India’s urbanisation is the second largest rural-to-urban transition in human history. IIHS, and the proposed IIHS Institution of Eminence (IIHS IOE), are premised on addressing two core challenges that this transition presents:
- the need for new knowledge that can challenge traditional disciplinary boundaries while remaining rooted in Indian realities; and
- the need for a new generation of interdisciplinary urban scholars and practitioners who have the right skills and perspectives to tackle the ‘wicked problems’ of the 21st century.
These challenges remind us that urbanisation is not simply a demographic transition. It is fundamentally changing India’s economy, society, culture, natural and built environments, as well as politics. Put simply: India’s national development hinges on urbanisation being handled with wisdom.
Teaching and learning at IIHS are designed to address precisely these challenges through a transformation of urban education. In India, historically, urban education has been mistakenly reduced to just the spatial sciences of planning, architecture and design. Currently, India’s higher education system has no professional programme built around interdisciplinary skills (straddling engineering, architecture, urban design, planning, ecology, economics, politics, law, the arts and other social sciences) that can respond to the complexity of urbanisation. This has been compounded by the deep disconnect between theory and practice in universities, leading to knowledge that is neither rooted nor alive in its implementation.
Change must begin here. India needs a new generation of urban professionals. Yet the challenge is not just to train more practitioners, but also to train them differently.
To create knowledge relevant for India’s national development as well as its diverse contexts and cultures, the proposed IIHS IOE is designed around a globally benchmarked, interdisciplinary curriculum that is delivered through a new degree: Urban Practice.
IIHS began with a three-year-long process that brought together global and international partners to create a globally-benchmarked, future-oriented, interdisciplinary curriculum for this proposed new degree. This Curriculum sits across IIHS’ five interdisciplinary schools, its proposed Doctoral, Master’s and Bachelor’s programmes, as well as the current nine-month, full-time, taught certificate fellowship, the Urban Fellows Programme.