Programme for Working Professionals in Urban Development (PWP-UD)

The Programme for Working Professionals in Urban Development (PWP-UD) was offered by IIHS in 2012 as an interdisciplinary, practice based, full-time, eight-month certificate programme for early and mid-career working professionals who want to augment their competencies and professional worth and add significant value to or change their career tracks. The PWP-UD 2012-13 ran from October 2012 to June 2013 and attracted a range of professionals from the private sector (e.g. Tata Consultancy Services); public enterprises (e.g. HUDCO), trade unions and NGOs (e.g. SEWA) and a range of practicing self-employed professionals from a wide range of disciplines from management, engineering and architecture, to finance, law and economics.


The PWP-UD 2012 was structured across three terms – Foundation, Concentration, Elective and Project Terms – that mirrored the pedagogic philosophy of the Masters programme.

The first term of the PWP-UD builds a foundation for learners by introducing key concepts, tools, trends and debates within urban development. It introduces learners to the basic building blocks necessary for every urban practitioner regardless of either their previous academic training and work experience or their future career aspirations. The term acts as a base for inter-disciplinary learning as it covers a range of key focus areas like governance, infrastructure, built environment, urban economy and highlights the synergies and connections among them. The diagram below illustrates the key components of the term.


The Foundation Term enables learners coming from diverse backgrounds and work experience to acquire a common shared vocabulary of the “urban” to use in later terms. Learners will explore and understand different ‘lenses’ (spatial, political, economic, infrastructural and environmental) through which to read the city. Importantly, the Term encourages learners to learn the basics of analysing human settlements using tools and concepts other than what they have learnt in their own education and training.


Practice Module I is an integral part of the Foundation Term. In the module, learners acquire a range of research and practice tools like surveys, interviews and participatory methods; as well as learn how to gather, interpret and analyse data. The module has a series of mini skill-labs in spreadsheets, presentations, mapping and diagramming. There will also be a series of sessions on managerial analysis, communications, organisational behaviour and systems thinking. These skills and tools will be linked to real world problems through immersion in various sites across Bengaluru which will help in integrating the learnings from other modules.

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In the 12-week Concentration Term, the learners:

  • Gain in-depth knowledge in specific practice areas
  • Learn methods and advanced management skills for urban practice
  • Work on real-life problems in inter-disciplinary teams through a site-based Practice module
  • Participate in Master Classes taught by thought leaders and senior policy and change makers from India and abroad
  • Do the ground-work for going on exposure visits to Indian and Asian cities

The term is structured into core courses specific to a Concentration Track. Use the links below to navigate through each.


Land and Housing

One only has to look anywhere from news headlines to policy meetings to public protests to realise contestations around land and housing are some of the most difficult challenges facing Indian cities today. This Concentration enables learners to see issues of land and housing from multiple perspectives and equips them with the necessary skills, knowledge and tools towards building equitable, effective and sustainable settlements. It challenges learners to ask: how should we acquire, value, use, manage and develop land in urban areas? What kind of resource is land and to what economic and social ends should it be used? How and by whom should such decisions be made and under what legal, policy and governance frames? How should we balance often competing economic, environmental, social and political claims to land?


Inextricably linked to the question of land are questions of shelter and housing. Indian cities have been described as “slums with cities attached”. How does a future generation of urban practitioners challenge and change this picture? This Concentration uses an integrated approach to housing that sees it not just as shelter, but a workplace, a right, a basic need, a key component of local and national economic development strategies, a commodity to be bought and sold, an expression of culture and identity, as well as a critical part of the built form of a settlement.


Learners choosing this concentration may practice as consultants with expertise in land and housing with government institutions at the local, state and central level engaged in policy formulation and implementation across, for example, JNNURM and RAY; with international development agencies; in housing finance institutions and banks; in architectural and planning firms; with developers and real estate firms/consultancies; or with community-based organisations and NGOs seeking to further affordable housing, and housing and land rights, among others.


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Water and Urban Environmental Services

We are witnessing paradigm shifts in our approach towards planning for water, waste-water, drainage and solid waste management services. The 12th plan document provides ample proof of this shift. The approach proposed in the 12th Plan is far more integrated and holistic and recognizes the inter-connections between water, waste-water, storm-water, urban planning, urban design and solid waste management.


These policy shifts bring forth significant questions about the future of urban environmental services in India that will be the focus of this Concentration. How will Indian cities meet the growing demand for water? Is 24X7 water supply possible for our cities and is it worth aiming for? Can our cities meet their water requirement without triggering serious social and environmental conflicts? How do we deal with the urban waste streams of waste water and solid waste? What is the role of storm-water and groundwater management in relation to water supply and waste-water management?


This Concentration track is aimed at equipping learners with the requisite skills, perspectives and knowledge base needed to address emerging challenges and opportunities in the domain of urban environmental services. In particular, it explores the potential of the Integrated Urban Water Management framework and emerging approaches in urban solid waste management in the context of Indian cities. Learners choosing this concentration will seek careers with various organizations that work in the domain of urban environmental services like infrastructure development and finance companies, municipal agencies, NGOs and international development agencies. They could also play pivotal roles as part of consultancy teams which work on urban infrastructure projects at various scales.


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Development, Poverty, and Employment

Employment is central to any regime of inclusive growth and equitable development, yet its inter-relationships with povery receive proportionately less attention at all scales from local government to international development discourse. Which strategies are most compatible with reducing poverty and increasing livelihood options within different paradigms of economic growth? Which instruments of economic planning and public policy in India can be used to direct investments towards equitable developmental outcomes? As private, public and other actors grapple with the outcomes and dynamics of growth and India prepares to launch several large employment, poverty and social security programmes, learners with the skills, strategies and perspectives to bridge growth, employment and poverty are crucial for India to attain inclusive growth.


This Concentration prepares learners for careers in the intersection of employment, poverty and economic development. Learners in this Concentration will work with a range of multi-lateral, public and private developmental agencies, think-tanks, management consulting firms, CSR initiatives and foundations; play an influential role consulting with line ministries, parastatals, and urban local bodies to develop and implement plans and programmes, as well as join local, regional and national community organisations.


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For learning in the classroom to test itself against the complexity of the real world as well as to begin the transition back to the world of work and practice, the PWP-UD 2013 has a significant emphasis on a two month, supervised and independent individual Project. Projects can be internships or placements with an institution, firm, public agency, an informal association, or take the form of independent practice, research and writing. In each case, each learner comes to an agreement with a member of the IIHS faculty and the institution on a mutually beneficial output that can take varied forms: a conceptual paper, policy brief or analysis, technical reports, spatial plans, business models, technical reports, film and video, among others.

Projects are often closely linked to future placements, giving both the learner and the institution time to assess a fit for longer-term employment. Alternatively, they are an excellent way to immerse oneself into a new sector of practice and test the waters. Returning to the programme after the Project Term allows learners to both reflect on a period of practice as well as identify particular skills or knowledge sets that they need as they make their choices in the Elective Term.

The diversity of projects undertaken by previous learners in the PWP-UD include:

Integrated water resource management – A Case Study of Karnataka State
Institution: HUDCO
Location: Bengaluru and Delhi

Re-visiting SEWA’s Urban Strategy after 40 Years of its Existence and Work
Institution: Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA)
Location: Ahmedabad

Land Procurement and Development: A DMRC Case Study
Institution: Delhi Metro Rail Corporation
Location: Delhi

Livelihoods and Skill Development of Home-based Workers in Kanpur
Institution: HomeNet South Asia
Location: Kanpur

Impact evaluation of JNNURM- BSUP Programme in Kolkata Metropolitan Area
Institution: HUDCO
Location: Kolkata

A study of poverty and vulnerability in relation to homelessness
Institution: Centre for Equity Studies
Location: Delhi

The Elective Term allows learners to take intensive, specific courses in key practice areas. All courses are open to learners regardless of Concentration Track. Learners choose any three (or four with permission) courses of the following.
Slum Upgradation and Redevelopment
This elective focuses on slum upgrading, i.e. the spatial, social, legal and economic transformation of urban poor settlements. Slum upgrading occurs under a range of conditions – as forced and involuntary displacement or varied kinds of participation in public or private redevelopment projects – and can range from in-situ upgradation, proximate (sometimes called near-situ upgradation) or even resettlement to other parts of the city. This elective will be structured around key cases of Indian and international experiences in slum upgrading that will be used to look closely at how upgrading is conceived, designed and practiced in the Indian context. The course will look at upgrading through a series of key questions:

  • On what basis is a developmental trajectory picked for a particular settlement or, in other words, how does one decide what kind of upgradation or resettlement to undertake?
  • Which actors and institutions manage and lead the process?
  • How are terms of eligibility and beneficiary identification determined and implemented?
  • How is upgrading financed?
  • How does upgrading on individual settlements relate to city-level urban development, planning and dynamics?
  • What are the terms of engagement with current residents in terms of rights, entitlements, compensation as well as participation in the process? How is the “success” of an upgrading project measured?


Land Acquisition & Resettlement
The elective offering builds from earlier understandings discussed in the Foundation term on the location of land within the framework of India’s political economy and on the primacy of land in the debates on urbanisation, including rural-urban questions. It will get into legal details under the Indian Constitution as well as specific rules of the game as manifested in relevant state legislation. Key conceptual themes to be addressed include Eminent Domain, land acquisition (especially the latest LARR Bill in Parliament); land transfer, tenurial regimes, land records and titling issues and questions of the commons. Land use regulations and various legal approaches to land use as manifested in various cities will be explored. Some of the recent examples to be examined also include the new Real Estate Regulator Bill (and specific Maharashtra legislation), PPPs, SEZs, DMIC and debates over the Right to the City. An emphasis will be not just on issues but also the role of various actors who play various roles within the complex land debates in the city.


Planning Practices in India
Urban planning in the Indian context has been largely physically deterministic. However, this is now beginning to change, with City Development Plans taking a more holistic, integrated approach. Drawing on existing plans and real-world cases, this course will examine and evaluate the practice of planning in India, looking, for example, at regulations that govern urban space, different types of plans, and their functions. This course will help learners develop an understanding of urban planning in India, and equip them with the tools to critically evaluate different types of planning processes and plan documents.


Urban PPPs in Practice
The course will provide an outline of the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) framework. It will enable an in-depth look at Urban Sector PPPs in India and other developing countries. This will help derive insights for future action in this space. There are focussed sessions on Urban Water, Urban Sewage, Urban Solid Waste and Urban Amenities like Markets, etc. A comprehensive understanding of the present scenario will be provided by a critical overview of services, the role of different stakeholders, key challenges, and regulation status. The learners will work on numerous case studies to ascertain the successes and failures of PPPs in urban development initiatives. They will be encouraged to think through PPP models that are likely to work in the contemporary scenario. To round off the course, environmental and social sustainability issues and new integrated and decentralised approaches will be discussed along with their implications for policy, regulation and institutional structure.


Climate Change Adaptation in Urban Areas
Climate change discussions typically focus on national and international level negotiations and measures that need to be taken at a global scale to help us deal with climate change and its impacts. However, as it has become evident from the increasing intensity and incidence of extreme weather events, the impacts of climate change are being felt more and more at the local level, particularly in cities. This course will focus on how various stakeholders at different scales can help with adapting to as well as mitigating the impacts of climate change. The course will begin by broadly discussing adaptation and mitigation, particularly how both need to be undertaken in parallel rather than in isolation. We will then devote the rest of the course to case-based learning where we will extensively examine the roles that various stakeholders ranging from local governments to private sector actors and civil society can and have played in adaptive measures.


Integrated Urban Disaster Risk Reduction
Indian subcontinent is exposed to various natural hazards such as earthquakes, landslides, floods and cyclones. Moreover unplanned urbanisation resulting in environmental degradation (e.g. deforestation), over-exploitation of natural resources (e.g. water), ecological disturbances (e.g. pollution), and social destitution (e.g. poverty) is increasing vulnerability of cities to disasters. In order to make disaster resilient cities, it is important to adopt an integrated approach that takes into account multiple hazards and vulnerabilities for comprehensive assessment, mitigation and preparedness and integrate disaster risk reduction into sustainable urban development goals. By completing this elective, the learners should gain a sound grasp of disaster management processes in the urban context and be able to:

  • identify and assess disaster risks in the urban context using an integrated approach
  • plan and develop effective strategies and systems for disaster risk reduction
  • formulate effective policies and undertake planning for disaster mitigation and preparedness
  • address and assess key implementation issues and requirements for effective disaster risk management in cities
  • develop specific plans and procedures for emergency preparedness and response through coordination between various stakeholders.


Environmental Planning and Governance
This course will look at which scales are optimal for different institutions, questions of property rights regimes, the intersection of environmental rights with rights to health, livelihood and adequate housing, regimes of environmentalism, strategies of activism, and the role of the judiciary. Issues of land, commons, planning regimes, implementation dilemmas and strategies form part of the course. Using a range of case studies and examples, the course will also examine the politics of these processes, as well as the challenges involved in policy implementation.


Urban Policy Reforms in Practice
The course synthesises in-class learning with applications to the real-world urban reforms. Taking stock of the current nature of governance and institutional arrangements, the course helps learners appreciate the current state of urban services and issues for their improvement. This is followed by familiarisation with the different approaches to urban reforms ranging from incremental approaches to big-ticket changes and the emergent outcomes. Participants use case studies, sectoral and policy analyses, and results of community based participatory exercises to identify opportunities for transformation including those pertaining to the institutional structure of urban governance and service delivery, and interfacing with clients and communities. The course concludes with the identification of entry-points to initiating reforms and sustaining improvements.


This course would carry on from the introductory course and delve into the complex linkages between the sustainable city and its mobility systems. Participants shall learn in-depth about the interconnectivity of mobility and land-use planning and the manner in which it could decide the future growth of Indian cities. Furthermore, participants shall look at in detail, through best case practices around the world, advanced methods in transportation demand management and its relevance to Indian cities.


Real Estate and Property Markets
Real estate and property markets undoubtedly play an increasingly important role in the dynamics of how Indian cities are changing and growing. This course focuses on understanding the Indian real estate market through exploring a set of key questions: how is it structured and regulated? Who are the players? How do market dynamics vary within cities and across different cities and regions? How do new forms of urbanisation such as corridors and SEZs shape the markets? How should firms best organise, act and intervene into such dynamic markets? Where are emerging markets located? How is the market related to the structure of housing finance? How will emergent debates on regulating real estate or attempts to get “industry” or “infrastructure” status for the sector play out?

As a professional, do you find yourself working in increasingly diverse national and international contexts and teams? As each new project begins, do you find yourself needing to quickly assess and act in a new environment under tight deadlines? As an urban resident, have you ever been curious about how other cities have engaged and handled the problems your city faces??


While being located in the particularities of the Indian context is necessary, it is equally important to see how ideas, debates and practices can travel amongst cities. In an increasingly inter-connected world – especially when it comes to global cities – having a comparative perspective is, in fact, a core necessity rather than a luxury for a new generation of urban practitioners.


To develop the skill of learning how to read and understand a new urban environment and quickly move from finding one’s feet to comparative and critical analysis, the PWP-UD curates a series of immersion visits across scale and geography that are spread throughout the course. These are:


  • Immersion Visits within Bengaluru metropolitan region
  • Immersion Visits to towns and cities in Karnataka
  • Immersion Visits to other Indian Cities
  • Immersion Visits to key Asian cities


Lasting from three days to two weeks, the visits are curated and faciltated by IIHS faculty members and IIHS’ partner institutions. They are structured as practice modules where learners investigate a new urban environment, analyse using skillls and perspectives learnt in class-room sessions, and develop skills to develop and present solutions. To aid them, the visits are structured around a range of seminars, meetings and field visits with public officials, experts, academics and scholars, civil society actors and practitioners in different sectors.


In the PWP-UD 2012, learners visited Ramanagara (Karnataka), Nashik (Maharashtra), Vijayawada (Andhra Pradesh) in India; and Bangkok (Thailand) for the Asian Immersion. The PWP-UD 2013 proposes to expand the international immersion trip options to Bangkok and Manila. This represents IIHS’ commitment to exploring the dynamics of Asian urbanisation and its inter-connections with the Indian context. The costs of all immersion visits are included in the course fee.

Immersion Visit: India – Watch Video
Immersion Visit: Asia – Watch Video

The IIHS Placement Cell has established relationships with a diverse range of institutions for both internships and placements. These include Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), LabourNet, and Sattva Development Consulting among others.

IIHS PWP-UD learners have been placed with a range of institutions across India including:

  • Mahila Housing Trust, Self-Employed Women’s Association
  • Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO)
  • Tata Consultancy Services
  • HomeNet South Asia
  • Centre for Equity Studies, Delhi
  • LabourNet