Urban ARC 2020 | Equal Cities

IIHS Annual Research Conference  |  16 – 18 January 2020

This fourth edition of Urban ARC, the Annual Research Conference of the Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS) will focus on the conceptual, theoretical and practical understanding of notions of equality and equity in the context of a rapidly urbanising world. More than 55 per cent of the world’s population now lives in urban regions (United Nations, 2018). In particular, urbanisation has rapidly increased in low- and middle-income countries in Asia and Africa, sometimes more than three or four times in the last 50 years (ibid). However, urban areas are now more unequal than they were 20 years ago: although cities have emerged as global economic platforms for production, innovation and trade, 75 per cent of the world’s cities have higher levels of income inequalities than two decades ago (UN Habitat, 2016). This is compounded by persistent challenges around urban growth and employment, affordable housing, and service provision as well as the emergence of newer concerns around climate change, growing insecurity and international migration.


While urban regions across the world present some of the most complex challenges with regard to environmental, economic, and social sustainability, they also offer some of the greatest opportunities. In recent years, global policy processes have also recognised the role that cities must play – the New Urban Agenda from Habitat III, the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, the IPCC 1.5C Special Report, the U-20 development agenda have all acknowledged the necessity for cities and urban regions to play a stronger role in tackling environmental, social, and economic challenges.  This has led to an urgent call to understand and address its inherent challenges.


Research on the urban has grappled with the conceptual nature of equality and equity as well as their everyday manifestations in lived experiences within urban agglomerations. Debates around equity in cities have engaged with a wide range of themes – around questions of identity (through the politics of race, or caste, for example), around issues of income inequality and poverty, on the implication of and the relationship between emergence of new forms of work and employment on the urban (through the ‘gig’ economy, for instance), spatial inequality, access to affordable housing and segregated cities, to mention a few. These have also often been determined by disciplinary boundaries and methodological approaches.


Urban ARC 2020 aims to build on these debates, and provide a space to contest, deliberate and engage in conversations on how to make our cities more equitable. We encourage submissions that engage with notions of equity and equality through a range of lenses, across theory and praxis, across geographical and spatial contexts, and discipline and methodologies. In doing so, ‘Equal Cities’ aims to address questions of equality and equity from various disciplinary spaces, emphasising cross-disciplinary and inter-sectoral approaches across the three days of the conference.


The format of the conference will be as follows:

16 January 2020 17 January 2020 18 January 2020
Session 1:

9:30 – 11:00

Registration (can continue all day) Paper presentations Paper presentations
Break: 11:00 to 11:30
Session 2:

11:30 – 1:00

Paper presentations Paper presentations Paper presentations
Lunch: 1:00 to 2:30
Session 3:

2:30 – 4:00

Paper presentations Paper presentations Invited Panel
Break: 4:00 to 4:30
Session 4:

4:30 – 6:00

Invited Panel Paper presentations Conference ends at 4:30


The length of each panel/session will be 90 minutes with 4-5 papers and will have a designated scholar who will frame the panel and serve as chair.


Dates and Procedures:

9 November 2019 Deadline for Submitting Abstracts
30 November 2019 Announcement of Selected Papers
5 January 2020 Submission of Completed Papers
16 – 18 January 2020 Urban ARC 2020


Please note that abstracts have to be submitted with the following guidelines:

  1. Full title and name and institutional affiliation of the author.
  2. Complete end-text and in-text referencing in APA format.


Abstracts not in the prescribed format will not be considered for inclusion in the conference proceeding.



Urban ARC 2020 will be held at the Indian Institute for Human Settlements’ Bengaluru City Campus (BCC), 2nd Main Road, Sadashivanagar,
Bengaluru – 560 080.


Financial Support:

Limited Financial Support is available for early career scholars. Participants wishing to avail of support must contact research@iihs.ac.in



All copyright for original work will lie with the author. IIHS will use material only with prior permission.


About the Indian Institute for Human Settlements:

The Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS) is a national education institution committed to the equitable, sustainable and efficient transformation of Indian settlements. More details about IIHS, its research, practice, and work can be found at iihs.co.in.

Limited funding is available for early career researchers. Please indicate if you will need conference funding.

Extended Abstract: (1500-2500 words, including references). *

Please note that abstracts have to be submitted with the following guidelines:

1. Full title and name and institutional affiliation of the author.
2. Complete end-text and in-text referencing in APA format.

(Please upload PDF or Word files of less than 2 MB size)