Transforming (Urban) India—bit by bit
The State of Cities – #CityConversations with Dr Soumyadip Chattopadhyay on Transforming (Urban) India—bit by bit by Prof Jagan Shah.
The State of Cities – #CityConversations with Dr Soumyadip Chattopadhyay
Prof Jagan Shah, Senior Infrastructure Adviser, Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, British High Commission, New Delhi
Jagan Shah is Senior Infrastructure Adviser in the UK government’s Department for International Development. Shah’s body of work bridges across design, planning, innovation, organisational development and capacity building. It is equally informed by his professional training as an architect in New Delhi and his postgraduate studies in architectural history and theory at the University of Cincinnati and Columbia University, allowing him to situate his commitment to participative governance, integrated planning, green transportation, heritage revitalisation and new livelihoods within a political economy context.
During the decade prior to joining DFID, Shah steered the organisational transformation at the National Institute of Urban Affairs, the premier urban think-tank of the Government of India (2013-19), and the transition of the Sushant School of Art & Architecture (2010-12), one of India’s most reputed private institutes, into the anchor institution for the newly founded Ansal University. From 2007-2010, he successfully incubated an in-house urban development unit for a leading Indian business group. He served as Visiting Faculty in the School of Planning & Architecture during 1998-2006.
Shah’s work as an urban expert includes a number of nationally significant and pioneering initiatives such as the Heritage Plan for Jaipur (2004-6), plans for station-areas for the Regional Rapid Transit System between Delhi-Meerut and Delhi-Panipat (2009-12), the Regional Plan 2021 for the National Capital Region, the Master Plan for Delhi (2006-7 and 2018-19), the National Urban Policy framework (2018) and the policy and implementation of India’s Smart Cities Mission.
Shah’s writings include two books, Contemporary Indian Architecture (2008) and Building Beyond Borders (1995) co-authored with Satish Grover, and a significant corpus of articles on architecture and urbanism. He has been a member of the Board of Trustees of Clean Air Asia since 2016.
Dr Soumyadip Chattopadhyay, Associate Professor, Visva-Bharati, Santiniketan; Senior Fellow, IMPRI
About the Talk – Transforming (Urban) India—bit by bit
Shah will describe key challenges for sustaining urbanization in India in the context of the overwhelming urban-rural integration that is caused by transportation, e-commerce and migration, and the rising costs of development and environmental management. Within a national perspective that combines the learning from a few past inquiries at that scale, he proposes an approach that combines the transformative power of India’s existing cities as deeply rooted in urban-rural networks. Transforming (urban) India cannot really be done ‘bit by bit’. It must be accompanied with swift reforms in governance, with greater role for finance and planning and effective decentralization managed through e-governance.
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