This study analyses the internal structure of the National Capital Territory Delhi (NCTD), India.

It examines the patterns and processes of urban expansion by analysing land-use and land-cover changes in and around the city over time. By mapping neighbourhoods, the research identifies disparities at the city and ward levels with regard to health, education and infrastructural facilities.

Key findings:
  • Delhi experienced a sharp decline in population growth from 4.2% in 1991–2001 to 2.4% in 2001– 2011, although the population increased by 3.4 million in absolute numbers during 2001–2011.
  • Despite the rate of sprawl having reduced since 2011, the city’s built-up area expanded by 65% in the two decades preceding 2018.
  • Most of this expansion (75%) has been unplanned and organic – unauthorised colonies and slums have proliferated due to informal land tenure, sky rocketing real estate prices and implementation failures of the Master Plan of Delhi 2001–2021.
  • Population densities in certain parts of the city are among the highest in the world, with almost 40,000 people per km2 in East Delhi.
  • Access to basic amenities such as tap water, toilets and drainage varies considerably across the five Municipal Corporations of Delhi.
  • Inter-Municipal Corporation disparities remain high in terms of fundamental amenities, while intra-Municipal disparities are observed in terms of higher-order amenities. This includes amenities such as access to treated tap water in premises and piped sewerage, and results from unequal allocation of resources between planned and low-income settlements.