Swastik Harish

Senior Lead - Urban Practitioners' Programme | sharish at iihs dot ac dot in

2001    BArch, School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi

Countries: India
States: NCT of Delhi, Karnataka, Kerala
Cities: Bengaluru, Delhi, Wayanad
Languages: English, Hindi

At IIHS, Swastik leads the Urban Practitioners’ Programme (UPP) – the capacity building and training function as well as the Design Lab. His focus areas of research and practice include housing for the urban poor in India, heritage planning and management, data visualisation and urban infrastructure provision.


Swastik is qualified as an architect from the School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi. He founded the architecture design consultancy Anagram Architects in Delhi. He led and was faculty in Architecture Design studios at several colleges such as the Sushant School of Art and Architecture, Gurugram, the School of Planning and Architecture, Vijayawada and the Department of Architecture, BMS College of Engineering, Bengaluru. After leaving Anagram Architects, Swastik worked independently for more than a decade, providing architectural and design services to a variety of clients including art professionals, multinational manufacturing firms and individuals. During his independent practice, Swastik has completed apartments, houses, factories and several art installations.


At IIHS, Swastik’s focus areas of research and practice include housing for the urban poor in India, heritage planning and management, data visualisation, and urban infrastructure provision. In the field of housing studies and practice, he has made significant contributions to the understanding and potential applications of rental housing, for which he has also been cited in the 2015 draft National Urban Rental Housing Policy of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Government of India. His work on housing and urban development has been closely associated with Central and state government programmes in research and policy advisory capacities. He was a core team member tasked with supporting the Government of Karnataka to formulate the affordable housing and slum development policies.


Teaching is a key focus of Swastik’s engagement with urban development in India. Swastik’s core responsibility in the UPP is that of teaching across sectors such as housing, slum development, urban infrastructure provision, heritage planning and management, and data visualisation. His research on housing and rental housing has been published in the Economic and Political Weekly, the Administrator (the journal of the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration), and the journal of the India International Centre, Delhi, among others.


Swastik’s practice areas focus on the intersection of architecture and the development sector. Design Lab is an architecture and spatial design focussed group at IIHS and Swastik leads projects on healthcare systems and infrastructure for the governments of Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh. His work also extends to campus development planning for the Government of Tamil Nadu’s urban training institute, the Tamil Nadu Institute for Urban Studies, and policy advisory for sustainable housing for the International Finance Corporation.


Swastik is a keen technologist, with expertise in open source operating systems and software, as well as geospatial platforms. He has made several short films within IIHS and earlier on development sector practices, in which he has directed, edited, managed sound and music, written scripts, and handled cameras. Swastik has been a theatre professional with 10 years of experience as an actor, director, set designer, sound designer and multimedia content creator. He is an avid reader of ancient and modern history, and science fiction.

Research Projects at IIHS

2017-19 Tacit Urban Knowledge Network
2016-17 Promoting ‘Residential REITs’ and Rental Management Companies for Enhancing and Sustaining the Supply of Rental Housing, Aspects of Capital and Finance, and Management
2013-14 Planning, ‘Violations’ and Urban Inclusion
2012-14 Urban Knowledge Network Asia (UKNA)


Practice Projects at IIHS

2017-2019 Revamp of OPD & ED of 10 District Hospitals in Uttar Pradesh
2017-18 Policy Advisory for Sustainable Housing
2016-17 Preliminary Development Plan for TNIUS
2015-17 Design Guidelines for ANM Sub-Centres, PHCs, and CHCs in Karnataka
2015-16 Karnataka Affordable Housing Policy
2013-14 India Urban Policy Support Partnership


  • Harish, S. (2018). Housing and the state: Lessons from practice. In R. Mehrotra & K. Mehta (Eds.), Housing in India: Aspirations, imaginaries and realities (p. 168-169). Mumbai: UDRI/Architecture Foundation.
  • Harish, S., Mangrulkar, A., & Sivashankar, M. (2018, March). The use of primary healthcare infrastructure in Karnataka. Paper presented in the International Conference on Urban Sustainability: Emerging Trends, Themes, Concepts & PracticesMalaviya National Institute of Technology Jaipur, India.
  • Harish, S. (2017, February) Public talk on the experiences of bridging practice and policy on housing and slum issues at the State of Housing seminar in Mumbai.




  • Invited to present in workshops organized by the State Institute for Urban Development, ATI Mysore on:
  • Rajiv Awas Yojana (RAY)
  • Urban Heritage
  • Presented my work on rental housing at the IIM Bangalore Conclave on Urban Infrastructure, as part of the track titled “Challenges and opportunities in Affordable Housing- Setting the context for a Policy debate”
  • Presented my work on urban low-income housing twice during my UKNA secondment in Delft Netherlands:
  • At the Department of Architecture, TU Delft for faculty and Masters of Architecture students
  • At the OTB Institute of Housing for senior faculty and researchers