the “neighbors” — highways and facades of the buildings. The stripe of pave between them intended for the transit of pedestrians is aggressively claimed by both sides. Thin footpaths (if any) and lack of dividers between pedestrians and fast moving cars visually demonstrate priority given to highways in Indian cities. Spatial discrimination of the pedestrians makes it totally uncomfortable and unsafe for those using sidewalks.

    At the same time Indian sidewalks are under strong pressure from commercial activity, which instead of being located behind the facades of the buildings occupy transit zones intended for walking. These zones are completely blocked by parked cars and motorbikes, road signs, constructions, trees, small temples, statues, sleeping people, slums, cows, dogs,  as well as innumerable vendors and stalls selling everything that somebody can imagine.

    Neglecting the interests of the moving people could be ascribed to specific perception of urban environment in India characterized by intolerance to the idea of emptiness when every empty space tends to be seen as available for either transport, business purposes or other stationary activity. As a result sidewalk turns into the place of amobility and the pedestrian — into a cast-off and marginalized figure in the street.

    Based on Jeff Speck’s theory of walkability and other modern urban concepts the article analyses the specifics of Indian urban space planning that mostly runs contrary to the instincts of developed-world urbanists.

Keywords: India, new urbanism, sidewalk, walkability, driveway, facades
Pages 42-47