Lounge puts together a list of neighbourhoods with a distinct cultural vibe in cities across India that have quietly grown over the past few years into fun, buzzy public spaces.
What makes a neighbourhood attractive? As we were planning this cover story on Indian neighbourhoods , we realised there are many ways to define “attractive”—is it about good housing, good roads, hospitals and schools, or a place that offers opportunities for residents to enhance their social and creative lives? We realised bundling all these was not the best way to go about identifying fun places to live and work in—residential neighbourhoods that fulfil the first set of needs often don’t offer the second (though the twain do sometimes meet). We also wanted to look beyond the known cool neighbourhoods—Mumbai’s Bandra, Delhi’s Mehrauli or Bengaluru’s Indiranagar, for instance. Hence, the search for the new cool neighbourhoods began—localities in Indian cities that have seen impressive growth over the past few years in terms of becoming hubs of social activity, usually marked by an explosion of cafés, restaurants, pubs and bars; attractive spaces for culture to thrive in, in the form of theatres, performance spaces and art galleries; and spaces that support a diverse community life and are cosmopolitan and inclusive. Reaching out to our writers across India and a network of independent writers who keenly watch urban life in India, we prepared this (very much non-objective) list of 14 Indian neighbourhoods, some from cities that haven’t been on “cool” lists before but have quietly developed public spaces that are not just buzzy and hip but fulfil that innate human need to connect and socialise.