2023 BEST


Revitalisation of Sikanderpur Forest, Gurgaon
by Asia Architecture and Design Awards


Location: Gurgaon, India

Company: JRA Design

Designer/Architect: Kavita Jain

Manufacturer: JRA Design

Client: Ms Latika Thukral, I am Gurgaon

In a remarkable effort to restore and rejuvenate the deteriorated Sikanderpur Forest in Gurgaon, a comprehensive revitalization project has successfully transformed an abandoned mining site into a thriving green oasis. Spanning approximately 160 acres within the city, the forest was plagued by waste construction material and garbage, leading to its degradation over time.

The landscape intervention commenced with a focus on water management at the city level, addressing the issue of road flooding during the rainy season. Stormwater was intercepted from the roads and directed to low-lying areas of the forest, creating a series of retention ponds. This innovative approach not only reduced stormwater runoff and prevented flooding but also replenished the depleting groundwater levels and revived the forest ecosystem.

The vision behind the project was to enable citizens to develop an appreciation and awareness of natural landscapes while demonstrating place-making through the integration of green infrastructure principles that can be replicated at a neighborhood level. Naturalistic pathways, minimally intervened and integrated with existing contours, were created throughout the forest, offering visitors an immersive experience. Boulders sourced from the site were strategically interspersed along the pathways, providing naturalistic seating nooks.

One of the key aspects of the project was the utilization of locally available materials and discarded construction debris. Stones from the forest itself, which had previously been an abandoned stone quarry, were repurposed for various elements, including seating areas and foundations. Additionally, recycled jute bags, originally used for transporting potatoes and onions, were filled with soil to mitigate soil erosion along slopes and line the edges of retention ponds.

The impact of the revitalization efforts has been significant. The forest has proved successful in reducing stormwater runoff, preventing road flooding, and reducing the burden on the city's infrastructure. Groundwater recharge has been facilitated, and the forest ecosystem is experiencing a remarkable increase in biodiversity, with resident bluebucks, birds, butterflies, insects, and amphibians thriving in their natural habitat.

Moreover, the project has served as a deterrent to unauthorized construction and collaborations between authorities and land mafias aiming to convert the degraded forest into concrete jungles. By cleaning up the site and advocating for civic sense and environmental awareness, the revitalization initiative has not only restored the green cover but also created a waste collection center for the proper disposal of plastics and other disposables.

The successful integration of bio-swales has further contributed to soil erosion reduction during the rainy season. The project's principles of stormwater management and green infrastructure can be replicated at a neighborhood level, paving the way for a more sustainable and climate-resilient community.

The revitalization of Sikanderpur Forest stands as a testament to the power of thoughtful design and community-driven initiatives. It offers a blueprint for transforming degraded landscapes into vibrant, ecologically sensitive spaces that enhance the well-being of residents and promote a stronger connection to nature. As Gurgaon's residents embrace this uplifting green lung amidst the concrete jungle, it is hoped that they will also be inspired to protect and preserve other ecologically sensitive areas in the city.

Take a virtual journey into the enchanting world of project Revitalisation of Sikanderpur Forest, Gurgaon: