International Advisory Committee

IIHS has an International Advisory Committee (IAC) that provides advice and guidance on the development of IIHS as a leading institution integrating teaching, research and practice rooted in the realities of South Asia and the Global South. The IAC assists in fostering a culture of excellence, innovation and inclusion across IIHS’ Academic, Research and Practice programmes and in mentoring IIHS faculty; deepening its size, capacities and global and local engagement. It consists of internationally renowned urban scholars working on urbanisation issues in developing countries who provide guidance and oversight to IIHS’ programmes.

Bish Sanyal

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Ford International Professor of Urban Development and Planning Director of the Special Program in Urban and Regional Studies / Humphrey Fellows Program


Professor Bish Sanyal is Ford International Professor of Urban Development and Planning in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT. He also heads the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program at MIT and is Director of the MIT Comprehensive Initiative on Technology Evaluation (CITE) as part of USAID’s Higher Education Solutions Network (HESN), which gave a $10 million grant under Professor Sanyal’s leadership to evaluate technologies for the poor. Professor Sanyal joined MIT in 1984, served as the Head of the Department of Urban Studies and Planning from 1994 to 2002, as the Chair of the MIT Faculty from 2007 until 2009, and as Head of the International Development Group.


Professor Sanyal completed a project, which he co-led with Professor Larry Vale, funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, to create the curriculum for IIHS. Professor Sanyal has published extensively on cities and city planning in developing countries, particularly on integrating   underprivileged urban population into the physical and economic fabric of the city. He has also written on internationalisation of planning education. Professor Sanyal’s publications include five books, his most recent (2012) is Planning Ideas that Matter (MIT Press); and he is working on a manuscript Hidden Successes: Innovative Institutional Responses to India’s Urban Challenges. Professor Sanyal was named a MacVicar Faculty Fellow at MIT in 2011 for outstanding contributions to undergraduate education; and was awarded the Distinguished Alumnus Award 2011 from his alma mater, the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur. He has advised governments in four continents, as well as leading international institutions.


Caren Levy

University College London, Professor of Transformative Urban Planning, Bartlett Development Planning Unit


Professor Caren Levy is Professor of Transformative Urban Planning at the Bartlett Development Planning Unit (DPU), Faculty of the Built Environment, University College London (UCL) and former Director of the DPU. She is an urban development planner with over 30 years’ experience of teaching, research, training and consultancy. She works on planning, community-led development and governance with a focus on housing, infrastructure and transport, and land management in urban areas in the Global South. She has a special interest in the institutionalisation of social justice in policy and planning, particularly related to the crosscutting issues of gender, diversity and the environment. Strongly linked to practice, she also explores and develops innovative approaches to planning methodology, planning education and capacity building, and mainstreaming social justice in organisational development. She works in London and in a range of cities in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East with communities, governments and international organisations.


Devesh Kapur

Johns Hopkins University – School of Advanced International Studies, Starr Foundation Professor of South Asian Studies and Director of Asia Programs


Devesh Kapur is the Starr Foundation Professor, Director of the Asia Programme at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University, Washington, D.C. From 2006 to 2018, he was the Director of CASI, Professor of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania, and held the Madan Lal Sobti Chair for the Study of Contemporary India. Prior to that, he has been Associate Professor of Government at the University of Texas at Austin, and the Frederick Danziger Associate Professor of Government at Harvard University.


His research focuses on human capital, national and international public institutions, and the ways in which local-global linkages, especially international migration and international institutions, affect political and economic change in developing countries, especially India. His book ‘Diaspora, Democracy and Development: The Impact of International Migration from India’, published by Princeton University Press in August 2010, earned him the 2012 ENMISA (Ethnicity, Nationalism, and Migration Section of International Studies Association) Distinguished Book Award. His latest book ‘The Other One Percent: Indians in America’, co-authored with Nirvikar Singh, and Sanjoy Chakravorty, was published in October 2016 by Oxford University Press.


University of Cape Town – African Centre for Cities (ACC), South African Research Chair in Urban Policy & Director of ACC


Professor Edgar Pieterse is an urban scholar, writer, curator 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, Professor Pieterse is the author of City Futures: Confronting the Crisis of Urban Development (2008), and New Urban Worlds: Inhabiting Dissonant Times (2017), co-authored with A M Simone.  He is also co-editor of Africa’s Urban Revolution (2014) and Rogue Urbanism: Emergent African Cities (2013). He is a member of the Research Advisory Committees of the Gauteng City-region Observatory and LSE Cities. He was co-lead author of the Urban Chapter for the International Panel on Social Progress.


Professor of International Affairs, The New School, New York


Michael Cohen, PhD, University of Chicago, is an urban and development policy specialist, serving as Professor of International Affairs at the New School. He teaches courses on smart cities and urban values, the urban century, slums and urban development, and urban strategies.


He worked at the World Bank from 1972 to 1999 and was responsible for much of the Bank’s urban policy development during that period. From 1994-1998, he served as the Senior Advisor to the Bank’s Vice-President for Environmentally Sustainable Development.


Professor Cohen has worked in 55 countries and was involved in the World Bank’s work on infrastructure, environment, and sustainable development. He has published several books on urban development, centrally Africa, and the impact of development assistance. Professor Cohen has advised governments, NGOs, and academic institutions around the world. He was a member of the Infrastructure Panel and Urban Dynamics Panel of the US National Academy of Science. He has helped the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) prepare its Global Report on Human Settlements in 2005-2012. He received his PhD in Political Economy from University of Chicago.


Rahul Mehrotra

Harvard University, Professor of Urban Design and Planning, Director of the Master of Architecture in Urban Design Degree Program and Co-Director of the Master of Landscape Architecture in Urban Design Degree Program


Professor Rahul Mehrotra is an architect, urbanist and educator who is the Founder Principal of RMA Architects and is Professor of Urban Design and Planning and Chair of the Department of Urban Planning and Design at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. He is a founding member of the IIHS Board of Directors. He has been actively involved in civic and urban affairs in Mumbai, having served on commissions for historic preservation and environmental issues with various neighbourhood groups. He has taught at the University of Michigan and at the School of Architecture and Urban Planning at MIT and was the Executive Director of the Urban Design Research Institute (UDRI), where he is now a Trustee. He is a member of the steering committee of the South Asia Initiative at Harvard, and curates their series on Urbanization. He leads a university wide research project with Professor Diana Eck, called The Kumbh Mela – Mapping the Ephemeral City.


Professor Mehrotra’s research involves looking at India’s medium size cities and the broader emergent patterns of urbanism in India and is focused on evolving a theoretical framework for designing in conditions of informal growth. His writings include Architecture in India since 1990 (2011); Bombay—The Cities Within (1995) and Banganga—Sacred Tank (1996), co-authored with Sharada Dwivedi; and Bombay to Mumbai—Changing Perspectives (1997), co-edited with Pauline Rohatgi and Pheroza Godrej.