Chandigarh Master Plan

Chandigarh Master Plan by Le Corbusier

Chandigarh master plan was made by Le Corbusier. He conceived the Chandigarh Master Plan as analogous to human body, with a clearly defined head (the Capitol Complex, Sector 1), heart (the City Centre Sector-17), lungs (the leisure valley, innumerable open spaces and sector greens), the intellect (the cultural and educational institutions), the circulatory system (the network of roads, the 7Vs) and the viscera (the Industrial Area). The concept of the city is based on four major functions: living, working, care of the body and spirit and circulation. Residential sectors constitute the living part whereas the Capitol Complex, City Centre, Educational Zone (Post Graduate Institute, Punjab Engineering College, Punjab University) and the Industrial Area constitute the working part. The Leisure Valley, Gardens, Sector Greens and Open Courtyards etc. are for the care of body and spirit. The circulation system comprises of 7 different types of roads known as 7Vs. Later on, a pathway for cyclists called V8 was added to this circulation system. The basis of Le Corbusier’s master plan is a gridiron pattern of V3 roads (fast moving traffic)intersecting at half a mile across and three quarters of a mile up the plan, enclosing areas known as ‘sectors’. The plan area stretches between two river beds defining its natural boundaries on both sides.

Chandigarh is the most significant Urban Planning in India in the 20th century. Even today it is one of the well planned cities in India. It is one of the many Urban Planning works by Le Corbusier that has been executed. It has become a symbol of planned Urbanism. Planning of Chandigarh was actually an experiment in Modern civic design.

Most of the buildings are cubical shaped and subdivided geometrically with significance of proportion, scale and detail. The Chandigarh city is planned to human scale.

  • Head-Capitol (Place of Power) (Sector 1)
  • Heart-The City Center (Sector 17)
  • Stomach-The Commercial Area
  • Arms-University and Industrial Zone
  • Lungs-Leisure Valley & Open Spaces
  • Arteries-Network of Roads, the 7Vs

Facts Of Chandigarh

  1. Area= 114 sq km
  2. Population= 10.55 lakhs (2011 census) 97.25% people live in Urban Regions.
  3. Density= 7,900


A sector is a container of family life which is 24 solar hours of day and night. Each sector is 800 meters by 1200 meters which are enclosed by roads allocated to fast mechanized transport and sealed to direct access from the houses. The considered population of the inhabitants ranged from 5,000 to 20,000 for 30 Sectors in the city.


The roads of the city were classified in seven categories of 7 Vs system.

  • V-1 Fast roads connecting Chandigarh to various other towns
  • V-2 Arterial roads
  • V-3 Fast vehicular roads
  • V-4 Free flowing shopping streets
  • V-5 Sector circulation roads
  • V-6 Access roads to houses
  • V-7 Footpaths and cycle tracks


The residential structures were ruled by a system known as ‘frame control’ which was created by the municipal administration to control their facades. This had fixed the building lines, height and the use of building materials. Further, a few definite standard sizes of doors and windows were specified. The idea was to ensure that the view from the street, which belonged to the community, was of the same visual order and discipline to maintain uniformity and ambiance.

Commercial Buildings

All the buildings located in the City Centre including the commercial or institutional buildings which are located along V-2 roads were under the control of the Municipal administration. The system of the City Centre was based on a grid system. A fixed 5.26 meters shuttering pattern on concrete and a system of glazing or screen walls behind the line of columns had to be constructed. The exterior wall or façade could only be built in certain variations of architectural composition which are permitted.

Advantages/ Pros

  • Defining a new system for Urban Planning in India.
  • Introducing the system of development controls to promote Urban Design and zoning.
  • Introducing the concept of Master Plan for planned developments.
  • Sectoral planning for the city.
  • 7Vs strategy for connectivity. The connectivity is well defined and each road has separate pedestrian, bicycle and vehicular lanes which ensures safety.
  • Proving good urbanism increases economy.
  • Promoting the concept of Garden city in Planning.
  • Establishing the role, importance and recognition of Planners and Architects in urban planning and in the social context.
  • The Master Plan is a well-planned and well-executed which assures the human needs including social and physical infrastructure.
  • Mixed use in buildings contribute greater flexibility and efficient use of resources. For example, commercial use in ground floor and residential use in upper floors can protect the commercial use from Rain and sun as a covered walkway for the customers.
  • Location and topography is also an advantage for the city.


  • The plan is a grid iron pattern, the roads and the buildings look similar due to the strict façade guidelines, this creates confusion for people as all the streets look alike.
  • The city does not accommodate the lower income group.
  • Chandigarh planning and development has been seen in isolation compared to the development of its periphery and region.
  • Leaving low scope for further development of the city, as the population increases usually development and expansion is seen but in Chandigarh it becomes a problem.
  • Development of slums inside the city.
  • The Brutal concrete gives a Rough look.

Major Problems In Chandigarh In Recent Years

  • Enormous Population growth in and adjoining areas of the city.
  • Un-orderly distribution of population in different sectors of the city.
  • Need to de-congest the old city area.
  • Limited connectivity and circulation system within the city.
  • Regular Blockage in sewer system.
  • Lowering of the water Table.
  • Improper heritage and ecological conservation.
  • Problem of Parking in major areas.

Chandigarh Master Plan 2031

The Master Plan of UT Chandigarh covers an area of approximately 114 sq km. This includes the nearly fully developed 70 sq km of the area planned by Le Corbusier and his team and the 44 sq km of its 3% share of the 16 km periphery controlled area. The 44 sq km periphery area of Chandigarh is regulated by the Punjab New Periphery Control Act, 1952. This Master Plan was an attempt to provide a comprehensive and holistic vision document. (26 SQ KM area of Sukhna wildlife sanctuary is not included in the CMP 2031.)

Physical Setting And Planning Concepts

The Union Territory of Chandigarh is located near the Shivalik Range foothills. The climate is cold dry winter, hot summer and sub-tropical monsoon. Average annual rainfall is between 700-1200 mm and the temperature differs between 1 ͦ C to 45 ͦ C.

A holistic approach was adopted for the planning of Chandigarh. This, combined with the farsightedness, vision and enthusiasm of the leaders, have contributed to the making of Chandigarh a social organism and a work of art. These interactive interdependent disciplines are planning, urban design, landscaping, architecture and art.

  • The Working Areas:  The Capitol Complex Sector 17, commercial belts along Jan Marg, Madhya Marg, Himalaya Marg, Udyog Path and Dakshin Marg.
  • Living Areas: The Sectors
  • Care of body and spirit: Leisure Valley, Sukhna Lake, parks, green belts, cultural belts and the educational belts
  • Circulation: the 7v network of roads on a modular grid iron pattern.

Salient Features Of The Chandigarh Plan

  • The originally planned population of one sector varied between 3000 and 20,000 depending upon the plot size, the area’s topography, and other urban- design considerations.
  • The city is Planned into a cellular system of sectors based on the concept of a neighborhood unit.
  • Each sector (except sectors 1 to 6, 12, 14, 17, and 26) have a size of 800m x 1200m which was determined on the parameter of providing all amenities i.e. shops, schools, health centers and places of recreation and worship within a 10-minute walking distance of the residents.
  • Every sector is introvert in character and only permits four vehicular entries into its interior to provide a calm, undisturbed and peaceful environment which is conducive to the enrichment of life
  1. Sector size – 800m x 1200 m determined by maximum of a 10-minute walk from various facilities.
  2. Introvert planning with sealing walls along main roads so that there are no disturbances by fast vehicular traffic outside.
  3. Prominence on family life and community living
  4. Schools along green belts safe for children, dispensaries, shopping, community centers, centrally located at a distance of 10 minutes’ walk and bus stops on main road within walking distance.
  5. Parks within 300m
  6. Winding profile of the V4/V5 to enable slow carriageways Comfortable vehicular and pedestrian access right to the doorstep of the house Inter-sectoral connectivity along NS green belts

Concepts Used In The Master Plan

Green City: Planned as a Green City with abundant open spaces, ensuring that every dwelling has its adequate share of three elements of Sun, Space and rich greens. Location of green belt was in north south direction to link all sectors with the Shivalik range of hills and mountains.

Connectivity Pattern 7vs: A well-defined hierarchy of Circulation based on Le Corbusier’s V7s road-system designed to lead traffic into the city and to distribute it right until the dwelling unit. Marg refers to the important avenues (V2), while Paths were referred to less important streets (V3).

Low-Rise Development: The city is planned as a low-rise, it has developed on these stated principles and, even after sixty years of its inception it still retains the original concept to a very large extent.

Hierarchical Distribution Of Population: Hierarchical distribution of population with the density lowest in the northern part of the city and gradually increasing towards the southern part.

Pure Landuse Planning: While detailing out the land-use distribution, the major principle adopted in the Master Plan was to allocate different areas for living, working, trade and commerce, industry etc. Accordingly, the sectors were designated for residential, commercial & industrial and institutional uses.

Order In The Plan: Underlying concept of order is reflected in the entire plan and in its various components, there is a peculiar order in the hierarchy of its various land uses and their designated location which include hierarchy of circulation system, commercial center, health facilities, educational facilities, open spaces, living units, infrastructural services, and extent and nature of architectural control.


During the last 6 decades (1951-2011), Chandigarh has witnessed a population increase of more than forty-four times with the absolute population increasing from 24,261 in 1951 to 10,54,686 in 2011. As per the census of 2011, 10,25,682 (97.25%) of its population was urban and 29,004 (2.75%) was rural as compared to 82.80% urban and 17.20% rural in the year 1961


Provision of quality housing was one of the main objectives, offering all amenities to the poorest of the poor to lead a dignified life. Subsidized rental public housing for government employees of all categories was built by the government in the early years.

Government Housing: Government housing in the city was initially divided into 13 categories ranging from house for the Chief Minister to the lowest paid class-IV employee.

Institutional Housing: Institutional housing has been built by parastatal and/or autonomous bodies such as Panjab University, PGI, IMTACH, CSIO, defense establishments and Survey of India, for their employees.

Chandigarh Housing Board: CHB builds affordable, reasonably priced dwelling units for different socio- economic categories of the city’s residents. Chandigarh Housing Board has also constructed houses for the poor under schemes like Valmiki Ambedkar Awas Yojna (VAMBAY) and more recently under Jawahar Lal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM).

Co-Op Housing Societies: In the southern sectors, including the ones in Phase III of the city are being developed as a high density area. Many Co-operative Housing Societies and Chandigarh Housing Board have been allotted land in these sectors for construction of HIG, MIG, LIG and EWS apartments.

Private Housing: These account for over two- thirds of the total area allocated for private residential plots in the original master plan.

Improvisation of Housing Stock Within Chandigarh Subsequent to the Original Plan: Additional residential sectors in the III phase, Residential housing schemes in Manimajra, Modern Housing Complex, Phase-I and II, Modern Housing Complex Phase-III, Housing by Army Welfare Housing Organization, Milkmen Colony, Dhanas and Government housing.

Prominent Housing Proposals

  • Ensured provision of housing for EWS.
  • Improvisation of infrastructure in relation to population.
  • Judicious use of the limited land.
  • Mixed land-use development along the Vikas Marg area.
  • Re-Utilization of additional institutional pockets in the city.
  • Additional FAR and ground coverage for private housing.
  • Proposals for making Chandigarh a ‘slum free’ city.
  • New housing for the Urban Poor.


  • Urban renewal and Street-Scaping.
  • Review of architectural controls to holistically address genuine modern day.
  • Ensure safe and proper access to upper floors of commercial buildings: barrier free environment, fire safety, invigorating the sector with incidental shopping.
  • Better connectivity with the shopping centers of the neighboring towns.
  • Redevelopment of space usage in sector 17 along Jan Marg.
  • Conversion of cinema halls into multiplexes.
  • Nehru center for performing arts and plaza, sub city center sector – 34.
  • Better integration of weekly Mandis and the surrounding areas.
  • Mixed use development.

Social Infrastructure

  • Upgrading schools, Universities, Dispensaries, Polyclinics and Hospitals.
  • Developing a cultural hub in sector 42 and Setting up of additional infrastructure in existing Cultural Centers.
  • Upgrading Libraries, Auditoriums, Grounds/Places for Exhibitions. Recommendation Permanent Exhibition Centre.
  • Community centers, in every 4-5 sectors one Rain Baseras or Night shelters should be constructed for people in need. The existing night shelters shall be maintained and not diverted to other uses.
  • Juvenile Home, Vocational Training & Production Centre, Creches, Anganwadi Centers, Senior Citizen Home, Hydrotherapy Pool-Activity Centre, Drug de-addiction center to be well maintained.
  • Additional police stations proposed.
  • Various recommendations on Sports Facilities.

Physical Infrastructure

  • Solar Energy: Chandigarh to be developed as a Solar City.
  • Water supply: Provision of separate systems for sewage and sludge treatment to ease the reuse of sludge water for gardening and washing purposes, and replacement of old flush toilets and faucets with new low-flush and water efficient taps, will be phased in through rebates in water bills and then would be made mandatory.
  • Drainage: Implementation of rain water harvesting and SUDS Source control and infiltration instruments such as green roofs, permeable paving, infiltration trenches, infiltration basins in sites less than 10,000 sqm. area.

Open Spaces And Landscaping Of Chandigarh

Chandigarh – the ‘Green City’. There are various parks, lakes, leisure valleys and heritage conservation sites. There aw well is hierarchy of open spaces in Chandigarh. To maintain it following proposals were given:

  • Open spaces are declared as inviolable land-use.
  • Increase the qualitative and quantitative green of the city through sensitive interventions.
  • Develop an open space system of pedestrian greenways and nature walking systems.
  • Proposed twelve longitudinal Green Corridors.
  • Designated eco-sensitive areas around the Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary and the Patiala-ki-Rao, Sukhna Choe.
  • Revitalization of small parks in the city.

Traffic And Transportation

Ribbon Development, improving connectivity with Chandigarh airport upgraded to an international airport, Comprehensive mobility plan for Chandigarh Urban Complex (CUC), Integrated Multimodal Mass Transport, new BRTS and MRTS corridors, Augmentation and improvement in city bus system, new green corridors, new Pedestrian and Cycle tracks.

Apart from the above, Masterplan as well includes detailed Norms for Development control regulations, Disaster management plan and Heritage listing and grading. The following map is the proposed landuse map proposed in Chandigarh Masterplan


Chandigarh Master Plan

Now, the department of urban planning lays down the controls for the sectors and buildings in Chandigarh. The department consists of two wings: Architecture wing and Town Planning wing. The Architecture Wing deals with the designing of Govt. buildings, Standard designs, architectural and frame control etc. whereas the Town Planning Wing prepares scheme for the implementation of Master Plan, Planning of new areas/Sectors, Zoning Plans, besides identifying land use zones. The Department also deals with zoning regulations and architectural control and standard design to the public on payment basis.

For more information about Chandigarh Master Plan check official website of Chandigarh 


Siri Vydadi
Member of NOSPlan
School of Planning and Architecture, Vijaywada