Breathing new life into the legacy of past civilisations calls for a creativity, imagination, tolerance, understanding, and wisdom well beyond the ordinary. The Aga Khan Historic Cities Programme (AKHCP), established in 1992, implements conservation, urban revitalization and area development projects in historically significant sites of the Islamic world undertaking the restoration and rehabilitation of historic structures and public spaces in ways that spur social, economic and cultural development. Its projects seek to mobilize local potential and resources in order to ensure their eventual self-sustainability through operational income, human resource development and institutional management capabilities. Through this integrated approach, the Programme seeks to demonstrate that strengthening cultural identity can go hand in hand with socio-economic progress.
Going beyond mere restoration of monuments, the Programme engages in activities related to adaptive re-use, contextual urban planning and the improvement of housing, infrastructure and public spaces. It carries out related socio-economic development initiatives directed at upgrading local living conditions and improving quality of life.
Investments in single project locations or regions are coordinated with other Aga Khan Development Network programmes so that they reinforce each other as they grow together into a critical mass for positive change. In all project locations, community participation and training of local professionals are essential components.
A 90-minute documentary feature on the recent cultural, social and economic rehabilitation initiatives in the major capital urban centres of Kabul, Lahore and Delhi that are geared towards improving the quality of life of their citizens, deteriorated as it has been by years of war, poverty and serious social imbalances. The film portrays these three big cities within their recent historical context and shared past that connected them for three hundred years during the Mughal Empire, before colonial rule. The film explores each of their historical urban centres, where various cultural, social and economic transformative initiatives exerting a major impact on their inhabitants have been implemented.
For convenience, the film has been separated into three parts: Kabul, Lahore, and Delhi.