Unpacking Urbanism

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Unpacking Urbanism is a series of short courses taught by IIHS faculty and advisors which will engage with the theories and debates of urban practice. Through a curated set of master classes, courses and case studies, the series will unpack central ideas and frameworks that affect how we understand the urban.

The course series offers a diverse range of programmes such as:

  1. Master Classes that unpack key ideas and concepts within disciplines of urban practice.
  2. Courses on specific subjects which put concepts and practices into conversations with each other.
  3. Re-imagining the ‘World-class’ City – a five day intensive programme that re-examines the ideas that drive and aim to drive urban growth.

Rooted in the complexities of urban India, the series ensures learning opportunities both for those seeking to explore the urban as well as those wanting to deepen existing knowledge.

Unpacking Urbanism begins in November 2014 with courses in Bangalore and Delhi. A full calendar of course offerings will be announced soon. Please fill in the interest form on the right to receive further updates.

Master Classes
The master classes are 3 hour sessions which are free for public and will be conducted in a seminar format. These sessions will be a critical exploration of the various dimensions of ideas that are understood in different ways. The master classes seek to raise questions, open debates, and challenge our understanding of different facets of the urban.

Short Courses
Following the master classes, there will be short courses from December 2014 to March 2015. Aimed at students, researchers, academics and practitioners, these short courses seek to explore and experience different approaches to various aspects of a city. The course aims to enhance and enrich the knowledge of the learners through case-based teaching, an in-depth study of seminal academic works, and the diverse experiences of IIHS faculty.

Re-imagining the ‘World-class’ City
March 2015
This course re-examines the idea of the ‘World-class’ City and the critical questions of urban growth and development that underpin them. Given India’s challenges towards enabling inclusive development, social transformation, sustainable urbanism and livelihoods, this is an intensely contested and opportune debate. The course brings together theoretical debates with existing practices, enabling an interdisciplinary exploration of the systems, processes and values that drive the development of these cities. Using a rich mix of lectures, practica, charettes and cases, the course is a dynamic and an engaged learning environment with participation at every stage.

Master Classes

Understanding Urban Commons | 27 November 2014

Brief Description
Urban commons appear very frequently nowadays in academic, activist as well as policy domains of discourse and practice. What can be considered commons within the urban and what is urban about the common in these discourses are often diverse and perhaps even divergent in their conceptual framing. Further, its relationship with public the private and the neo-liberal deserves examination.

This course will examine the urban and the commons separately and examine the range of frameworks used to put them back together as urban commons. The participants will be encouraged to attempt to shape this conceptual domain in their own way.

Key Learning Outcome
Understand the diverse conceptual and theoretical framing of the urban, the commons and the urban commons and develop conceptual skills to contextualize the analysis of the urban geography from the perspective of urban commons.

Imagined Audiences

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Graduate or post-graduate students with some social science/ humanities/ Design background in any discipline
  • Practitioners in the (urban) development sector, particularly from planning, economic development, and human development – in government, NGO and Consulting or other Community organizations.

Faculty
JAYARAJ 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.

Important Dates:

MASTERCLASS DATES LAST DAY FOR REGISTRATION VENUE
27 November 2014 To be announced IIHS Bangalore City Campus

On Urban Informality | 12 & 28 November 2014

Brief Description
Studying the cities of the global south appears impossible without grappling with the idea of “informality.” Yet what does “informality” mean and is it a useful concept to understand the complexity of our cities? This class seeks to unpack the many lives, histories and meanings of “informality,” bringing together its spatial, economic, political and cultural conceptions. It poses informality against its others – “formal,” “unauthorized,” “corrupt,” “legal/illegal”— in order to ask what the concept allows us to do and, just as importantly, what distinctions it hides.

Key Learning Outcome
Learners will learn how to conceptually engage with different understandings and practices of “informality” across disciplines

Imagined Audiences

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Graduate or post-graduate students with some social science/humanities background in any discipline
  • Practitioners in the (urban) development sector, particularly from planning, economic development, and human development.

Faculty
Gautam Bhan

Important Dates:

MASTERCLASS DATES LAST DAY FOR REGISTRATION VENUE
12 November 2014 5 November 2014 Delhi – Venue to be decided
28 November 2014 21 November 2014 IIHS Bangalore City Campus

On Low-Carbon Cities | 9 December 2014

Brief Description
Global climate change has manifested itself in myriad forms such as negative impacts on certain key sectors like agriculture. Responding to the challenges posed by global climate change has been embedded in adaptation and/or mitigation actions/strategies. Cities, due to high concentration of economic activity & corresponding high energy input, contribute immensely to the global stock of Greenhouse Gases (GHGs). Cities in developing countries offer a unique opportunity to significantly alter the emerging high-trajectory GHG emissions profile and thereby contribute towards global mitigation efforts. Many ways/frameworks have been proposed worldwide towards changing the ways cities should function and contribute towards global GHG mitigation efforts. One of the emerging frameworks center around the concept of ‘low-carbon cities’. This class will de-mystify, debate, challenge the concept of low-carbon cities and probably, contribute towards an innovate framing of addressing conjointly the economic imperatives of cities and its contribution towards mitigating GHG emissions.

Key Learning Outcome
Learners will be able to understand the emerging low-carbon framing

Imagined Audiences

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Post-graduate students with any background
  • Practitioners in the (urban) development sector, particularly from CSOs, climate change and related departments (such as water) in cities, economic development, and human development.

Faculty
Amir Bazaz

Important Dates:

MASTERCLASS DATES LAST DAY FOR REGISTRATION VENUE
9 December 2014 2 December 2014 IIHS Bangalore City Campus

An Introduction to Economics of Climate Resilient Development | 11 December 2014

Brief Description
The recent IPCC AR5 has unambiguously highlighted and emphasized the challenges posed by global climate change. Increasing climatic variability is poised to exacerbate existing multi-dimensional risks on human, natural, and social systems, especially in developing countries where policymakers and practitioners seek to balance development goals with climate change mitigation and adaptation.

This course will introduce participants to the economic dimensions of climate change adaptation (one of the policy responses to climate change challenges). The session will give an overview of current climate change impacts and set the context for the need for adaptation (with a special emphasis on the impacts observed/projected in South Asia/India). It will discuss different economic tools that can be used to facilitate climate-resilient development and help countries move away from a business-as-usual development path towards a more resilient socio-economic pathway.

Key Learning Outcome
Better understanding around:

  • The need for moving away from business-as-usual to aligning development goals with climate change adaptation activities
  • An introduction to tools to prioritise adaptation options

Imagined Audiences

  • Postgraduate students (any discipline)
  • Practitioners in the development sector (NGO officials) and policymakers (particularly those engaged with implementing adaptation plans at the sub-national level)
  • Researchers working in the climate change space

Faculty
Amir Bazaz

Important Dates:

MASTERCLASS DATES LAST DAY FOR REGISTRATION VENUE
11 December 2014 4 December 2014 IIHS Bangalore City Campus

Competitive Cities: Imaginations and Economics of Land and Real Estate

Course Description
In urban economics, land dynamics are often analysed using bid- rent curves, which assess how land use and land rent interact and structure urban space. These curves are used to assess urban policies, such as zoning, greenbelts, rent control, etc. However, in using bid-rent curves, cities are imagined as relatively static ground on which land uses compete for effective rent—an imagination of the urban that is not sufficient to understand the dynamism of cities as economic growth machines and particularly inter- city competition for investments, in an age defined by aspirations of hypermodernity and globalization.

Cities often act as critical sites that shape policies, discourses and aspirations that have regional, national, even global relevance and need to be examined as such. This seminar- style master class will explore the idea of cities as competitive and strategic entities and focus on the importance that land and real estate have assumed in competitive urban dynamics in the Indian context. Urban land has become an important tool for negotiating with and attracting investment interest. Such land- based strategies affect the structure of the urban economy and restructure urban space. Real estate industry growth and peri urban parallel cities are some of the more visible outcomes. The class will discuss the significance of urban land and real estate in terms of how the national economy is structured, how it is growing, the strategic importance that knowledge economy sectors have assumed and ultimately how land, labour and capital, the three fundamental economic building blocks, relate to one another, within the urban economy.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Understand that the urban is a particular, critical and inter- related scale at which global, national and regional economic dynamics are played out
  2. Understand urban land and real estate both as economic resource inputs, as well as economic and social outcomes, implicated in inter- city competition for investors

Audience (Basic to intermediate level)

This class would target anyone with a basic interest in the urban economy, real estate, land economics, who may also have some basic grounding in these fields. The class would highlight the possibilities of adopting a political economy approach to understand the urban economy and urban negotiations for investments.

  • Post- graduate students with an interest and possibly some basic knowledge in urban economics, real estate, land economics
  • Practitioners from the real estate sector or development sector interested in the political economy of current urban transformations

Faculty
Sudeshna Mitra

Apply Now for Master Classes