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Cities Under Flyovers

In Hyderabad is our country’s longest flyover and it was inaugurated in the year 2009. The flyover connects Mehdipatnam to Aramghar junction on NH-7 leading to Rajiv Gandhi International Airport at Shamshabad and is 11.6 Km long. For the purpose of this Blog, we are examining the recyclability of the urban space under flyovers in relation to SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities.

We propose to repurpose old buses and trucks to provide affordable housing for people who make temporary shelters under flyovers. We have explored case studies done in South East Asia regarding opportunities in left over spaces and creating collaborative community spaces. Our attempt is to make the unused place under flyover usable so that we can solve the problem of citizens finding unsafe temporary (or permanent) housing space under flyovers by creating affordable housing from scrapped vehicles, jogging tracks or green belts under a flyover, cafes, parks, amphitheatres or market spaces.



We are not only trying to transform the spaces under the flyovers into a community space by redesigning certain aspects, but are also trying to address and resolve the problem of homeless civilians finding unsafe stay options under these flyovers. We want to explore constructing affordable houses by recycling old buses or other large vehicles which can be created into a colony under the flyover, with a public toilet on the other end. The space should not be too over packed and hence the capping can be kept to a minimum. The ownership of these temporary housing may be with the municipality who can rent it out on a cyclic schedule to maintain non dependency and some idea of justness. There can also be a park made of up-cycled Tyre and other waste material.

Possible Potential of space under Flyover

  1. Used by separate sets of people at different points of time
  2. Informal public space
  3. Can be made a safer space by designing light properly
  4. Can be used for recurring community events like Movie screenings, concerts, political gatherings, evening strolls.
  5. Is sheltered from rain and direct sunlight
  6. Free from land dispute and estate politics
  7. Highly Visible spaces
  8. Ample parking space, which can incorporate park areas and community spaces with
  9. Green zones where trees can be planted
  10. Already used as informal spaces for shelter and market set up

After scoping the current use of the area under the flyover, we found that there are areas where homeless people have created temporary spaces of habitation that can be transformed into permanent affordable housing by re-puposing old buses and trucks as living quarters. For this, we propose transforming the discarded vehicles into habitable spaces with the inclusion of community spaces like a park made of recycled tyres etc. This approach would help create visibility of upcycled goods as well serve the higher purpose of equity for all, irrespective of economic differences. This idea seems fit especially for the juncture where the flyover diverges into four separate roads through a butterfly pattern. There is a lot of ground that can also be used for gardening or small scale farming.

The other aspect that scoping brought to the front was using arts as a tool for community engagement. Given the length of the flyover, there are many areas where it automatically serves as a community spot where people gather in evenings. Extending this invitation to create safe spaces for all by

  • increasing the sources of light by installing street lamps or flood lights

  • inculcating interactional games in the very architecture of the space like creating hopscotch game patterns with tiles on the flooring, wind chime installations etc.

  • having public facilities like toilets and benches

  • Creating a green patch by planting trees or potted plants. This will also help reduce the carbon emission of the hundreds of vehicles that use the flyover daily.

  • Parks with swings made of recycled tyres and benches made of plastic bricks

  • An amphitheatre for cultural events like movie nights, music concerts (as the sound resonance under a flyover is apt for this) and other events.

  • Painting the flyover pillars with informational graffiti or indigenous art of the region to serve the purpose of beautification as well as awareness.

  • As the space is already used for informal market set up, organised structures such as kiosks and push carts can be accommodated for better livelihood prospects



The aim of this project is to brainstorm creative ideas of re-purposing the space under a flyover to create an inclusive recluse within the otherwise exclusive urban planning of a city. The case studies we have read pertain to the Asian subcontinent for better context but any idea that can transform this underutilized land to serve the purpose of the SDGs is most welcome.

If you have more ideas or examples to share with us, please comment and post examples of other ways that the ‘City under the Flyover’ can be made more equitable, safe and inviting.

Reading list and Reference Websites:

  1. Playing Under The Fly Over: A Collaborative Creative Community in Bandung, “Reflections on Creativity: Public Engagement and The Making of Place”, Arte-Polis 5, 8-9 August 2014

    2. Opportunity in Leftover Spaces: Activities under the flyovers of Kuala Lumpur, ASIA Pacific International Conference on Environment-Behaviour Studies, 2012

    3. Coimbatore to convert space under flyover into exclusive cafes, office spaces and parks

    4. Case Study from Egypt-

    5. Recycling urban spaces 15 Under-flyover projects around the world

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