International Conference 2012

Bhopal 2012

Conference Welcome

The conference, Re-Imagining Inclusive Urbanisation: People Building Better Cities was held in Bhopal January 7-9, 2012 as part of Global Studio.

The third international Global Studio conference, Re-Imagining Inclusive Urbanisation: People Building Better Cities set out to promote a critical engagement with international development issues such as climate change, environmental justice,  participatory urban practices , and the role of design and planning professionals, researchers and communities in promoting sustainable and inclusive urbanization. Currently around 300 million people live in Indian cities. By mid century these numbers are estimated to rise to 800 million; rural to urban as well as environmental migration will play an increasingly important and transformative role in the social, economic, political and creative life of cities. The conference also asked questions such as , ‘How best might future professionals be educated ?’ and ‘How can professionals help create the space for people to lead the development process?’

Over 20 speakers addressed these various questions over a two day program. Some of the conference speakers gave film interviews.

More than 150 people attended the official opening of Global Studio and the Conference on January 7. Shri. S.P.S. Parihar (IAS) Principal Secretary, Urban Administration & Development Department Govt. of Madhya Pradesh welcomed Global Studio to Bhopal and outlined key urban challenges facing Bhopal .

Indian speakers included Sheela Patel from SPARC and Renu Khosla (C.U.R.E, Delhi) who spoke on community participation, the new ‘buzz word’ in Indian planning policy, but as they pointed out it needs to be enabling and empowering and not tokenistic.  Dr. Ajay Suri from Delhi focused on the Cities Alliance approach to cities in India. Professor Geetam Tiwari (IIT Delhi) spoke on an inclusive approach to transport planning, and CEPT (Ahmedabad) Associate Professor and architect Mehgal Arya outlined the participatory approach to the design of bus stations for Ahmedabad’s BRT system.  They built a full size model of a station to get people’s feedback before proceeding wth the final design.  Architect Anupama Kundoo stressed the importance of green design, and argued for approaches that would impact the whole population, and that would learn from traditional design as well as the use of materials and skills.

International speakers provided other perspectives on inclusive urbanization. Paul Pholeros, Sydney architect, director of Healthabitat and winner of the 2011 UN World Habitat Award for his work with Indigenous Australians spoke of the need to work together with people to make healthy housing. He emphasized the need to build capacity employment and skills, and also showed examples of how he did this in Nepal as well as Australia. Nad Luansang, an architect from Thailand works with ACHR (Asian Coalition for Housing Rights). He heads an improvement program in 100 cities in Asia, and spoke about effective community-professional partnerships. Rodney Harber provided lessons from South Africa.

Steve Zavesotski from the University of San Francisco worked in Bhopal in the mid 2000s on the Union Carbide disaster, and discussed the role of community health in inclusive urbanization. Other speakers such as well know environmental justice scholar, David Schlosberg and Phil McManus (both from University of Sydney) as well as Andrea Nightingale (University of Edinburgh) spoke on environmental justice, gender issues in relation to incisive urbanization, and possible climate change scenarios for India in coming years.

The conference covered these themes:

  1. Rethinking participation for inclusive urbanization
  2. Urban governance policies and local communities
  3. Poverty alleviation programs and community well-being
  4. Inclusive adaptation to climate change
  5. Pro-poor urban design and transport planning practices
  6. Rethinking professional education and practice for inclusive urbanization.

Conference Presentations

Meghal Arya
Celebrating People – Public Urban Spaces: The case of the bus stations for the BRTS in Ahmedabad

Hari Dhungana
Managing Public Services in the Cities: The role of local governments within political transition in Nepal

Rodney Harber
Restitching the apartheid town

Chris Johnson
The role of women architects in Indian slum renewal

Farhan Karim
The New Smallness: A critique of architecture’s role in the global production of spatial inclusion

Anupama Kundoo
Affordable Green Building Alternatives: Solutions that don’t address the bulk of India are hardly solutions

Chawanad Luansang
Let the people be the solution

Amelia Maxwell
Microfinance ‘Plus’ and Poverty Alleviation in Urban India: Lessons from four microfinance organisations

Colin McFarlane
Everyday Sanitation in Mumbai: Politics, improvisation, and the metabolic commons

Phil McManus
Participatory Planning in India’s Low Elevation Coastal Megacities: Climate change mitigation and adaptation towards sustainable and equitable cities

Andrea Nightingale
What Does it Mean to Adapt? Gender, climate change, post-conflict transition and resource governance in Nepal

Hemant Ojha
Doing Research for Change: The role of critical action research in forest conservation and livelihoods in Nepal

Sheela Patel
Creating inclusive urbanization from below

Paul Pholeros
Practice, Research and Change: Participatory processes for better health and poverty alleviation

Neelam Pradhananga
Re-engaging with Indigenous Communities: Insights from changing heritage conservation practices in Kathmandu City, Nepal

David Schlosberg
Climate Justice, Vulnerability, and Adaptation: A capabilities approach

Madhushree Sekher
How inclusive are processes for delivering services to urban local communities? Insights from urban governance in two Indian Cities

Sunil Dubey
Framework for Urban Governance: Metropolis approach

Ajay Suri
Inclusive city- focused approach to development assistance

Geetam Tiwari
Inclusive Transport: An essential component of inclusive urbanization

Steve Zavestoski
The Role of Community Health in Inclusive Urbanization: Learning from the Bhopal disaster


Conference Program
Films: Reimagining Inclusive Urbanization
Films: Interviews with conference speakers

2012 Group Photo