15-26 Novembre 2021

Hyderabad Urban Trail

Suburban Walks



Workshop + Walks + Exhibition

The idea

Hyderabad Urban Trail is an artistic and participative project about the prefiguration of a future urban and suburban trail in Hyderabad. The project questions the practice of walking and the place of pedestrians in Hyderabad by inviting local and visiting walkers to discover the city through the prism of a trail crossing and linking its different parts, creating a contemporary narrative of the city whilst serving as a physical and symbolic link throughout it.

The project is based on the idea that the best way to discover a city is by walking through its landscapes and neighbourhoods and interacting with its inhabitants. It promotes the implementation of a trail connecting different parts of the city whilst shedding a new light on them, in order to generate a network of public spaces with more pedestrian-friendly and collective practices.


The approach

Initially, a set of places in and around the city step was identified and an elementary path was was laid out to connect them. The focus was put on lesser-known parts of the city such as abandoned and undeveloped areas, away from the centre and the major heritage sites.

The task of prefiguring the trails was carried out at a distance, knowing that each proposed route would be later tested by the implementation of a collective walk. Multiple trails were designed and discussed during online meetings with the local partners (institutions, authorities, non-profits, professionals, inhabitants) leading to the selection of four trails.

The first test walk took place in outskirts of Hyderabad and as anticipated, it encountered a number of physical barriers that the walkers worked to get around with the help of local inhabitants. Alternate paths were immediately mapped and the trail updated. The walkers were able to experience places where geology, hydrography and flora came together to create unique natural settings. The most stunning places appeared to have been preserved because they were hidden or shut off from urbanised areas. Others had become the receptacle for household or industrial waste or were been turned into building sites, their gigantic rocks shattered to give way to new developments. The walkers also came across the remains of cultural landscapes that beared witness to ancestral agropastoral systems, that were disappearing under the blows of bulldozers that paved the way for urbanisation.

Along the way, the walkers came to consider the encountered barriers and obstacles as prompts to find alternate paths. In the process, the walk revealed its true nature, that of a collective urban drift that enabled the walkers to make unexpected and fortuitous discoveries, thus experiencing and cultivating the art of serendipity.


The main lessons learned

This experience revealed that Hyderabad is a very spectacular city, with an incredible potential for walking. It offers the opportunity to create a metropolitan trail linking all the emblematic places located in its outskirts, from the most known to the most hidden. Created by nature or shaped by man, these places made up from lakes, rocks, neighbourhoods and local communities, hold the traces of their evolution through time, making them constituent elements of Hyderabad’s history and identity.

The process of creating Metropolitan Trail has the potential to provide the space for a constructive dialogue with local communities, professionals and relevant authorities in order to imagine news approaches to city planning which would have at heart, the preservation and enhancement of this unrecognized and yet unvaluable heritage.

Finally, the future Hyderabad Metropolitan Trail could join the International Metropolitan Trails Organisation, making Hyderabad the first city in Asia to make this decisive step towards a walk-friendly and therefore an even more attractive metropolis at national and international levels.

Film by Curious Cheets Productions

Suburban Walks

An extraordinary journey
into the ordinariness of our contemporary cities


> Discover the Common Lands Trail of Greater Bordeaux

A dive into the urban interstices

The Suburban Walks are exploratory walks through the outskirts of the cities. They cross and connect hybrid and fragmented landscapes, composed of housing estates, social housing complexes, old towns, expressways, industrial and commercial areas, car parks and electricity pylons, but also unexpected parks and gardens, forgotten forests, old paths and especially uncountable abandoned spaces where wild nature develops, out of sight. This diffuse and involuntary nature represents a tremendous potential for escape and resourcing, a kind of exoticism of proximity.

The suburbs, a land of adventure and exploration

The suburban area has developed to respond effectively to our modern needs for housing, travel, consumption and production.

The resulting chaotic urbanism is often considered useful but uninteresting, and above all devoid of the qualities that make up the city and the pleasures it provides.

However, the urban outskirts have richness to reveal, resources that could change our viewpoint and practices, and build a sense of suburbanity : a huge territory, a great diversity of landscapes, an unsuspected architectural heritage…

Could we not, from this point of view, consider the suburban area as a land of adventure and exploration, like the great natural spaces ? And imagine hiking in the outskirts as we do in the mountains or in the countryside ?

The suburbs offer a new hiking experience. The hybrid and eclectic nature of the territories crossed, where places, atmospheres and sounds follow one another like a continuous zapping, constantly stimulates our senses and gives the walk a new dynamic.


The origin of the project

In 1999, Yvan Detraz, then an architecture student and co-founder of Bruit du frigo, led a 3-month, 1000 km walking expedition through the Bordeaux suburbs to map neglected spaces and paths. Before Google map and with the help of a simple geographical map, this mission sought to reveal the potential for escape from the Bordeaux suburbs and to develop a walking culture. (see “Zone sweet zone”).

It is from this founding experience that the concepts of the Suburban Walk and the Suburban Refuge were born.

If in 1999, nobody imagined hiking in the middle of the housing estates or along the ring road, today more and more curious people want to discover their city differently by venturing off the beaten track.

The collective suburban walks that we organise around Bordeaux bring together a large and eclectic public : families, students, walking clubs, seniors… The Suburban Shelters, which offer a unique immersive experience, are also very successful.

It is to respond to this search for exoticism of proximity and to share our knowledge of the territory and its hidden treasures that we have created the Common Land Trail.


The Metropolitan Trails Network

The Common Lands Trail of Bordeaux is a member of the Metropolitan Trails Network, created in 2017 in Marseille, on the occasion of the exhibition about the Metropolitan Trails organized at the Mucem Museum (as part of the permanent exhibition “Connectivities”).

This national network (Paris, Marseille, Bordeaux, Avignon) was created as a continuation of the international Metropolitan Trails network (Milan, London, Cologne, Istanbul, New York…) initiated and piloted by Baptiste Lanaspeze (editor – Editions Wildproject) and Paul-Hervé Lavessière (Geographer).

The first National Assises of the Metropolitan Trails were organised on 8 November 2018 at the Mucem in Marseille.


” The Metropolitan Trails are public spaces of a new kind. Transport infrastructures, tourist facilities, off-wall cultural centres, citizen platforms, training areas… they allow us to rediscover our living spaces and to foster the emergence of a common culture.
Urban hiking is a social phenomenon, a deep-rooted movement. Coming from the worlds of art and planning, it now interests a large public.
Metropolitan trails are an international innovation, born in France. »

Extract from the website : National Network of Metropolitan Trails


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At the crossroads of art, territories and populations, our approach aims to promote the transition to sustainable, shared and welcoming cities, by proposing alternative ways of imagining and building our living environment and by exploring new forms of public space.