Urban Practitioners’ Programme

The Urban Practitioners’ Programme (UPP) is an education and capacity building programme for urban practitioners spanning across disciplines and levels in public, private, academic and civil society sectors. IIHS believes that a city’s transformation rests largely on the collective endeavours of practitioners who confront challenges through an informed, reflexive and creative manner.


The teaching programmes at IIHS offer institutions and practitioners new frameworks of knowledge, backed by a cohesive package of skills. These programmes bear a unique focus on practice in Indian cities and are taught by a dynamic group of internal faculty, and academic and professional advisors.


The UPP portfolio spans across sectors, disciplines and scales of practice and seeks to intervene at three levels:

  • Strategic perspectives and orientation of the practitioner to urban challenges
  • Knowledge frameworks employed to appraise such challenges
  • Execution skills to tackle them effectively and sustainably


UPP collaborates with key institutions in the urban sphere for various training and capacity-building programmes. It conducts workshops and courses in thematic areas such as Affordable Housing, Urban Water Supply and Sanitation, Geospatial Technology, Building Resilience to Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction. Under these partnerships, UPP has trained public sector functionaries across hierarchies and geographies in India.

The UPP has crossed a major milestone of training more than 11,600 learners, since its inception in 2010.

UPP Thematic Areas
UPP conducts courses across multiple urban themes with an interdisciplinary lens to train practitioners, managers and administrators from diverse backgrounds.

Atal Bihari Vajpayee Institute of Good Governance and Policy Analysis (AIGGPA)

IIHS conducted a capacity building programme aimed at developing the capacity of newly recruited Advisors of AIGGPA to be able to formulate research questions and identify appropriate research methods, work with data, analyse and visualise data in their sectors of work, that will eventually enable them to support the objectives of AIGGPA. The programme consisted of two workshops with interim structured support and post-course assessment. The programme also provided mentoring support to participants. As part of the post-course assessment, participants submitted results/outputs from their various sectors of work—project reports, research studies or policy briefs and were assessed on their capability to formulate research design, perform data analysis and produce good quality final outputs.

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmBH

IIHS conducted a workshop on Integrated Regional and Land-Use Planning and Management for planners from the Directorate of Town and Country Planning (DTCP) of the state of Tamil Nadu for the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmBH. Facilitators from IIHS, along with guest faculty from SPA, Bhopal offered a diverse range of domestic and international experience in various fields including urban and regional planning, urban infrastructure and services, and capacity building for the urban sector. The objective of the training programme was to develop a comprehensive and inter-disciplinary training module, materials, and domestic and international case studies that can be used for capacity building on land use planning and management, to develop skills and capacity in using spatial technology in land use planning and management including overview of the planning processes, methods, leadership skills for coordinating, contracting and implementation of the plans, developing training of trainers (ToT) manuals to train a set of local trainers who can continue to conduct training programmes for other trainers and learners when required and enable sustained learning.

DoPT, Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievance and Pensions, Government of India

The DoPT has included a course titled Capacity Building Programme on Urban Development conducted by IIHS in its training calendar from 2017-18. The course is held for In-Service Training of Officers of the All India Services (IAS, IPS & IFoS), officers working under Central Staffing Scheme and officers of the Central Secretariat Service and Central Secretariat Stenographer Service (DS/Sr. PPS and above). The programme focuses on urban development, not only as a physical infrastructure problem, but also as one affecting human development, life outcomes, and health and education.


IIHS conducted a series of workshops in schools and colleges and for Ericsson staff in various locations in India to raise awareness of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and to encourage participants towards action-oriented thinking using the SDGs as a goal-oriented framework.

Government of Karnataka

IIHS has been partnered with Government of Karnataka for various housing and urban development projects namely Karnataka Affordable Housing Policy, Karnataka Slum Area Development Policy, Promoting ‘Residential REITs’ and Rental Management Companies for Enhancing and Sustaining the Supply of Rental Housing, Knowledge Partnership for Preparation of Revised Master Plan of Bangalore – 2031, Capacity Building for Affordable Housing and Sustainable Municipal Financing for the Urban local bodies of Karnataka. IIHS has conducted capacity building programmes on Rajiv Awas Yojana (NRC_RAY) as part of the roll-out and implementation of the RAY, IIHS has trained ULB, KSDB and other officials covering guidelines on RAY, creation of SFCPoA, creating DPRs etc. IIHS in partnership with SIUD has conducted a workshop on affordable housing aimed to develop the knowledge and practice capability of government staff involved in the provision and management of housing in urban areas.   Part of the Karnataka Rental Housing Policy work IIHS convened a series of consultations including a national level round-table consultation to understand the experiences of other states in implementing their housing policies and to explore the possibility of implementing them in Karnataka.

India Disaster Resilience Leadership Fellowship

In partnership with TISS, IIHS conducted the India Disaster Resilience Leadership Fellowship 2019. This fellowship was aimed to strengthen leadership and build the capacity of practitioners, where they can make effective contributions towards risk reduction and resilience building. TISS and IIHS collaborated in developing teaching and learning material that focussed on disaster resilience leadership in India. The engagement was in partnership with George Washington University’s Institute for Disaster and Fragility Resilience (GWU-IFDR) and was supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF). IIHS led the concentration on “Urban Risk and Resilience,” offering the fellows support to develop and implement an Action Plan for disaster resilience in urban areas. The 4-month long fellowship was structured around two residential workshops (each one week long), with the intervening 12 weeks being time for the fellows to implement their action plans.

Jal Jeevan Mission (Rural)

IIHS is a Key Resource Centre (KRC) for the MInistry of Jal Shakti (MoJS), and has been selected to conduct capacity building programmes for the middle and senior management levels on different topics of relevance for the mission implementation. Capacity building was a key focus for the Mission. As a KRC, IIHS conducted a range of programmes on workshops on diverse topics such as infrastructure development, augmentation of existing water sources for reliable drinking water supply, technological interventions in water quality improvement through water treatment, scaling up the distribution network, delivery of service level benchmarks, grey water management, disaster risk management, building climate resilient structures and creating a sustainable structural framework. The capacity building programmes emphasised field visits, peer learning and implementation strategies among states and Union Territories in water supply systems.

Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration, Mussoorie

IIHS has partnered with Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration, Mussoorie to curate the urbanisation related sessions and workshops for the different phases of training done for the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officers. IIHS also facilitated an international immersion trip on comparative urbanisation to South Africa for senior IAS officers.


The sessions include providing basic services in urban areas, affordable housing, urban governance, urban finance, urban land governance and integrated planning. The sessions are taught by IIHS faculty and senior IAS officers using relevant Indian and international cases. The critical role that urbanisation plays in delivering outcomes that are important for the nation and the planet came out during these sessions.

Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Government of India

IIHS has been empanelled by MoHUA to provide training programmes to Municipal Functionaries and Elected Representatives under the Integrated Capacity Building Programme (ICBP) for its flagship urban missions viz., AMRUT, PMAY-U, SBM, NULM, SCM and HRIDAY. So far IIHS has supported the ICBP activities of the Governments of Assam, Goa, Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan, and Tamil Nadu. The 9-day programme conducted in 3 modules aims to enhance the functional knowledge of officials about the mission and its implementation, strengthen job-related skills, and change the attitude of municipal functionaries’. As part of these trainings, IIHS has dealt with a range of topics such as Affordable Housing, Planning Indian Cities, Solid Waste Management, Rainwater Harvesting, Geographical Information Systems, Green Buildings, Water Supply and Sanitation, Sewage and Septage Management, Urbanisation in India, Environmental Sustainability, Sustainable development Goals, Project Management, Contract Management and Urban Transport.

National Institute of Urban Affairs

IIHS is one of the first training institutes empanelled by MoHUA under their Capacity Building Programme for Urban development. IIHS coordinates with NIUA (being the designated strategic partner of the MoHUA in capacity building) in its capacity as a training institute on a regular basis to complete the training cycle. IIHS conducted a third-party evaluation for NIUA on AMRUT reforms implementation in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab. IIHS also conducted the NIUA’s phase IV of the Solid Waste Management exposure workshops for the urban local body officials of Karnataka and Kerala under the Swachh Bharat Mission.

United Nations Development Programme

IIHS partnered with UNDP to equip urban practitioners to build resilience through the integration of CCA and DRR practice with a human development focus. The objective was to design and implement CCA, DRR and development plans, policies and programmes across different sectors and scales such that they reduce the vulnerability of people, assets (natural and built) and businesses to climate and disaster risks.


IIHS Urban Practitioners’ Programme

Learner Testomonial
Understanding the Urban through Films

Protecting and Managing
Living Urban Heritage