Urban ARC 2018 | City and Technology

IIHS Annual Research Conference, 11~13 Jan, 2018

The second edition of Urban ARC, the annual research conference at the Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS) will be held from 11 – 13 January 2018, at the IIHS Bengaluru City Campus. The theme for 2018 edition is ‘City and Technology’.


The call for sessions emphasises the wide-ranging nature of both city’ and ‘technology’. The conference aims to use diverse disciplinary and methodological lenses to re-examine, re-imagine and re-situate our understandings of these terms.


Technology has always played a significant role in the ways societies have evolved. This is true in the context of cities as well. Cities, especially in the Global South, are spaces where the promise of technology is tested against the backdrop of the rapid urbanisation. A recent UNCTAD report emphasized the role of science, technology and innovation in the process of urbanisation, particularly if we are to ensure it is sustainable and equitable[1]. Recent cases have highlighted ways in which technology can help reimagine cities themselves (such as in Songdo International City, South Korea and Masdar City, UAE) or sector specific process in existing cities (Sustainable Transportation in Ahmedabad). Our understandings of these processes have ranged from the celebratory to the critical.


The narratives of celebration and critique emerging at the intersections of ‘Technology’ and ‘City’ present a unique moment for urban scholars. The conference aims to unpack the promises and pitfalls of technological interventions in urban spaces by examining a wide-range of intersections – sectoral, disciplinary, methodological and geographic, and offers a space for conversations on theoretical and methodological research interventions across disciplinary silos. Scholars developing new knowledge about cities will have to critically examine the role of technology in influencing urban transformations, which are often entwined with ideas and narratives of modernisation.


We invite scholars, researchers and practitioners who work on these themes to submit panel proposals that engage with the role of technology in urban transformation and in doing so, de/re-center technology in the evolution of the City.


Some possible threads of inquiry are:

  • Social and cultural transformations in the city driven by technology
  • History and historiographies of the ‘technological city’
  • Media/communication and representations in/of the city
  • Data and the city
  • Methods and methodologies of understanding technology and the city
  • Architecture/Design/Planning and the city
  • Technology policy and the city
  • Lived experiences at the intersections of the city and technology
  • Alternate technological spaces created outside of plan and policy

These threads of investigation are not exhaustive. Rather, they are an illustration of the various ways in which the larger thematic of the ‘City and Technology’ can be approached.


For example, panels can consist of presentations which deal with:

  • The suitability of engineering design in city planning
  • Cultural representations of technology in the narratives of modern human settlements.
  • The promise of networked societies
  • Questions of equity in digital urban spaces
  • The role of technology in community mobilization
  • The role of media in policy making


While the constituent papers will address the intersection of City and Technology from various disciplinary spaces, the emphasis of the conference will be on cross-disciplinary and inter-sectoral approaches. The length of each panel/session will be 90 minutes with 4-5 papers and will have a designated scholar who will frame the panel and serve as chair.


Dates and Procedures:
Submissions: Submission are now open for panels as well as individual papers. Deadline midnight 10 November 2017.


Researchers whose abstracts have been selected for presentation at Urban ARC 2018 will be informed of the same by 30 November 2017 via email.

Participants (either as part of a panel or as individual presenters) must ensure that copies of papers must be submitted to the conference organisers by midnight 5 January 2018.
Urban ARC 2018 will take place from 11 to 13 January 2018.


Urban ARC 2018 will be held at the Indian Institute for Human Settlements’ Bengaluru City Campus (BCC), 2nd Main Road, Sadashivanagar, Bengaluru – 560 080.


Financial Support:
Limited funding is available for early-career researchers who require financial support. Applicants who wish to avail of this must indicate so while filling in the relevant section in their application.


About the Indian Institute for Human Settlements:
The Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS) is a national education institution committed to the equitable, sustainable and efficient transformation of Indian settlements. More details about IIHS, its research, practice, and work can be found at iihs.co.in.


Copyright(s): All copyright(s) for original work will lie with the author. IIHS will use material only with prior permission.

[1] United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (2015) Science Technology and Innovation for Sustainable Urbanization. New York and Geneva. http://unctad.org/en/PublicationsLibrary/dtlstict2014d2_en.pdf

The format of the conference will be as follows:

11 JANUARY 2018
Registration begins at 9:00 AM
Session 1:
9:30 – 11:00
Panel: Infrastructure and Systems

Discussant: Amir Bazaz – IIHS

Technology, bureaucracy & infrastructure in urban India: A study of electricity infrastructure in Bhopal, India
Abhinav Sharma – IIT Bombay


Technology at the fringes: An examination of governmental vision, and experiences in Delhi’s villages
Mallika Chaudhuri – Jawaharlal Nehru University


Infrastructure as a lived experience: Interrogating the public-transit systems of Delhi
Nidhi Prabha – Jawaharlal Nehru University


Where is the ‘piped water’ in a city?
Srishty Anand – University of Delhi


BREAK: 11:00 to 11:30
Session 2:
11:30 – 1:00
Panel: Networks and Community

Discussant: Solomon Benjamin – IIHS


Universities and cities: The role of engagement with cities for development of new universities in India
Debananda Misra – University College London


The City Next! Understanding the dual existence of cities through networks
Naksha Satish – CEPT University


Old caste exclusions and new digital divides in peri-urban Bangalore
Ananth Kamath – Azim Premji University

LUNCH: 1:00 to 2:30
Session 3:
2:30 – 4:00
Panel: Media and Representation

Discussant: Srinivas Lankala – EFLU


Representation of ‘Other’: Muslim identity in Hyderabad
Deepthi Thota – University of Hyderabad


City representations and experiences through Community Radio – Radio Active CR 90.4 MHz
Pinky Chandran – Radio Active 90.4 MHz – Jain University
Kabir Arora – Radio Active 90.4 MHz


Media and dystopic city: A representation of crime in Delhi
Vivek Tripathi – University of Delhi

BREAK: 4:00 to 4:30
Session 4:

4:30 – 6:00

Invited Panel: Geographies of Technology




12 JANUARY 2018
Session 1:
9:30 – 11:00
Panel: Technology, Planning and City Evolution

Discussant: Sudeshna Mitra – IIHS


Early transportation system of Dhaka and it’s evolution

Dhrubo Alam – Bengal Institute for Architecture Landscapes and Settlements

Ananya Roy – Tokyo Institute of Technology


Appropriate technology for people-centric cities: Lessons from the works of Patrick Geddes and Laurie Baker in India

Salila Vanka – RV College of Architecture


Understanding rurality in the age of technology through a lens of ‘constraints’: A case of water bodies in Khulna, Bangladesh

Apurba Podder – BUET and University of Cambridge

Tahera Tabassum – BRAC UNIVERSITY

BREAK: 11:00 to 11:30
Session 2:
11:30 – 1:00
Panel: Technology and Land

Chair/Discussant: Solomon Benjamin, IIHS


A regime of online property registration in Maharashtra
Varun Panickar – IIHS


A blockchain enabled land records governance system: Comparative perspectives and challenges in India
Dipankar Das – IIHS


Technologies of mapping in the resurvey project: State, law and people
Deepika Jha – IIHS


Integrating databases to create a comprehensive, real time property record in India: Rationale, process, challenge, concern
Deepak Sanan – IIHS

LUNCH: 1:00 to 2:30
Session 3:
2:30 – 4:00
Panel: Identity and Belonging

Discussant: Gautam Bhan – IIHS


Understanding the Self and the Other through technology
Ekta Oza and Sonam Grover – Nirantar Trust


Queer sociality in digital Mumbai: Young women’s spatial negotiations through locative technology
Swati Vijaya – Ohio State University


Production of an alternative space in Aligarh Muslim University
Sheema Fatima – Kamla Raheja Vidyanidhi Institute of Architecture and Environmental Studies


Queer desires on the move: Mapping Grindr in the city of Delhi
Dhiren Borisa – Jawaharlal Nehru University

BREAK: 4:00 to 4:30
Session 4:

4:30 – 6:00

Panel: Everyday Intersections: Haptic Humans in the Digital/City

Discussant – Aparajita De – University of Delhi


Un/touching with touch: Homo haptics interfacing the digital city
Kriti Kanaujia – University of Delhi


Technologies of trade and innovations beyond the haptic
Solomon Benjamin – IIHS

Bhuvaneswari Raman – O P Jindal Global University

Prasad Shetty and Rupali Gupte – School of Environment and Architecture


Haptic interfaces and digital love relationships in urban India
Vivek Tripathi – University of Delhi


Digital cartographies and the metaphysics of encounter and experience of the city
Aparajita De – University of Delhi





13 JANUARY 2018
Session 1:
9:30 – 11:00
Panel: Waste, Technology and the City

Discussant: Kavita Wankhade – IIHS


Integrating On-site Containment Systems into City Sewerage Plan: Lessons Learnt from Kumaraguru College of Technology

Clifford Godwin Sundar, Andrews Jacob, Kriti Kanaujia Karthik Ravichandran – CDD SOCIETY


Studies on optimization of robust soak pit technique for grey water treatment and ground water recharge

Naresh K S, Subhash Kumar, Vanitha S and Sundar K – Kalasalingam University


Hopping on to the ‘urbanisation’ bandwagon with manual scavengers
Sushant Deshpande – Tata Institute of Social Sciences


Property and value through the lens of e-waste.

Bhuvaneswari Raman – O P Jindal Global University

BREAK: 11:00 to 11:30
Session 2:
11:30 – 1:00
Panel: An Assemblage of Artists/Technologies/City Spaces.

Discussant: Tara Atluri – The Centre for Internet and Society, Bangalore and Delhi/Ontario College of Art and Design University, Toronto


Indian Occupied Internet: Dignity and Dissent in Kashmir
Tara Atluri – The Centre for Internet and Society/Ontario College of Art and Design University, Toronto


London, Mysore: Notes on Digital Meanderings. A lecture performance
Rashmi Munikempanna – Independent Researcher/Artist


The pedestrian as text: Heidegger, Correa and lessons from the urban ‘elsewhere’
Joe Varghese Yeldho – National Institute of Science Education and Research


LUNCH: 1:00 to 2:30
Session 3:
2:30 – 4:00
Panel: Policy and Government

Discussant: Neha Sami – IIHS


The Smart City Mission: Policy recommendations to improve the synergy between the city and technology
Uttara Purandare – IIT Bombay


Whose right to the Smart City?

Katharine Willis – Plymouth University


Online public debate and urban environmental policy: Twitter and policy framing during the Odd-Even scheme in Delhi

Aasim Khan and Gaurav Arora – IIIT Delhi
Zoya Khan – IGDTUW Delhi

In addition to the panels and paper presentations, Urban ARC 2018 will feature additional events including special curated panels and art events. Additional information on special events are forthcoming.  Please email research [at] iihs dot ac dot in to get regular updates.


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