Urban Policy Dialogues 2015

20-21 Aug, 2015  |  IIHS Bengaluru City Campus

In 2014, the Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS) held the first iteration of an annual workshop on urban public policy. This August, we hold the second iteration of Urban Policy Dialogues to once again bring together policy makers, practitioners, academics, urban residents, and representatives of civil society and social movements to discuss, debate and engage with communities of practice across urban sectors.


With the launch of national flagship policy programmes in June 2015, the UPD 2015 is themed to help address the challenges of effective implementation on ground. The theme, therefore, is “From Policy to Implementation.” The focus of the two-day event will be on translating policies to action and impact on the ground, and assessing what can enable or hinder this translation. In a particularly dynamic urban policy moment, this is a critical focus as several urban programmes are transitioning into implementation mode.


The workshop is organised around four cross-sectoral themes specific to implementation challenges. Participants will engage these themes as they apply within and affect five sectors of urban practice.


The dialogues are imagined as a focused, intensive workshop. Participation is by invitation only. However, the public lecture, prior to the event is open to all and the details can be found here

The four cross-cutting themes are:

  • Integrated Urban Planning:The emergent urban policy landscape from AMRUT to Smart Cities requires a fundamental change in planning processes and instruments towards integration. Technology is one medium that is being proposed as a means to realise such integration in practice. This thematic focuses on different ways to operationalise and sustain integrated urban planning across not just technological and data platforms, but institutions, policy and planning instruments, sectors, and practitioners.
  • Evidence and Knowledge:This thematic asks participants to gauge specific gaps in the current state of knowledge in their sector that directly or indirectly impact implementation. This can range from the lack of scientific or technical knowledge; particular absences in knowledge about regions, places, or sites; inadequate or missing data; or even the lack of inter-disciplinary or inter-sectoral movement of knowledge, to take a few examples.
  • Rethinking Participation: One of the most enduring challenges of effective implementation is what is known in different circles as stakeholder participation, community participation or even participatory development. The critiques of co-option, rubber stamping, and even manipulation are well known yet there have also been cases of successful mobilisation and participation of non-state actors in governance processes. How do we re-think participation from a perspective of effective implementation?
  • Institutional Capacity:If a diversity of actors are responsible for reaching desired policy outcomes, the question of their capacity to do so becomes paramount. These themes looks not just at the capacity of the state, but also of market and civil society institutions to assess whether different actors have the capacity (economic, intellectual, technical, financial, political) to deliver on their roles.


These themes will be discussed in the following sectors:

  • Land
  • Housing
  • Transport
  • Water and Sanitation
  • Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction

The Urban Policy Dialogues 2015 will be held August 20th and 21st, 2015

IIHS Bengaluru City Campus
No. 197/36, 2nd Main Road
Bengaluru 560 080. India

tel: +91 80 6760 6666
fax: +91 80 2361 6814

Urban Policy Dialogues 2015 : Session Plan
Day 1 | 20 August 2015
09:30 – 11:00 Session 1:
Urbanisation: Trends and Policy Questions for India
11:00 – 11:30 Tea Break
11:30 – 12:30Session 2:
From Policy to Implementation – Framing the cross-cutting themes:1)      Rethinking Participation
2)     Evidence and Knowledge
3)     Institutional Capacity
4)     Integrated Urban Planning
12:30 – 14:00Lunch Break
14:00 – 15:30Session 3:
Learning from Sectors – Implementation Challenges and Responses
(Parallel Sessions)i)       Land
ii)      Housing
iii)    Transportation
iv)    Water and Sanitation
v)      Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction
15:30 – 16:00Tea Break
16:00 – 17:30Session 4:
Learning from Sectors (Contd.)
(Parallel Sessions) i)      Land
ii)      Housing
iii)    Transportation
iv)    Water and Sanitation
v)      Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction

Session 5:
(Parallel Sessions)Learning from Sectors – Preparations for Group Presentations for  Plenary Session on Day 2
20:00Workshop Dinner
Day 2 | 21 August 2015
10:00 -11:00Session 1:
Learning from Sectors – Implementation Challenges and Responses
Presentations by Sector Groups
11:00 – 11:30Tea Break
11:30 – 12:15Session 2:
Learning from Sectors – Implementation Challenges and Responses (Contd.)
Presentations by Sector Groups
12:15 – 13:00Session 3:

Reflections on Implementation
Theme 1: Re-thinking Participation

13:00 – 14:00Lunch
14:00 – 14:45Session 4:
Reflections on Implementation
Theme 2: Evidence and Knowledge
14: 45 – 15:30Session 5:
Reflections on Implementation
Theme 3: Institutional Capacity 
15:30 – 16:00Tea Break
16:00 – 16:45Session 6:
Reflections on Implementation
Theme 4: Integrated Urban Planning
16:45 – 17:30Session 7:
Conclusion and Next Steps

Taming cities or repoliticising urban policy?
Prof. Adriana Allen

19 August 2015 | 6.30 pm | IIHS Bengaluru City Campus


Cities can be understood as the product of multiple taming practices and strategies, ranging from the domestication of nature to secure key resources, to the disciplining of the relational and organizational structures and behaviours that shape everyday urban life. But cities are also profoundly untameable because they are a complex and often unintelligible web of policy-driven and everyday practices that produce them in fundamentally political ways.


In this presentation I navigate through this web exploring a repertoire of urban policies applied in two Latin American metropolises (Lima and Mexico) through a number of favorite taming narratives: from the containment of urban sprawl through zero growth pacts, service non-provision, and payment for ecosystem services to risk mitigation and land titling policies. The talk explores how these policy narratives and interventions try to act upon seemingly undesirable trajectories of socio-economic and environmental change though often perpetuating and reproducing what is deemed as ‘undesirable’ in the first place.


Adriana Allen is Professor of Development Planning and Urban Sustainability at The Bartlett Development Planning Unit (DPU), University College London, where she leads the Research Cluster on Environmental Justice, Urbanisation and Resilience (EJUR). Originally trained as a planner in Argentina, she specialised over the years in the fields of urban environmental planning and political ecology.