With its introductory chapter, the book begins with a narrative account contrasting Delhi's epic pollution levels with its surprising greenness. It then sets out the main themes and arguments of the book: the importance of the Ridge to Delhi's history; the vibrancy and complexity of Delhi's ecological and social pasts; and the relevance of the Ridge in an age of global environmental crisis.

Part of this chapter has been made available by Yoda Press/Sage SELECT as a free PDF.

Below is an outline of the chapter sections, along with the time periods and places covered in this chapter. (N.B. Some shifting and reorganization occurred between the production of this image and the final publication of the book.)