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The IIHS designlab aims to explore the intersections between the development sector and spatial design, within India’s rapidly shifting urban terrain. The driving principle of the designlab is that the sustainability of urban development outcomes can be significantly enhanced by using a lens of design, cognition and aesthetics. This is enabled through an interaction of materiality, context and collaboration, that the lab addresses in its work.

The IIHS designlab’s portfolio includes spatial design and material guidelines, strategic campus planning, master planning and sustainable practices in the built environment including sites, buildings and services.

The IIHS Geospatial Lab does cutting edge work in understanding spatial patterns and relationships in India’s ongoing urban transformation.  The Geospatial Lab supports the Research and Practice programmes at IIHS.  It also puts together learning interventions in the short term and long term training programmes.

The Geospatial Lab is currently working on an Urban Atlas for India that compares land use and land cover changes across three decades for the top 200 cities of India.  The data is integrated with the socio-economic data of the Census of India and other sources.  This project has been designed to address the data gap for provide researchers and practitioners in the country.  We know that urban practitioners in India deal with the some of the most difficult urban challenges in the world.  The intention here is to provide them with a ready and easy to use database to take their work forward.

The IIHS Media Lab was set-up in 2009 as part of the larger institution to engage with questions around the urban through multiple media practices.  The Media Lab is a platform that aides research, teaching and pedagogy inside and outside the classroom; conducts short filmmaking courses that help explore the idea of the city through the digital video and still photography; and holds regular film screenings and conversations with filmmakers whose work has focused around the urban. The Media Lab is also a repository for audio-visual conversations around the urban by leading academics and practitioners.  The IIHS Media Lab is a space where creative expressions on the urban, irrespective of the media form, can be showcased so that multiple ‘ways of seeing’ can lead to a newer and different understanding of the cities that we live in.

The Urban Informatics Lab collates, organizes and disseminates a large amount of quantitative, qualitative, and spatial data related to India’s urbanization. The objective of the lab is to build a series of analyses and visualizations in order to convey key trends about Indian urbanization. It usespublicly available data sets such as the Census, NSSO, Annual Survey of Industries, Landsat, etc., and brings out evidence regarding key areas for IIHS research such as demographics, livelihoods, poverty, urban economy, urban spatial growth, land use change, and sustainability. Urban informatics lab products will be disseminated through various channels including partnerships with print and online media, web-based applications and IIHS working paper series.

The Word Lab at IIHS has been set up to communicate the diverse forms of writing and knowledge production at IIHS to a wide public readership; to enable the IIHS community to write more effectively in diverse media; and to systematise a regular flow of publications and knowledge production. The Lab manages IIHS’ two central public knowledge platforms (the Knowledge Gateway as well as the IIHS Forum); produces its flagship bi-annual journal Urbanisation; curates critical readers in urban practice; organises an annual urban writing and literature festival; and creates a network of editorial and writing support as well as a culture of reading and intellectual exchange for the IIHS community.

As it grows, the Lab is focused on creating new content and forms of writing and publication that can navigate the difficulties of interdisciplinary writing that bridges the theory-praxis divide as well as to translating knowledge across linguistic boundaries by publishing fluently across multiple languages.