Re-imagining Indian Cities

Urban development is India in the last few decades has been a fractured endeavor that has too often posited a choice between history and technology; local particularities and globalized universality. An implicit assumption is that one must be sacrificed for the other. Mega projects of high technology have been offered as glimpses of a better future waiting just around the corner – albeit for a select population. How can cultural identity, social inclusion, and sustainability be imagined back into the future of Indian cities?

Infrastructure and Innovation in Historic Urban Areas

India has identified infrastructure as a key area of investment for improving cities. What does improved infrastructure mean? Are these singular and universal solutions? Can we re-imagine ways that infrastructural services can be improved in ways that enhance local control and identity as well as sustainability? Are there ways to think of cultural and community based solutions to infrastructure?

New Lives in Old Cities

While the physical fabric may endure from a previous era of prosperity, today, the historic core of many metropolitan centers as well as the historic parts of smaller towns are often places of poverty with inadequate services, informal economy, decrepit housing stock, and marginal access to the global technology and finance as the engines of India’s growth. New forms, economies, aspirations, uses, identities, meanings, and practices have appropriated older urban fabric and inserted themselves into it. In what ways can we see these intersections between contemporary realities and historic fabric as problems or solutions for the future?

Globalization and Community

What are some ways that globalization and technology could and should intersect with history and heritage to enhance sustainability and alleviate urban poverty. This panel aims to discuss the dilemmas, potentials, challenges of the intersections between contemporary global pressures/contexts and historic/traditional contexts as well as designs and policies that respond to them.

Livelihoods, History, and Tradition

Discussions of mega infrastructure projects are often pitted against that of community displacement or dislocation. Transitioning from livelihood strategies that are historically and culturally defined to global ones raise a variety of questions about access and representation among others. Can we view livelihood generation and community empowerment as a less direct approach to urban improvement? How can such an approach to urban development be supported through innovative design and policies?

Mumbai 2030

As Mumbai aspires to become a world financial center, examining the trajectory of Mumbai’s development and its sustainability are particularly urgent. Mumbai is also in the process of developing a new Masterplan – a perfect opportunity to discuss alternative trajectories of development. How can we think about the foregoing themes in the context of Mumbai?