Planning Indian Cities
Utilities and the Futilities of the Master Plan

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Programme Date: 12 – 14 August 2015 | IIHS Bangalore City Campus

Workshop Description

Cities and urban areas in India are planned by an assorted selection of accumulated practices arrived through colonialism, international consultants, bureaucracy, development agencies, and planning schools. One of the key instruments among these practices is the Master Plan (or the Development Plan) the main statutory instrument that has been at the receiving end of wide range critique during the past three decades or more. Critiques have highlighted the lack of participation, implementation and enforcement failures, unrealistic urban projections, crudeness of the instrument compared to the multiple shades of urban reality, partisan nature of its constituents, and lack of authority, and so on. Moreover, violations dominate the urban landscape than compliance to the Plan.

Further a wide range of other planning practices have been deployed in India in the past decades that has further reduced its significance, for example the urban renewal missions, the infrastructure development plans, urban poverty programs, sectoral plans, new towns and other policies. Even now, as the only statutory planning instrument instituted by the planning law, the Master Plan continues to be produced in Indian cities as a routine and unsuccessfully attempts to coordinate India’s urban transformation; it appears as though we are unable to contextualize this vintage institutional relic from colonial and post independent planning in India.

This 3-day workshop on Challenges for Planning and Planning Challenges in India will therefore critically and productively engage the Master Plan within the planning process to examine its challenges, potentials and possibilities.  This will be contextualized using the major transformations in planning theory and practice across the world. Many Indian and international case studies will be part of this intense, experiential and case-based learning program.

Learner profile
  1. Planners working with States’ Directorate of Town Planning, Development Authorities, Urban Local Bodies
  2. Planners working with the consultancy firms
  3. Final Year Masters’ Students pursuing Urban Planning or related discipline
  4. PhD students working on planning in India but with Planning practice Experience
Current challenges
  • Unilateral approach to urban planning
  • Lack of understanding of the historical and theoretical context of Planning in India and abroad
  • Gap between urban development patterns and plan objectives
  • Increasing role of non-state actors, non-plan interventions and post-facto regularisations
  • Lack of exposure to different approaches of urban planning
  • Outdated curriculum/ syllabus in the Planning Schools
Key Learners Achievements
  • Introduction to reflexively and creatively shaping the statutory planning process
  • Ability to critically appreciate the challenges and possibilities of the Master Plan
  • Ability to understand planning practice as a productive relationship between politics, policy, institution, instrument and practitioners
  • Critically distinguish Planning as political process from planning as bureaucratic process
  • Ability to understand the relationship between planning practice and context- through exposure to other planning regimes and practices in the world
  • Exposure to key moments in planning thought and practice

The workshop will have the following – thematic lectures, case study presentations, guest presentation/lectures, participant discussion sessions, group exercise. Participants, in groups, will be expected to work on specific cases developed for this workshop. In addition to this primary case, participants will be exposed to a number of Indian case studies and international planning examples. Given the on-ground experience of participants in the sector, the workshop will have an underlying component of peer to peer learning.

Workshop Structure
Day 1: Session 1

Challenging/vexing/ questions from planning


Sharing of questions and challenging experience by individual participants

Day 2: Session 5

Planning the Urban Transformation in India: Contours of Transformation

Lecture 2

Day 3: Session 9

Understanding Planning Power, and Role and Possibility of Planning: Epistemological Challenges, Planning Policy, Institution Design, Instrument, and Process

Lecture 3

Day 1: Session 2

Contours of Planning Theory and Practice: Philosophes, Geographies and Practices

Lecture 1

Day 2: Session 6 Day 3: Session 10

Group work consolidation

Case based planning group exercise


Case based planning group exercise


Case based planning group exercise


Case based planning group exercise


Case based planning group exercise


Case based planning group exercise


Day 1: Session 3

Reflecting on challenging/vexing Experience of planning in India.

Case study -1

Guest Lecture

Day 2: Session 7

Reflecting on challenging/vexing Experience of planning in India-

Case study -2

Guest Lecture

Day 3: Session 11

Presentation and discussion of group exercise (30 minutes for each group)

Day 1: Session 4

International Case studies presentation and discussion

International Planning example – 1 Day 2: Session 8


Case studies presentation and discussion

International Planning example – 4 Day 3: Session 11 (Contd.)

Presentation and discussion of group exercise (30 minutes for each group)

International Planning example – 2 International Planning example – 5
International Planning example – 3 International Planning example – 6 Day 3: Session 12

Final Plenary – Lessons Sharing and Discussion

Faculty Profile

Jayaraj Sundaresan

jayaraj-sundaresanJayaraj Sundaresan has more than 15 years of experience in Urban Planning and Design. Presently he is an Associate at the University College London and visiting faculty at the IIHS in Bangalore. Jayaraj researches on how policy, planning, design and local political practices transform urban India. He has a PhD in Regional and Urban Planning Studies (LSE) and an MSc in Cities Program (LSE) and Masters in Urban Design and Planning (CEPT).  He has taught at the IIHS, LSE and UCL as well as worked as Planner and Urban Designer in India and London.

Devi Kalyani

Devi KalyaniDevi works in the Practice team at IIHS and brings 13 years of experience of working with the public sector, both in terms of central and state governments of India through various platforms such as the City Managers Association Karnataka (CMAK), Infrastructure Development Finance Company (IDFC Foundation) and Space Matrix Design Consultants.

Her areas of work include – supporting Nirmala Nagar Programme focusing on Solid Waste Management for preparation of action plans and implementation support, research and documentation of practices in the area of urban management and Governance and adaptation of these practices in similar context in the State of Karnataka. PPP advisory services for Urban, Transportation Tourism, & Health Sectors in developing project structuring, basic financial model, bid process management and contract management, client co-ordination and delivery of outputs. She has also headed a team in a start-up for developing systems and process in the area of infrastructure and planning. She developed marketing, branding and sales strategy in urban planning and design, resource planning, financial management, and outreach.

At IIHS, her role involves the programme level management tasks – setting up systems and processes, implementing strategic plans, support the Urban Practitioners Programme in organizing workshops and training. At IIHS she is involved in projects such as Land Record Management and E-Governance covering states of Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh and Haryana; Scoping Exercise to Support Sustainable Urban Sanitation in Tamil Nadu and Decision, Implementation and Social and economic impacts of climate risk induced resettlement in urban areas. Her areas of work includes Community Engagement and field work in the area of Land, Governance, livelihoods, planning and infrastructure services. Devi holds both a Masters and Bachelors degree in Architecture from the University of Mysore.

Geetika Anand

Geetika AnandTrained as an Urban and Social Planner, Geetika has over eight years of experience in the development sector. Her areas of interest include spatial planning, planning legislation, housing, water and sanitation. She has experience of working with diverse set of agencies including the government, education institutions, NGOs, CBOs, private sector and the community. Geetika has taught as a visiting faculty at School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi.

Her recent assignments include research on urban water and sanitation from the lens of exclusion; studying state of development controls in Delhi; supporting geo-spatial analysis for the state of Odisha and selected cities; making short films on urban water and sanitation; baseline study for a sanitation and livelihood intervention in Katihar, Bihar; policy brief for urban sanitation in Bihar; co-authoring a chapter on urban housing in the India Exclusion Report; a sustainability analysis of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission; and technical support to Bangalore Development Authority for Master Planning. Other key assignments include research and public consultations for rural habitat policy; preparation of project profiles for rural tourism for the Government of Rajasthan; preparation of city development plans for four cities in Madhya Pradesh; writing sustainable rural habitat case studies for Lok Awaas Yatra organised by Development Alternatives; conducting and documenting ‘Community Led Total Sanitation Workshops’ for World Bank and UNICEF.

At IIHS, Geetika works across the academic, research and practice teams. Geetika holds a degree in B. Planning from SPA and has done her Masters in Social Policy and Development from London School of Economics.

Sahil Sasidharan

Sahil SasidharanSahil Sasidharan is an Architect Planner working with the Urban Practitioners’ Programme at IIHS. His work at the Institute cuts across research and practice teams and his research interests focus around the themes of Land, Governance and Housing. Sahil was Planning Officer at the Master Plan Unit of Delhi Development Authority, where he assisted DDA’s planners, lawyers and a team of economists from NCAER in formulating the city’s newly notified Land Pooling Policy. Additionally, he was handling various inter-governmental queries around provisions of the Master Plan of Delhi-2021, and was also involved in public participation processes conducted as part of an ongoing Plan Review. He has also worked at Emaar MGF, a real estate major in Gurgaon where he was a part of the Central Design Team responsible for large-scale residential and mixed-use development across the country.

At IIHS, his work includes research on Land, Governance and Housing, ranging from studying land record management in various states; understanding metropolitan governance and decentralisation in Hyderabad; studying planning policy around land and development control regulations in Delhi; engaging with the government of Karnataka on their affordable housing policy and exploring alternative strategies for land assembly, with a focus on land readjustment as a technique. Sahil holds a Masters degree in Planning with a specialization in Housing from the School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi.

Workshop Fee

Working Professionals: INR 12,000/-
Group of 3 or more Professionals : INR 10,000/- per person
Students: INR 8,000/-

Early Bird: Limited seats in both categories get a 15% discount. HURRY!!!

Important Dates

12 – 14 August 2015 | IIHS Bangalore City Campus
Last date for applications and payments – 5 August , 2015

Course fee will include reading material, refreshments and lunch for all 3 days. Participants will have to make their own arrangements for travel to and from the venue, as well as their accommodation and dinner.