Urban ARC 2023 | Cities in Flux

IIHS Annual Research Conference  | 12-14 January 2023

The seventh edition of Urban ARC, the Annual Research Conference of the Indian Institute for Human Settlements, will be conducted between 12-14 January 2023, virtually and in person at the IIHS Bengaluru City Campus. The theme for this edition is ‘Cities in Flux’. 


The call emphasises the broad spectrum of the nature of flux in and across our cities. Indeed, flux and the organic pathways that it creates in the development and evolution of cities have been the impetus for knowledge production in the Urban. They are influenced by changes in societal settings and inequality, economic processes and structure, social and technical innovation, climate change, political will and/or inaction, and many other factors. These lead more often than not, to ultrastability and the strengthening of the current order or alternatively, dramatic changes in the midst deepening inequality and conflict amidst the great accelerations of the Anthropocene. Knowledge production, through research, practice or tied to Indigenous and Local traditions, has responded to these changes by creating an expanding body of knowledge that attempts to engage and make sense of these complex and systemic changes. 


Our current collective moment presents a unique blend of inevitable changes, and consequent challenges, to our practice of knowledge production. Factors like the global pandemic, deepening inequality and poverty, impending ecological overshoot, voluntary and involuntary migration, political turmoil and conflict, have sharpened in intensity, occurred simultaneously and cascaded through urban systems, via new forms of flux. 


These economic, political, ecological and social processes have influenced the ways in which one accesses and thinks about housing, livelihoods, food, water, energy and goods supply, health and education services, transportation, ecological and other services – that form the core of urban living. Recent publications show how these already fast-paced changes have been further exacerbated by recent incidents like widespread protests, continuing climate crisis, Brexit, the COVID pandemic,, the Afghanistan crisis, the Ukraine-Russia war, political unrest in Sri Lanka and many other socio-economic and political upheavals, the cities around the world have experienced. 


Indeed, the very nature of change in cities is changing as geopolitical conflicts, economic turmoil and inequality continue to overwhelm our often unplanned, organically grown urban spaces. Further, the cities in the global south are disproportionately impacted, due to their differential mandates, capacities and resources to respond to these factors. In recent years, as the vulnerabilities of our cities become conspicuous when faced with a new challenge, the knowledge building around understanding the fluxes our urban spaces undergo have gained increased importance. 


Flux in the Urban, however, doesn’t always carry a negative connotation. The very nature of organic change is that it is driven by positive impacts, balanced by negative feedback. This when taken together can span a range of processes from homeostasis to transitions and further to transformational change. Technology for instance, in spite of its often unequal access and spread, has enabled multiple new ways of being in the Urban. The challenge for knowledge production is to critically examine these changes, build a new set of propositional calculus, and ensure voice and agency to engender more just and equitable benefits of these changes.  


As a response to changes and resultant fluxes, the nature of our practices needs to be responsive, empathetic, reflexive and well honed. To do better during these moments of choice, we need to fine tune our epistemic practices, and be clearer about the values that underpin them. What to study, where to study, how to study, with whom to co-create knowledge, who gains and who loses from these choices, are key questions that need to be continually asked?


The imperative for research, practice and diverse forms of urban knowledge production is that it has to be innovative, relying on inter- and cross-disciplinary learning, challenge canonical ontology and epistemology that may no longer be fit-for-purpose (e.g. categorisations of the global North and South) and retooling methods to encompass a wide range of investigative strategies. 


In keeping up with the need to understand the evolution of cities and the resultant flux, Urban ARC 2023, presents an opportunity for knowledge exchange keeping in mind the need for interdisciplinarity, locally recognised and globally relevant knowledge(s), innovative methods and methods, grounded in the principles of epistemic justice. 


The conference invites researchers and practitioners to a space that allows for reflection on their practice(s) and knowledges, against the background of economic, environmental, socio-cultural and political upheaval, using diverse modes of engagement, in ideation, methodology, history, and investigation. 

To understand the dynamism that urban spaces experience, the conference encourages bringing together an assortment of methods used, questions asked, geographies covered, disciplines explored, and outcomes reached. We welcome panel as well as paper submissions covering several sectors (e.g. environment and sustainability, planning and policy, among others), disciplines (e.g. social sciences, climate sciences, humanities, architecture, planning) and methods (quantitative, qualitative, mixed methods), using the lens of research, academia, policy and practice. We invite work that looks at both contemporary and historical ways of studying the urban.


Dates and Procedures:

14th November 2022  Deadline for Submitting Abstracts
1st week of December 2022  Announcement of Selected Papers
6th January 2023  Submission of Completed Papers
12th – 14th January 2023Urban ARC 2023


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. 


Location: Urban ARC 2023 will be conducted virtually and in person at the Indian Institute for Human Settlements’ Bengaluru City Campus (BCC), 2nd Main Road, Sadashivanagar, Bengaluru – 560 080.


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


1 Steffen, W., Crutzen, P. J., & McNeill, J. R. (2007, December 1). The Anthropocene: Are Humans Now Overwhelming the Great Forces of Nature. BioOne Complete. Retrieved August 22, 2022, from https://bioone.org/journals/ambio-a-journal-of-the-human-environment/volume-36/issue-8/0044-7447(2007)36%5B614%3ATAAHNO%5D2.0.CO%3B2/The- Anthropocene–Are-Humans-Now-Overwhelming-the-Great-Forces/10.1579/0044-7447(2007)36[614:TAAHNO]2.0.CO;2.short
2 Maharaj, B. (2015). The turn of the south? Social and economic impacts of mega-events in India, Brazil and South Africa.
Local Economy, 30(8), 983–999. https://doi.org/10.1177/0269094215604318
3  Ukey, R & Rai, A. (2021). Impact of Global Warming on Heating and Cooling Degree Days in Major Indian Cities.
Energy and Buildings. 244. 111050. 10.1016/j.enbuild.2021.111050.
4  Grafe, F. J. & Mieg, H. A. (2019). Connecting financialization and urbanization: the changing financial ecology of urban
infrastructure in the UK. Regional Studies, Regional Science, 6:1, 496-511, DOI: 10.1080/21681376.2019.1668291
5  Nigam, R., Pandya, K., Luis, A.J., Sengupta, R., & Kotha, M. (2021). Positive effects of COVID-19 lockdown on air quality of industrial cities. (Ankleshwar & Vapi) of Western India. Sci Rep 11. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-83393-9
6 Rakshit, D. & Paul, A. (2020, June 6). Impact of COVID-19 on Sectors of Indian Economy and Business Survival Strategies. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3620727 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3620727
7  Marsden, P. & Samman, E. (2001). Afghanistan: The Economic and Social Impact of Conflict. In Frances Stewart, and Valpy Fitzgerald (eds). War and Underdevelopment, Queen Elizabeth House Series in Development Studies. (Oxford, 2000; online edn, Oxford Academic, 3 Oct. 2011), https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199241880.003.0002, accessed 22 Aug.

Timings are in Indian Standard Time (IST)

9:00 am – 9:30 amOpening remarks by Aromar Revi, Director, IIHS

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9:30 am – 10:00 amBreak
10:00 am – 11:30 amPANEL 1
Lessons for social protection from COVID 19 lockdowns
Gautam Bhan, Pooja D’Souza, Harshal Gajjar, Neha Margosa, Rashee Mehra, Krishna Priya, Chimmiri Sai Rashmi, Antara Roy Chowdhury, Kinjal Sampat and Nidhi Sohane, Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS)
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11:30 am – 12:00 pmBreak
12:00 pm – 1:30 pmPANEL 2

Understanding Inclusion and Inequality: Cases from Indian cities

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Understanding an NGO-led educational program’s efforts to contribute to a just and sustainable Mumbai
Abhishek S, Arvind Sakat, Divya Jain, Nagma Shah, Vishal Patel, Partners for Urban Knowledge, Action and Research (PUKAR); Nileema Ambekar, Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS)
Migration, child labour and the right to education: A case study of structural barriers in the educational rehabilitation of child labour
Sujata Bahot, National Institute of Educational Planning and Administration (NIEPA)
Has the geography of deprivation changed in post-reform urban India? A look into relative poverty and access to basic services
Dibyendu Biswas, Institute of Development Studies Kolkata (IDSK)
Impact of digital finance on financial inclusion of urban poor: Empirical evidences from the slum resettlement colonies in Chennai
Anjaly Baby, Madras Institute of Development Studies (MIDS)
Employer-employee relationship and informality: An employer perspective in times of distress
Kinjal Sampat, Indian Institute of Human Settlements (IIHS);  Sharon Buteau, Krea University
1:30 pm – 2:30 pmLunch Break
2:30 pm – 4:00 pmPANEL 3
Gendered transitions: Understanding urban change through gender
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Cooking through crisis: Navigating energy breakdowns in Colombo
Meghal Perera, Colombo Urban Lab
Long way to go before they sleep: Unravelling commuting time from India’s Time Use Survey
Sila Mishra, Indian Institue of Technology-Kanpur
The role of women in adaptation to extreme water events in low-developing areas: Case study of Chitra Nagar, Chennai
Nony Gupta, IHS, Erasmus University Rotterdam
Inclusion or exclusion? Gendered strategies of migrants in informal settlements in Bangalore
Soundarya Iyer, RV University; Nitya Rao, University of East Anglia
Respectful maternity care during labor and delivery and associated factors among women who gave birth in North Showa zone public health institutions, North Showa, Ethiopia, 2020.
Nakachew Amare, Debre Berhan University
4:00 pm – 4:30 pmBreak
4:30 pm – 6:00 pmPANEL 4
Opening up the city: Creating urban spaces
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Securing open space in an informal settlement of Mumbai: Implications for leisure activities and community participation
Balbir Aulakh, Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS)-Mumbai
Memories of a city in transition: Analysing environmental narratives of urban public places
Annie Sadhana Arulraj, Sunitha Don Bosco Anna University
Dissecting the word “People” in public spaces: A study of religious shrine spaces in the dominant caste neighborhood of Rajkot city
Meet Kakadiya, CEPT University
Visual culture of a city in flux: Narratives of public statues and sculptures in Bangalore
Salila Vanka, RV College of Architecture; Ravikumar Kashi, Freelance Artist; Madhuri Rao, RV College of Architecture
6:00 pm – 6:30 pmBreak
6:30 pm – 8:00 pmKEYNOTE
Dimensions of Urban Development Politics: Transcalarity, Circuits, Territories
Jennifer Robinson, Professor of Human Geography, University College London (UCL)
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9:00 am – 11:00 amPANEL 6
Rethinking dwelling: Housing transitions in Indian cities
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Delayed Allotment, Denied Housing! Unravelling the challenges of low-income housing delivery in Delhi
Ismail Haque, Malay Kotal, Meera ML, Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER)
Investigating the need for student rental housing in India
Dikchha Tiwari, Uttam Kumar Roy, Indian Institue of Technology-Roorkee
Unaffordable flats: The paradox of the cooperative housing society in India
Varun Panickar, Priti Narayan, Paroma Wagle, University of British Columbia
The “flux” in Mumbai’s rent control system: Accommodating commodification in the decommodified rental sector
Paankhi Agrawal, Independent Researcher
A method to measure perceived tenure security in low-income settlements in India
Rohit Lahoti, Independent Researcher
Un-slumming the Slums: Deconstructing ‘Slums’ as a category in a small town of India
Ritika Rajput, Aarushi Rai, Independent Researchers
11:00 am – 11:30 amBreak
11:30 am – 1:00 pmPANEL 7
Roundtable: Remaking Indian cities through peripheral resettlement
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Kaveri Haritas, O.P.Jindal Global University
Lalitha Kamath, Smita Waingankar, Amita Bhide, Simpreet Singh, Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS)-Mumbai
Kinjal Sampath, Nidhi Sohane, Indian Institute for Human Settlement (IIHS)
Naresh Singaravelu, National Law School of India University (NLSU)
Marina Joseph, Youth for Unity and Voluntary Action (YUVA)
Karen Coelho, Madras Institute of Development Studies (MIDS)
Anant Maringanti, Hyderabad Urban Lab
1:00 pm – 2:00 pmLunch break
2:00 pm – 3:30 pmPANEL 8
Building the city: Analyses from land, real estate and value
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Chasing Land, Chasing Crisis: Speculative urbanism in an age of financial flux
Anitra Baliga, IHS, Erasmus University
Impacts of industrial developments on landscapes in the case of Jamshedpur (Tatanagar)
Reshma Susan Mathew, Architectural Association, London
The city values land: an urban history of land acquisition in Delhi 1900-1940
Vandini Mehta, School of Planning and Architecture-Delhi
Centring socio-spatiality in the study of urban communities: Middle-class in Neo-Urban India
Smriti Singh, Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology-Delhi
3:30 pm – 4:00 pmBreak
4:00 pm – 5:30 pmPANEL 9
Mapping change: Planning as method, knowledge, and technique
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Socio-spatial and comparative approaches to knowledge production in urban peripheries: Insights from Chennai
Loraine Kennedy, CNRS, CEIAS-EHESS, Paris
City as method: Repair, maintenance, and the production of urban spatiotemporality in Mumbai
Proshant Chakraborty, University of Gothenburg
Cartographic absences and statutory abdication: The semantics of flow in Bhopal’s urbanism
Saurabh Popli, School of Planning and Architecture-Bhopal
Simulation games as a design process for Indian Urban Planning
Chandrabhanu D V N L, CMR University
5:30 pm – 6:00 pmBreak
6:00 pm – 7:30 pmPANEL 10
Shifting identities, making communities: Lessons on politics, participation and city making
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Caste as an urban problem: Chennai river restoration, slum evictions and resettlement, and vote bank politics
Radhika Chander, London School Of Economics and Political Science (LSE)
Changing policies and dynamic networks: Implementation of participatory waste management in Mumbai
Jennifer Spencer, Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS)-Mumbai
Contesting the city: Emerging ideas of urbanity and political participation in Delhi
Sumedha Chakravarthy, University of Oxford
South Korean pop culture and northeastern labor in Delhi’s urban village: Identity and subjectivity of migrant labor in flux
Anasma Gayari, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU)
Tourism pilgrimage and monumentality: competing ritual practices in World-Class Banaras
Ishan Shahi, Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay
11:00 am – 12:30 pmPANEL 11
Nature and the city: Political ecologies of urban flux
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Planting for penitence: A political ecology and legal geography perspective on court-ordered plantation drives in the Central Ridge, New Delhi
Nivedita Tuli, Department of Forests and Wildlife, Government of Delhi
Riverfronts with ravines: A case of Sabarmati River in Gandhinagar
Hariyali Gajera, Dipani Sutaria, CEPT University
Planned beautification of Bada Talab in Ranchi, India: A study of perception and practices of local communities
Shubham Bhardwaj, Central University of South Bihar
Agamben in Rangpuri Pahari: Emergencies and bare life
Christopher Lingelbach, Ambedkar University
Multiple forms of environmental injustice: A study of urban political ecology of waste  of Jawahar Nagar dumping yard in Hyderabad
P. Shalini, University of Hyderabad
12:30 pm – 1:30 pmLunch Break
1:30 pm – 3:00 pmPANEL 12
Building urban resilience: Navigating environmental risk and urban sustainability
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Felt sustainability: How citizen perceptions of sustainability can inform urban water conservation policy using a case study of Delhi
Jyoti Sharma, Christopher Lingelbach, FORCE
Strategies to strengthen urban flooding resilience: A case study of Jaipur
Bineet Chhajer, Shweta Choudhary, Vivekananda Global University
The city, residents and the(ir) reservoir: Re-visiting the conservation narrative in rurban Bengaluru
Reena Merin Cherian, Christ (Deemed to be) University
Assessing Gurugram, Haryana, development plan for preparedness towards pluvial floods using content analysis
Venus Kashyap, Kshitij Kumar Sinha, Akanksha Bhardwaj, Deepansha Tyagi, Indira Gandhi Delhi Technical University for Women
Sensing infrastructures in the time of climate emergency: The case of two protests by the Arabian Sea
Sumitra Nair, Ashoka University
3:00 pm – 3:30 pmBreak
3:30 pm – 5:00 pmPANEL 13
Infrastructure transitions
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The liminal State’s urban flux
Glen David Kuecker, Nam Hoang, Chirag Giri, and Ravikant Kisana, DePauw University
Agriculture as infrastructure: Preventing and managing “encroachment” through vegetable farming in Mumbai
Aayushi Bengani, University of Delhi
Politics of mobility: A case of four lane road in the Western Himalayas
Vidisha Dhar, CEPT University
People Plastic Partnership: Regional identification and allocation system for Ladakh
Anubhav Sahni, Sushant School of Art and Architecture
Producing new India: State spaces and uncertainty under India’s highway revolution
Nitin Bathla, ETH Zurich
5:00 pm – 5:30 pmBreak
5:30 pm – 7:00 pmPANEL 14
Governing change: State, politics, and urban transitions
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Power over the environment? Investigating the nature of transactions behind violations along Bangalore’s Lakes
Sakshi Saxena, CEPT University
Making infrastructure work
Channaka J. Jayasinghe, Colombo Urban Lab
Making the intangible tangible, and the tangible intangible: How does the digital data reshape our understanding of urban mobility flows in Delhi
Samuel Benkimoun, Université Paris-1 Panthéon Sorbonne UMR Géographie-Cités / Centre de
Sciences Humaines-Delhi
Creation of the sanitary regime: A case study of the role of the street level bureaucrats in the everyday sanitation infrastructural governance in a planned residential sector of Gurugram
Sumedha Priyadarshini, Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS)-Mumbai
Smart city for whom? A study of Ahmedabad Smart City Project
Sanhita Joshi, University of Mumbai
7:00 pm – 7:30 pmClosing of Urban ARC 2023