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. The IAC consists of internationally renowned urban scholars working on urbanisation issues in developing countries that provides guidance and oversight to IIHS’ research programme.

Bish Sanyal

Ph.D. Urban and Regional Planning, University of California, Los Angeles; M.Sc. Urban Planning, University of Kansas; B.Arch. IIT-Kharagpur


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 most recently, as Head of the International Development Group. Professor Sanyal recently completed a project, which he co-lead with Professor Larry Vale, and which was funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, to create the curriculum for a new university, the Indian Institute of Human Settlements in Bengaluru, India. The final report on the project Towards a Global Learning Community: MIT’s Report to the Rockefeller Foundation on Curriculum for the Indian Institute for Human Settlements was recently published (July 2013). Professor Sanyal has published extensively on cities and city planning in developing countries, particularly, how to integrate the majority of urban population who are poor into the physical and economic fabric of the city. He has also written on internationalization of planning education. Professor Sanyal’s publications include 5 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 he was recently 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.


Bachelor of Arts, University of Cape Town


Prof. Caren Levy is a former Director of the Development Planning Unit (DPU), University College London (UCL) and is currently the Vice Dean International for the Bartlett, Faculty of the Built Environment, UCL and 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 institutionalization 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 innovatory approaches to planning methodology, planning education and capacity building, and mainstreaming social justice in organizational development. She works both in London and in a range of countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East with communities, governments and international organizations.


Director, Center for the Advanced Study of India, Professor of Political Science; Madan Lal Sobti Chair for the Study of Contemporary India, University of Pennsylvania, USA


Devesh Kapur is the Director of the Center for the Advanced Study of India. He is Professor of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania, and holds the Madan Lal Sobti Chair for the Study of Contemporary India. Prior to arriving at Penn, he was Associate Professor of Government at the University of Texas at Austin, and before that 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 on 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, Defying the Odds: The Rise of Dalit Entrepreneurs (co-authored with D. Shyam Babu and Chandra Bhan Prasad), was published in July 2014 by Random House India.


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


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, he is the author of City Futures: Confronting the Crisis of Urban Development (2008), and 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 has recently been appointed as co-lead author of the Urban Chapter for the International Panel on Social Progress.


MA (Urban Design) Graduate School of Design, Harvard University


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 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 was the Executive Director of the Urban Design Research Institute (UDRI), where he is now a Trustee and has taught at the University of Michigan and at the School of Architecture and Urban Planning at MIT. He is a member of the steering committee of the South Asia Initiative at Harvard, and curates their series on Urbanization. He currently is leading a university wide research project with Professor Diana Eck, called The Kumbh Mela – Mapping the Ephemeral City.


His current 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 co-authoring Bombay—The Cities Within, which covers the city’s urban history from the 1600s to the present; Banganga—Sacred Tank; Public Places Bombay; Anchoring a City Line, a history of the city’s commuter railway; and Bombay to Mumbai—Changing Perspectives.