Compare and contrast of Lutyen’s Delhi relations on other cities urban planning

Lutyens was firmly rooted in the architectural traditions of ancient Rome, the Italian Renaissance, the British Georgian style, and the Classicism of continental Europe. In the city planning of Lutyen’s Delhi, Edwin Lutyen referenced the urban planning of Rome, Paris, and Washington in order to apply it to the geographical and environmental condition of New Delhi. During the conception period of the New Delhi, the first thing Lutyens did in his word is to send for plans of Washington and Paris.


The hexagonal system of wide boulevards and also the important buildings at the intersections has similar identities and features as the plan of the American capital, Washington. The town planning and architectural concepts for both New Delhi and Washington by L’Enfant bear a strikingly close resemblance. Similarities can be first traced from the first published version of Washington’s town plan and it could be equally applied to the town plan of New Delhi. For example, the distribution of the city into streets, squares are formed by the North and South lines intersecting with others running due east and west to determine the different squares and areas, which are all proportioned in magnitude to the number of avenues leading to them. Also, lines and avenues have been arranged to connect the separate and the most distant objects through the same mutual exchange of sight at the same time (Brown, 1970). From looking in the master plan of Washington, the site of the Capitol and the avenues radiates outward from it and especially the Mall has anticipated the essential elements in the plan of Lutyens’ Delhi. Thus, looking into the ground plan and elevation of the Capitol in Washington and the Rashtrapati Bhavan, they share string similarities in the spatial disposition. Both plans of the two cities, emphasized the intersection of the two main axes situated perpendicularly to each other by the placement of prominent building.

Plan of the Senate Park Commision of 1902, Washington


Washington, D.C.


New Delhi



In the urban development of Paris under the direction of Eugene Haussmann, the plan has elevated Paris to be one of the most beautiful and economically successful cities in the world. The Parisian example was clear to Lutyens, for example, the Arc de Triomphe in Paris with the twelve avenues radiating out from it was the model for the layout of the All India War Memorial (now the All India Gate) and the hexagonal street pattern around the Avenue des Champs was the model for the layout of the King’s Way (now the Raj Path) in New Delhi. Lutyens took high considerations on the model of the Champs Elysees as a display of the symbolic and formal perfection of the country. However, Lutyens also realized the restrictions of transferring the Paris model to the planning of New Delhi. In the economic aspect, during that time in Paris, the spending power was increasing which, for example, leads to the birth of large new apartment stores. On the other hand, in the Imperial Delhi, the spending power of the British colonial government was so small and the density of its population was too low in relation to Paris that there would be no shops, theatres, department store lining up the avenue other than a range of large trees. Therefore, the model of the Parisian boulevards with shops and apartments on both sides was not carried out exactly in Lutyens Delhi.


The Arc de Triomphe, Paris


Hexagonal street pattern around the Avenue des Champs Elysees


Layout of the All India War Memorial and King Ways




1. Brown, J. Lutyens and the Edwardians, London 1996.

2. Irving, R.G. Indian Summer, Lutyens, Baker and Imperial Delhi, New Haven, London 1981.

3. Volwahsen, A. Imperial Delhi: The British Capital of the Indian Empire, Prestel, London 2002.

1 Comment on “Compare and contrast of Lutyen’s Delhi relations on other cities urban planning

  1. It is an intriguing approach to compare international cities in relation to Lutyen’s Delhi urban planning strategies. You have pointed out critical points on how both Washington and Paris have been influential on the new planning of Delhi in terms of the spatial disposition where both cities emphasise the intersection of the two main axis and the latter in adopting the layout of Champs Elysees to New Delhi’s urban planning. I have also read another post of your group analysing the road network. It would be also interesting to compare how Lutyen is influenced by other cities in their strategies of accommodating the influx of vehicles and increasing the flexibility in mobility.

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