Ulsoor Lake is part of a network of hundreds of reservoirs in the vibrant city of Bangalore, built by the Gowda Kings to provide the city with a sustainable and safe water supply. The 17th Century lakes were connected by stormwater channels known as Nalahs. Today, the Ulsoor Lake is one of the largest remaining in the network and is at the centre of India’s information technology capital, suffering from environmental challenges including poor water quality, degraded landscape and ecology, as well as an incredibly large amount of vehicle traffic.

Arup were brought on board to provide a holistic vision, approach and solution to enhance the public culture and environment in and around the lake, with a detailed implementation strategy and a series of short-term quick win initiatives to attract strategic long-term investments for the 18km² catchment area. 

Our strategy provides an example for future Indian projects, being at the forefront for continued, enduring and sustainable growth across the country. Our developed proposal for Ulsoor Lake supports the delivery of social, economic and environmental benefits, and is structured around key landscape initiatives designed to tackle the catchment’s challenges. Embedding green and blue infrastructure into the catchment will bring the lake back to the heart of the community and at the centre of Bangalore’s dynamic city life.

River and catchment health

Water quality is an immediate solution that needs to be considered, before tackling enhancements and the creation of public space. This requires redirecting foul water, aerating the lake, increasing capacity within the interceptor system and improving sanitation and public health infrastructure in the immediate area around the lake. This not only improves the lake’s quality and unlocks the surrounding public culture, but reduces the risk and impact of diseases and enhances the quality of life of the community. 

Implmenting landscape architecture strategies

Arup proposes the use of gateways, spaces and markers to form a distinctive welcome, linked by a network of boardwalks that are beautifully constructed and robustly detailed. These will create connections across the lake to the new public spaces, which will include unique wetland and waterfront landscapes and a bustling community hub.

Ulsoor Lake is surrounded by vast highways without dedicated pedestrian or cycle infrastructure, disconnected from the thriving urban culture around it. Our bold strategy looks to overcome these barriers using green infrastructure and the extensive Nalah network to link places at the lake with communities and public transport. 
Arup’s strategy proposes a new ‘Friends of Ulsoor Lake’ organisation chaired by the City Mayor. A community based digital forum called LakeTalk will provide an open platform for users and a series of events to profile the lake’s performance and landscape transformation, including a triathlon and community swim.