Urban ARC 2021 | Urban Imaginaries

IIHS Annual Research Conference  | 14 – 16 January 2021

Dates and Procedures:

30 November 2020Deadline for Submitting Abstracts
Early DecemberAnnouncement of Selected Papers
5 January 2021Submission of Completed Papers
14 – 16 January 2021Urban ARC 2021


Please note that abstracts have to be submitted with the following guidelines:

  1. Full title and name and institutional affiliation of the author.
  2. Complete end-text and in-text referencing in APA format.


Abstracts not in the prescribed format will not be considered for inclusion in the conference proceeding.



Urban ARC 2021 will be held virtually on the Zoom Webinar platform. Sessions will also be live-streamed to the IIHS Facebook and YouTube Channels. Please check the schedule for information on panels, speakers and registration links.



All copyright for original work will lie with the author. IIHS will use material only with prior permission.


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.


Acuto, M., Parnell, S. & Seto, K. C. 2018. Building a global urban science. Nature Sustainability, 1 (1) (2)

Anand, S., Koduganti, J. & Revi, A., 2014, Cities as Engines of Inclusive Development, Bangalore, India, IIHS, and the Rockefeller Foundation, IIHS,

Ballard, R., Dittgen, R., Harrison, P. & Todes, A. 2017. Megaprojects and urban visions: Johannesburg’s Corridors of Freedom and Modderfontein. Transformation: Critical Perspectives on Southern Africa, 95 (1) (111-139)

Bhan, G., Caldeira, T., Gillespie, K., & Simone, A. M. (2020, August 3). The Pandemic, Southern Urbanisms

and Collective Life. Society & Space. https://www.societyandspace.org/articles/the-pandemic-southern-urbanisms-and-collective-life

Brenner, N. & Keil, R. (eds.) 2006. The Global Cities Reader, New York: Routledge.

Bunnell, T. & Das, D. 2010. Urban pulse—a geography of serial seduction: urban policy transfer from Kuala Lumpur to Hyderabad. Urban Geography, 31 (3) (277-284)

Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, 2007. Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor: Concept Paper. Ministry of Commerce and Industry. Government of India, Delhi, India

Dunn, N. S. 2018. Urban imaginaries and the palimpsest of the future.

Glaeser, E. L. 2011. Triumph of the City.

Huyssen, A. 2008. Other cities, other worlds: urban imaginaries in a globalizing age, Duke University Press.

Kalia, R. 2006. Modernism, modernization and post‐colonial India: a reflective essay. Planning Perspectives, 21 (2) (133-156) Routledge

Keith, M., O’Clery, N., Parnell, S. & Revi, A. 2020. The future of the future city? The new urban sciences and a PEAK Urban interdisciplinary disposition. Cities, 105 (102820)

King, A. D. 2004. Spaces of global cultures : architecture, urbanism, identity, London ; New York, Routledge.

Lin, J. & Mele, C. (eds.) 2005. The Urban Sociology Reader, London, New York, Delhi: Routledge.

McPhearson, T., Parnell, S., Simon, D., Gaffney, O., Elmqvist, T., Bai, X., Roberts, D. & Revi, A. 2016. Scientists must have a say in the future of cities. Nature, 538 (7624) (165-166)

Meissner, M. & Lindner, C. 2018. Introduction: Urban imaginaries in theory and practice. The Routledge Companion to Urban Imaginaries,  (1-22)

Revi, A. 2012. Climate change risk: an adaptation and mitigation agenda for Indian cities. Adapting Cities to Climate Change: Understanding and addressing the development challenges. Routledge.

Revi, A. & Rosenzweig, C. 2013. The Urban Opportunity: Enabling Transformative and Sustainable Development.

Sankhe, S., Vittal, I., Dobbs, R., Mohan, A., Gulati, A., Ablett, J., Gupta, S., Kim, A., Paul, S., Sanghvi, A. & Sethy, G., 2010, India’s urban awakening: Building inclusive cities, sustaining economic growth, McKinsey Global Institute,

Simone, A. & Pieterse, E. 2018. New urban worlds: Inhabiting dissonant times, John Wiley & Sons.

Stone Jr., B. 2012. The City and the Coming Climate: Climate Change in the Places We Live, New York, NY, Cambridge University Press.

Watson, V. 2014. African urban fantasies: dreams or nightmares? Environment and Urbanization, 26 (1) (215-231)

Watson, V. 2015. The allure of ‘smart city’rhetoric India and Africa. Dialogues in Human Geography, 5 (1) (36-39)

Urban ARC 2021 will be held from 14 – 16 January 2021 via the Zoom Webinar platform. Sessions will also be live-streamed to the IIHS Facebook. Register to join the conversations on Zoom.


14 January 2021
9:00am – 10:00amOpening Plenary by Aromar Revi, Director, IIHS
10:30am – 12:10pmNarratives on the Urban Environment
Chair: Krishnachandran Balakrishnan
The Ecological Imagination of Emerging Cities in the 21st Century
(Ernesto Valero Thomas, Independent Scholar)
Contested Imaginations and Negotiating-with the City-scape: A case study of Bovines in Delhi
(Shruti Ragavan, National Institute of Advanced Studies; The University of Trans-Disciplinary Health Sciences and Technology)
Reimagining Peripheral Geographies: A Dual Lens Approach to Examine Peri-Urban Dynamics in India
(Lakshmi Priya Rajendran, Anglia Ruskin University; Christopher Maidment, Reading University; Arindam Biswas, Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee; Sheeba Chander, Hindustan Institute of Science and Technology; Sudhan Srinivas, Hindustan Institute of Science and Technology; Maria Rinya Roy, Hindustan Institute of Science and Technology; Koushikaa Shree, Hindustan Institute of Science and Technology)
‘Ghats’ and Everyday Hydrosocial Relations: Production of Urban Spaces along Kolkata’s Riverfront
(Raina Ghosh, Jawaharlal Nehru University)
Of Environment and Environmental Practices in New Town, West Bengal
(Debarun Sarkar, University of Mumbai)
12:40pm – 2:00pmThe Work that ‘Urban Observatories’ do: Institutionalizing Urban Imagination between Trust, Advocacy and Expertise
Discussant: Susan Parnell, University of Bristol, PEAK Urban GCRF program
Discussant: Alexandre Apsan Frediani, International Institute for Environment and Development, KNOW GCRF program
Anchor Report: Urban Observatories: A Comparative Review
(Michele Acuto and Ariana Dickey, University of Melbourne; Carla Washbourne, University College London)
Case Study: The Experience of the Beirut Urban Lab
(Mona Fawaz, Beirut Urban Lab)
Case Study: The Experience of the Bangalore Urban Observatory
(Shriya Anand, Indian Institute for Human Settlements)
2:30pm – 3:50pmNavigating the City: Urban Mobilities
Chair: Pooja Rao
Urban Imaginaries: Fisherwomen in the Past, Present and Future of Mumbai: An Exploratory Research on the Use of Public Transport by Fisherwomen in Mumbai
(Kshiti Shobha Vikas, St Xavier’s College (Autonomous) Mumbai)
Algorithmic Mobilities: The Uber View of Calcutta
(Neha Gupta, National Institute of Technology, Silchar)
Transport Disadvantage: Understanding Ageing and Mobility in Bengaluru
(Prajwal Nagesh, Utrecht University; Ajay Bailey, Utrecht University; Sobin George, Institute for Social and Economic Change; Lekha Subaiya, Institute for Social and Economic Change; Dick Ettema, Utrecht University)
‘Free’ at what Cost? Free-bus-rides-for-women Scheme in Delhi
(Saakshi Joshi, Manipal Academy of Higher Education; Anindita Datta, University of Delhi; Ajay Bailey, Utrecht University; Leena Sushant, Nirmala Singh and Jyoti Rawat, Breakthrough Trust)
4:20pm – 6:20pmConstructing the City
Chair: Sudeshna Mitra
Construction of Mumbai’s Land Market: Fictional Imagination and the Search for Commodified Land
(Anitra Baliga, London School of Economics and Political Science)
Bhadraloks and their ‘Others’: Locating Real Estate Development and Image of the City in North Kolkata
(Riona Basu, Jawaharlal Nehru University)
Covid-19 in Peripheral Cape Town: Infrastructural Experiences and Re-imaginations
(Suraya Scheba, University of Cape Town; Andreas Scheba, Human Sciences Research Council & University of the Free State)
The Persistence of Peenya: Examining Industrial Space in ‘Global’ Bangalore
(Aman Banerji, Cornell University)
Women in Smart Cities: Imagined or Imaginary?
(Uttara Purandare, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay – Monash Research Academy)
Data in the Developing City
(Khaliq Parkar, CESSMA, University of Paris)
15 January 2021
9:30am – 11:30amCommunities and Urban Spaces
Chair: Divya Ravindranath
Infrastructure of Romance: Pre-marital Relationship in Urban Spaces in Contemporary India
(Sristi Mondal, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi)
Re-Imagining Urban Spaces and Reconfiguring Human Ecology Street-Based Sex Workers as Urban Pseudo-Invisibles in Bangalore City
(Anant Kamath, National Institute of Advanced Studies; Neethi P, Indian Institute for Human Settlements)
‘The Second Sex’ and Recreational Culture: A Socio-spatial Urbanscape to Re-define the Urban Peripheries, Case of Kolkata
(Ankita Karmakar and Arunima Saha, School of Planning and Architecture, Delhi)
I (Don’t) Walk a Lonely Road: A Study of Women Seeking Leisure in a Public Park
(Mallika Gupta, CEPT University)
Fantasy visions, Informal Urbanization and Local conflict: Contradictions of Smart City imaginaries in India
(Debadutta Parida, University of Alberta)
Urban Property in Kolkata: Narratives of Everyday Experiences and Imaginaries
(Sreya Sen, Jawaharlal Nehru University)
1:00pm – 2:20pmTransversals: Materiality and Method for the Southern Urban Question
Chair: Gautam Bhan
Teresa Caldeira
(University of California, Berkeley)
Kelly Gillespie
(University of the Western Cape, South Africa)
Gautam Bhan
(Indian Institute for Human Settlements)
Abdoumaliq Simone
(University of Sheffield, UK)
2:50pm – 4:10pmGrowing Cities: Urban and Peri-Urban Agriculture in the Global South Through a Lens of Sustainability and Wellbeing
Chair: Nitya Rao, University of East Anglia
Discussants: Chandni Singh and Prathigna Poonacha, Indian Institute for Human Settlements
Cities’ Food Synergies: Case of Urban and Peri-Urban Agriculture Production and Supply Between Morogoro and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
(Betty Mntambo, Open University of Tanzania; Swai Ombeni, Ardhi University, Tanzania)
Contextualising Urban and Peri-Urban Agriculture in the Wake of Climate Change: The Case of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
(Aldo Lupala, Ardhi University, Tanzania)
Understanding the Impacts of Urban and Peri-Urban Agriculture on Human Wellbeing and Urban Sustainability: Case of Bangalore and Pune
(Chandni Singh, Indian Institute for Human Settlements; Sheetal Patil, Azim Premji University; Prathigna Poonacha, Indian Institute for Human Settlements; Parama Roy, Indian Institute of Technology Madras; Teja Malladi, Indian Institute for Human Settlements; Ashwin Mahalingam, Indian Institute of Technology Madras; Maitreyi Koduganti, Indian Institute for Human Settlements; Swarnika Sharma, Indian Institute for Human Settlements)
Urban Against Urbanisation: Farming in Delhi and its Significance as a Systemic Alternative
(Nishant, Radheshyam Mangolpuri and Rajendra Ravi, People’s Resource Centre, Delhi)
4:40pm – 6:20pmMedia Imaginaries
Chair: Vikas John
Speculating the City: The Urban Imaginaries of Contemporary Indian Science Fiction
(Annika Taneja, Independent Researcher)
Infrastructural Imaginaries and Urban Futures: Cell Antenna Radiation Controversies in Indian Cities
(Rahul Mukherjee, University of Pennsylvania)
Urban Imaginaries, Home and (Un/be) longing in the Jesus Trilogy of J.M. Coetzee
(Debasish Mishra, National Institute of Science Education and Research, HBNI, Bhubaneswar)
Space Making by Women in the Neoliberal City: The Cinema of Alankrita Shrivastava
(Isha Tyagi, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai)
Provoked to Perpetuate: Planning Visualizations as a Question of Spatio-Visual Injustice, Case of Cairo
(Mennatullah Hendawy, TU Berlin and Orient Institute Beirut)
16 January 2021
9:30am – 11:10amFair Work: Employment in the City
Chair: Neethi P
Beyond Security: An Urban Policy for Migrant Workers
(Divya Varma, Maansi Parpiani and Kavya Bharadkar, Aajeevika Bureau- Centre for Migration and Labour Solutions)
Role of Land Rights in Improving the Quality of Life in the Slums of Delhi
(Anil Kumar Roy and Pragya Sharma, CEPT University)
Morphology of Narasimharajapura post COVID-19: People, Perceptions, Spatial Manifestations and Representations
(Priyadarshini Mohanty, Sona Alex and Vaseem Anjum Sheriff , BMS College of Architecture)
All is not well on the Yamuna Front: Skills and Livelihood Aspirations of Yamuna Pushta’s Working Homeless Men
(Ashwin Parulkar, Centre for Policy Research; Anhad Imaan, Aajeevika Bureau- Centre for Migration and Labour Solutions)
Synergizing Shared Spaces in a Divided City: Case of Shillong, India
(Jagriti Jhunjhunwala, School of Planning and Architecture, Bhopal)
11:40am – 1:20pmRe-imagining Urban Services
Chair: Amir Bazaz
Domestic Water Supply Scenario of Small Indian City: Reforms, Service delivery and Futuristic solution
(Harshita Mishra, Independent Architect and Environmental Planner)
Politics of Hygiene : Through Infrastructure Disconnected from Governance
(Ganga Dileep C, Meenakshi M, Sanjana Jismon and Rohit Bagai, Recyclebin Studio )
What Affects Urban Households’ Energy Consumption Patterns? Technological Innovation and Behavioural Interventions
(Chandra Sekhar Bahinipati, Rahul A. Sirohi and Sagarika S. Rao, Indian Institute of Technology, Tirupati)
Urban Water Management: Reviewing the Changing Paradigms
(Siddh Doshi and Rutool Sharma, CEPT University)
Ownership Status and Housing Quality in Urban India
(Kiran Limaye, VikasAvnesh Foundation; Shreya Biswas, BITS Pilani, Hyderabad)
2:00pm – 3:20pmPlanning and Urban Imaginations
Chair: Namrata Kapoor
Role of Urban Green Spaces in Health and Well-being in Jaipur: Implications for Urban Planning
(Anil Kumar Roy and Kristi Verma, CEPT University)
The Spatial Distribution of Public and Common Mobility Resources in Mexico Valley Metropolitan Zone
(David López García, The New School)
Ecological Perspectives in Spatial Planning: Critical Review of Master Plans for Delhi
(Gargi Mishra and Rutul Joshi, CEPT University)
Missing in Action: In Search of an Integrated and Pragmatic Planning Information Framework in India
(Amish Sarpotdar, University of Manchester)
3:50pm – 5:30pmPerceptions of Difference: Identities in the City
Chair: Aditi Surie
The Geography of Love: “Indigenous Urbanity” and the Practice of Lesbianism in Medieval Lucknow
(Puja Basu, Center for Studies in Social Sciences, Kolkata)
Between Heterotopia and Utopia: Indian Queer Urbanism in the Tranquebar Book of Erotic Stories
(Swati Palanivelu Vijaya, Ohio State University)
A Muslim Feminist City: From Girls at Dhabas to Shaheen Bagh
(Tara Atluri, University of Toronto)
Dalit Settlements during Early-Twentieth Century Delhi: Pandemic and its Variegated Impact
(Jatin, Jawaharlal Nehru University)
Fractured Geographies, Cornered Communities: Shaping and Reshaping the Urban
(Anshu Saluja, Jawaharlal Nehru University)
6:30pm – 8:00pmLooking Forward: The Agenda for a New Urban Science
Chair and discussant: Aromar Revi
Michael Keith
(Professor at the Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS), University of Oxford)
Jose Lobo
(Clinical Associate Professor, School of Sustainability, College of Global Futures, Arizona State University)
Luis Bettencourt
(Professor of Ecology and Evolution, University of Chicago)
Debra Roberts
(Co-Chair, Working Group II, IPCC)
Aromar Revi
(Director, IIHS)

How can I attend Urban ARC 2021?

This year, Urban ARC will be hosted virtually, via Zoom. The sessions will also be live-streamed on IIHS’s YouTube channel and Facebook page.

Where can I find the schedule and session information for Urban ARC 2021?

Information on the panel, speakers and registration links is available under the ‘Schedule’ tab. You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn for conference updates.

How do I register to attend Urban ARC 2021?

Please note, prior registration is required to attend each session. You can register for individual sessions by clicking on the session title, which will redirect you to the Zoom registration page. Once registered, you will receive the Zoom link for the session, and a confirmation email.

Will the sessions have Q&A?

The question & answer (Q&A) feature on Zoom webinar allows attendees to ask questions during the webinar, and for the panelists, co-hosts, and host to answer their questions. Please note, attendees will be in listen-only mode and can type in their questions using the Q&A feature.

What are the terms and conditions to attend the sessions?

You can read IIHS’s Terms of Use here. Please note, the sessions will be live-streamed, recorded, and hosted on IIHS’s YouTube channel and Facebook page, and by registering for the sessions, you are agreeing to the Terms of Use.