Comparative Urban and Regional Research

Comparative Urban and Regional Research


In its second year, the PhD Workshop at IIHS continues its focus on research on and within cities of the global South. Located within the emergence of a set of challenges to normative urban theory, this workshop is committed to aiding the production of new knowledge on and from cities of the global south. To do so, it asks: how is urban and regional research to be structured, designed and carried out– and for whom?

This workshop seeks to: (a) bring together a community of established and emerging scholars working on issues of urbanisation and development; (b) create a space for intellectual exchange and feedback for advanced doctoral students or recent PhDs; and (c) reflect on the nature and process of research and analysis, focusing on methodological choices and innovations as well as the journey from writing to publication and practice.

A host of internationally and nationally renowned scholars will join IIHS faculty in welcoming PhDs working on urban issues within any discipline. While the workshop is open to doctoral students from anywhere in the world, a strong preference is given to those enrolled in Indian institutions or institutions in the global south.

The workshop charges no fees. IIHS bears the cost of meals and shared accommodation (if requested). However, all participants – domestic or international – are required to fund their own travel to Bangalore and commit to being present fully for all three days of the workshop. The 2014 workshop will be at the held at the IIHS Bangalore City Campus from July 28th-30th, 2014.

For Eligibility and Application, click here.

Workshop Structure

The workshop is structured around three key elements. These are:

a. Presentations: These form the core of the workshop. Small groups of five participants are paired with three faculty members. Each member of the group presents in 30-minute slots and receives feedback. Groups are then rotated so all participants are able to present again to a new group and a new set of faculty. Presenting twice allows participants to incorporate feedback from the first round into the second, to use the two presentation to focus on different material, or to seek feedback on an entirely different aspect of their work or research process.

b. Panels: The workshop is interspersed with faculty panels reflecting on different aspects of the research and writing process. Panels may be based on one or more of methods, research design, ethics, fieldwork experiences, theoretical frameworks, among others.

c. Working Sessions: Working sessions are interactive sessions that work to think through issues such as pedagogy and teaching, syllabi, the process of writing and being published, etc. The 2014 edition will end with a public event on structuring an inter-disciplinary PhD programme at IIHS.

The workshop runs from 9:30am to 6:30pm everyday, with a workshop dinner on the second day. Participants are on their own in the evenings of the first and third days. Lunch is provided at the IIHS Bangalore City Campus on all days.


This page is being continuously updated. Please check back.
chandanChandan Gowda
PhD, University of Michigan; MA, Sociology, University of Hyderabad ; BA, St. Joseph’s College, Bengaluru

Chandan Gowda is Professor of Social Science at Azim Premji University. His research interests include social theory, Indian normative traditions, caste, and Kannada literature and cinema. In addition to his academic publications, he has written for newspapers and published translations of Kannada fiction and non-fiction in English. He is presently completing a book on the cultural politics of development in old Mysore state.

colinColin Marx
PhD, Department of Geography, Open University; MTRP, University of Natal; Adv Diploma Adult Education, University of Natal, South Africa.

Colin is a development planner working on reframing key questions in relation to urban land, poverty and informalities. His current research focuses on informal land markets in Dar es Salaam and Durban, economic knowledge in the urban informal economy in Nigeria, and the relationships between HIV and AIDS epidemics and informal settlement in eastern and southern Africa. He is currently co-editing a book on ‘spatialising urban poverty’ (with Charlotte Lemanski). He is a lecturer at the Development Planning Unit, UCL where he directs the PhD Programme.

deepakDeepak Baindur
Ph.D. (Transportation), Technical University of Lisbon; M.Sc. in Transport & Maritime Management, University of Antwerp; Master (Foreign Going) Certificate of Competency, (B.Sc. in Nautical Science Equivalent), Mumbai University

Deepak works in the area of logistics and freigh transport management at urban and regional scales in India. He has years of industry experience in the maritime transportation sector, the Merchant Navy and in the port construction sector on seaport dredging and land reclamation projects in India with International Seaport Dredging Pvt. Ltd. (ISDPL). He has worked with the Centre for infrastructure Sustainable Transportation and Urban Planning (CiSTUP) Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore as Transport Planner. He was also an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Planning and Public Policy, CEPT University, Ahmedabad.

edgarEdgar Pieterse
PhD, Urban Planning & Geography via Social Policy, LSE ; MA, Development Studies, Institute of Social Studies

Edgar is an urban scholar, writer and creative agent whose interests include the theory and practice of policy discourses and interventions to make the African city more just, open and accessible. He holds the South African Research Chair in Urban Policy at the University of Cape Town and is director of the African Centre for Cities. Formerly a special policy advisor to the premier of the Western Cape, he is the author of City Futures: Confronting the Crisis of Urban Development (2008). He is a member of the Research Advisory Committees of: the Gauteng City-region Observatory and LSE Cities.

gautamGautam Bhan
PhD, University of California, Berkeley; MA, University of Chicago; B.A Political Economy of Development, Amherst College

Gautam works on the politics of poverty, inequality and development in Indian cities with a focus on housing, social security, governance and urban and planning theory. He is currently part of the  academic and research team at IIHS where he co-anchors on-going research at IIHS on “Reframing Urban Inclusion,” anchors the Curriculum Development process for the Masters of Urban Practice as well as IIHS’ training programmes for state and central governments on housing.

JagdishJagdish Krishnaswamy
Ph.D., Duke University; Masters in Statistics, Institute of Statistics and Decision Sciences, Duke University; B.Tech, IIT-B

Jagdish Krishnaswamy is the Convenor and Senior Fellow at the Suri Sehgal Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation, ATREE, Bangalore. His research and teaching interests are in ecohydrology, applied statistics, and landscape ecology. He is an executive member of the Indian Society for Ecological Economics and on the editorial board of Biological Conservation.

jayaraj-sundaresanJayaraj Sundaresan
PhD, Department of Geography, London School of Economics; MArch CEPT University; BArch Kerala University (CET)

Jayaraj is an Urban Ethnographer and a Human Geographer. Currently, he is a researcher at Grantham Research Institute for Climate Change and Environment at the LSE, London. His previous roles included founding director of a planning and design consultancy in India, advisor to the local government in Kochi on land management, consultant to the London Boroughs on economic regeneration, urban design and planning policy, researcher at the LSE Urban Age program (now LSE Cities), Lecturer in the Department of Architecture at the NIT-C, India, Teaching Assistant for human geography and planning courses  at the LSE and a post doc researcher at the DPU (UCL) on Future Proofing Indian Cities project.

jessicaJessica Seddon
Ph.D. Stanford Graduate School of Business, BA, Harvard University

Jessica’s research focuses on the interaction of institutions with information ecology to affect aggregate behavior. She has advised a number of state and national government initiatives in India, including the Prime Ministers’ National Transport Development Committee and the High Powered Expert Committee on Urban Infrastructure. She is currently Founder and Managing Director of Okapi Research, a network of professionals focused on institutional design challenges from organization-level to global scales.

kamath_lalithaLalita Kamath
Ph.D. Rutgers University; M.A. , Pune University

Lalitha is an Assistant Professor leading the specialization on Urban Governance for the Habitat Policy and Practice Programme at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. She has worked as a consultant for district planning, developing program ideas related to municipal and local governance to combat urban poverty and gender inequalities in India for the Asia Foundation. She has also worked on affordable housing under the Basic Services for Urban Poor component of JNNURM.

maliniMalini Ranganathan
PhD, University of California, Berkeley

Malini is an interdisciplinary urban geographer with interests in the politics of infrastructure (water and stormwater) and land tenure, subaltern political agency, and state formation, with most ethnographic research to date focused on the fringes of Bangalore. Theoretically, her work sits at the intersection of urban political ecology, critical planning, and the anthropology of the state. After completing a PhD at the University of California, Berkeley and a post-doctoral fellowship in the Geography department at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, she joined the School of International Service at American University, Washington, DC as Assistant Professor. Her work is forthcoming or published in the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Economic and Political Weekly, Water Alternatives, Urban Geography, and three edited volumes on the South Asian city.

meeraMeera Bapat
PhD, Development Planning Unit, University College, London; B Arch, Bombay University

Meera is a urban researcher based in Pune who has been following urban development and questions of poverty and inequality in Pune and other Indian cities for over three decades. Her work, research and writing extend through thinking about housing, urban sanitation, and questions of gender and urban  development.

nehaNeha Sami
Ph.D. (Urban & Regional Planning), University of Michigan; Master of Management Studies, Mumbai University; Masters in Environmental Management, Yale University; B.A., St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai University.

Neha works on the political economy of land, urban governance, issues of brownfield redevelopment and planning for climate change. She has worked with the Boston Redevelopment Authority as an analyst with the Economic Development Division. She has also worked as a consultant with the Environment and Sustainable Development Division of the UN-ESCAP (Bangkok). She is currently part of the Academic and Research team at IIHS.

SanjaySanjay Prakash
B.Arch., School of Planning and Architecture, Delhi, A.I.I.A.

Sanjay Prakash is Principal Consultant of his design firm, SHiFt: Studio for Habitat Futures Architects and Engineers Pvt. Ltd. (formerly Sanjay Prakash& Associates), and was earlier a partner of DAAT and Studio Plus. His work spans the areas of energy conscious architecture, eco-friendly design, people’s participation in planning, music and production design. Over the years, he has integrated all his work with the practice of new urbanism and sustainability.   He is a Senior Advisor to IIHS.

smithaSmita Srinivas
Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Smita works on research and professional practice in the areas of economic and industrial development policy and planning; technology, employment and welfare regimes; innovation and S&T policies; and federalism and public finance. Her most recent book is “Market Menagerie: Health and Development in Late Industrial States” (Stanford University Press 2012). She teaches at Columbia University, New York where she is Director, Technology Change Lab. She is also a Senior Advisor to IIHS.

somnathSomnath Sen
PGDRM, IRMA; BA, Honours (Economics), St. Stephen’s College, University of Delhi

Somnath works chiefly in the areas of institutions and public policy with a focus on water and sanitation. He has managed and led a number of institutional development and strategic advice tasks for governments in South Asia, Africa and China as well as for private sector, multi-lateral institutions, and INGOs, including assistance to the formulation of India’s National Urban Sanitation Policy (NUSP) and the Sanitation Rating of Class I Indian Cities (2010).

SriramanS. Sriraman
Ph.D. (Transport Systems) IIT, Kanpur; M.A (Economics) Delhi School of Economics

Sriraman is the Walchand Hirachand Professor of Economics at the University of Mumbai. His main areas of specialization are Transport Economics, Applied Microeconomics and Regional Economics.  His current research work includes: Role of Transport in India’s Export Competitiveness; Project financing in the context of Infrastructure Projects in India; Estimating the Health Costs of Exposure to Urban Pollution: A Case Study of Mumbai in collaboration with the National Environmental Engineering Institute, Nagpur, amongst many other projects.

sudeshna.mitraSudeshna Mitra
PhD (City and Regional Planning), Cornell University; MRP, Cornell University; M.Plan, B.Plan, School of Planning and Architecture

Sudeshna works on urban and regional economic development, particularly the political economy of land and real estate leveraging in public- private project negotiations. She has researched peri-urban land and livelihood issues, emerging from city level strategies to attract investments. She was previously a consultant with CBRE, and worked on highway projects, airports, industrial parks and Special Economic Zones. She has taught graduate students as Visiting Lecturer at Cornell University. She also taught Land Economics and co- taught studio projects at the School of Planning and Architecture.

sumeteeSumetee Pahwa Gajjar
PhD (Sustainable Development), School of Public Leadership at Stellenbosch University, South Africa;Masters in Sustainable Development; M Sc (Project Management) University of Cape Town; Public Finance and Development Economics, University of South Africa; BArch, School of Planning and Architecture, Delhi

Sumetee is a consultant with IIHS and has worked as a design consultant in her early career in India. She worked as a policy and strategic development planning consultant and trainer for the South African public sector. She has taught strategic and development planning to municipal officials and worked on policy analysis of environmental, development and climate change regulations and legislation, systems analysis of business processes towards reduced emissions and waste streams, and city development strategies for sustainability.She is interested in researching the confluence of climate science and climate change policy response, climate change adaptation and mitigation interventions, energy efficiency and renewable energy solutions for sustainable development, extension of resilience thinking into trans-disciplinary practice for sustainable outcomes.


The workshop is open to currently enrolled MPhil or PhD students in any discipline who work on urban questions, or on questions influenced by their urban location. We will also consider recent graduates who have gotten either degree in the previous academic year. Previous iterations of the workshop have brought together planners, economists, engineers, geographers, architects, sociologists, anthropologists, as well as students in development studies, english, journalism, history and urban design. The workshop is open to students who are pre-, mid- or post-fieldwork. To apply, download the form below, complete it and email it to the address mentioned along with a recent writing sample as specified in the form.

As a reminder: the workshop charges no fees and offers shared lodging and lunch. However, all candidates are responsible for their own travel to Bangalore and within the city to IIHS’ Bangalore City Campus.

Please bear in mind that admission is competitive. While applications are welcome from students based in non-Indian universities, preference will be given to those enrolled in Indian universities and institutes. If accepted, you will be asked to submit a 2-3 page summary of your research no later than July 15th, 2014. As you apply, please keep this deadline in mind.

Application Deadline: Midnight, Tuesday, 8th July, 2014. 
Decisions Announced: Saturday, 12th July, 2014

If slots remain, a second round of applications may be invited. Please check the website on 13th July, 2014.
Please download the PDF application form, fill it out, attach the writing sample described in the form and send to