Prof. Chetan Vaidya (NIUA Director), Dr. Ramachandran (Ministry of Urban Development) and Dr. Nitin Desai (NIUA President) (and Shibu Raman) launch the recently published book “World Cities and Urban Form”, co-edited by Mike Jenks.
Prof. Mike Jenks giving his lecture: The Compact and Sustainable City: avoiding ‘The Day after Tomorrow’ at the British Council, New Delhi, August 2008.
Researchers from Oxford Institute for Sustainable Development (OISD) recently co-convened the successful Cityform-India: Sustainable Urban Form for Indian Cities conference in New Delhi, India. The high-profile event was co-organized by the National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA) and hosted by their director, Prof. Chetan Vaidya at the India Habitat Centre. The conference focused on the need to examine sustainable urban form in India where cities are growing at a rapid rate.
Delegates came from all over India to attend and Dr. M. Ramachandran, Secretary, Ministry of Urban Development opened the conference. In his inaugural address, Dr Ramachandran highlighted the importance of examining the whole gamut of themes related to sustainable development, including polycentric urban forms, transport infrastructure and new technology. He also talked about the significant role that OISD has played, and continues to play, in the global debate on sustainable urban form. The Ministry of Urban Development has shown a very keen interest in the project and has since promised to support the project through making government funding available for initial research to be carried out.
Prof. Mike Jenks, keynote speaker, discussed the importance of sustainable urban form and the role of density, polycentric and connected urban development and inclusive design in the pursuit of sustainability in the urban context of Indian cities.
Dr Shibu Raman and Dr Nicola Dempsey presented findings from the CityForm-UK project, before delegates were invited to break out into a series of parallel sessions how urban form - the size, shape, density, land uses and layouts of a city - can influence a range of issues: social, economic and environmental sustainability, transport use, poverty alleviation, infrastructure and urban governance. Other papers were presented by OISD delegates including Dr Ramin Keivani (Globalisation, Urban Governance & Urban Form: An International Perspective) and Dr Seema Dave (Density and Social Sustainability in Mumbai: research findings) along with other invited academics from the UK, Europe and India.
Other partners in the conference included British Council, Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology (CEPT) Ahmedabad, School of Planning and Architecture (SPA) Delhi, Indian Institute of Technology Mumbai (IIT-Mumbai) and Delhi (IIT-Delhi), Vastu Shilpa Foundation, Ahmedabad, Delhi School of Economics and the Institute of Urban Designers India. The conference was closed by Joint Secretary Ministry of Urban Development, Mr. A K Mehta.
After the conference in Delhi, Prof. Mike Jenks, Dr Shibu Raman and Dr Nicola Dempsey continued on a lecture tour. Prof. Jenks gave a lecture at the Charles Correa-designed British Council, Delhi entitled The Compact and Sustainable City: avoiding ‘The Day after Tomorrow’. Prof. Jenks also travelled to Mumbai to give the lecture The Compact and Sustainable City. Both lectures were sponsored by the British Council. Dr Raman and Dr Dempsey travelled to Chandigarh to lecture on Climate Change and Sustainability in India: What About Urban Form? Findings from CityForm-UK at the Sustainable Development and Climate Change seminar. This event was sponsored by The Punjab State Council for Science and Technology, Chandigarh, in collaboration with the Association of British Scholars (ABS). Dr Raman and Dr Dempsey also gave a lecture at Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology (CEPT), Ahmedabad entitled CityForm-India: Sustainable Development in Indian Cities which was sponsored by the British Library Ahmedabad.
The conference and lecture tour form part of an international, multidisciplinary project, which OISD: Cities and NIUA will be leading. The aim of this project is to examine how and in what ways urban form contributes to sustainability in rapidly growing cities in India Initial membership in this collaborative team includes leading experts in built environment research from IIT-Delhi, IIT-Bombay, NIUA, CEPT, SPA, and Delhi School of Economics in India and, in the UK, OISD, Heriot-Watt University and University of the West of England, and also Milan Polytechnic, Italy. The project will start with a pilot project with the help of the Ministry of Urban Development, India and a number of networking activities to clarify the key themes, research approach and methodology for a larger 4-year project.
For more information, visit www.city-form.org or please contact Dr Shibu Raman.
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