The IIHS Labs are spaces of innovation, cutting-edge research, and grounded practice. They feed into the larger academic and research structure in a range of ways by providing spaces for experimentation on knowledge creation and incubation, avenues for methodological innovation, and critical skill building for teaching and training. In particular, the proposed IIHS IOE Labs will emphasise innovation—in teaching and research, practice and method. The Labs are unique spaces within the proposed IIHS IOE, and therefore each will be structured differently.


While some Labs will cut across all Schools, others will be specific to particular themes within one or two of the proposed IIHS IOE Schools, or even a sub-theme within a School. The Labs will also be the primary home for both Postdoctoral Fellows and practitioners within the proposed IIHS IOE, allowing them to use the flexibility of these spaces of innovation to address cutting-edge questions in the context of practice around specific themes. The Labs will also host several of the Postdoctoral Fellows within the proposed IIHS IOE.


As the proposed IIHS IOE builds out, several of these Labs could grow into larger Centres of Excellence. These will be focused on specific areas of research and practice, creating new knowledge both for the enhancement of capabilities within the proposed IIHS IOE in a self-reflexive manner, as well as for learning and development for external participants.

The Urban Informatics Lab (UIL) at IIHS has been bringing together researchers who work with public agencies to improve data availability and access, and develop cutting-edge research using novel data sources and methods to address urban challenges. The UIL is designed in response as a space within IIHS where collation, organisation, and dissemination of information related to India’s urbanisation takes place.


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The Geospatial Lab is the centre for spatial research, practice, teaching and training activities at IIHS. The Lab focuses on research related to spatial analysis, spatial modelling, satellite image analysis and mapping using technology and methods such as Geographical Information Science (GIS), remote sensing, and web services. The work of the Lab is closely integrated into various rese arch and practice projects of IIHS, spanning all the thematic Schools. It also offers capacity building, training and teaching to a diverse range of learners across levels.


The Geospatial Lab intends to develop joint strategies with each of the Schools and thematic anchors to integrate spatial thinking into urban research, practice and teaching. This is core to IIHS’ interdisciplinary approach. In addition, it will also develop its own independent research areas which seek to generate new knowledge about the spatial aspects of India’s urbanisation. In the long run, it will improve access to data, methods, and analytical outputs related to India’s urbanisation trajectory for researchers, practitioners and policymakers.


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The Word Lab anchors the development of language(s), written and oral expression at IIHS. Its core responsibilities are to communicate the diverse forms of writing and knowledge production at IIHS to a wide public readership; enable the IIHS community to write more effectively in diverse media; and systematise a regular flow of publications and knowledge production. The focus is on building and systematising the publishing programme at the proposed IIHS IOE, to help disseminate our work in different forms, ranging from academic publications to popular media like news articles and blogs.


One of the ways in which the Word Lab does this is through the Publications platform, which is a repository of all IIHS publications including books, policy briefs, reports and opinion pieces based on the research, practice and pedagogy at IIHS. The Lab also plays a key role in the production of IIHS’ open access teaching cases. The Word Lab helps to edit and produce Urbanisation, the IIHS journal, published by SAGE Publications. In addition to this, the Lab curates and organises City Scripts, an annual urban writings festival.


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The IIHS Media Lab is a platform that engages with questions around the urban via multiple media practices. The Media Lab’s vision is to build a culture of research, teaching and pedagogy around the audio-visual medium inside and outside the classroom. In a rapidly changing complex world, the Media Lab has created a space where the use of images and sound can be a way of understanding the urban milieu and create new forms of knowledge production. This is in keeping with the mission of the proposed IIHS IOE of being an interdisciplinary institution where different disciplinary methods are used to address urban challenges.


The Lab uses a range of approaches to fulfil its mission of creating a culture of research, teaching, and practice around audio-visual media. In addition, it organises the annual Urban Lens film festival. The Lab aims to provide space for innovation and experimentation within the proposed IIHS IOE around the use of various kinds of audio-visual media in teaching, research, and practice, as well as in the dissemination of work conducted across the different Schools at the proposed IIHS IOE .


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The IIHS Design Lab aims to explore the intersections between development sciences and spatial design, with a focus on the urban context. The driving principle of the Design Lab is that urban development and development sector initiatives can have significantly enhanced outcomes in terms of sustainability and aesthetics, via an intersection between people, resources, and context. The Lab anchors aspects of spatial design within the broader work of IIHS, while developing specialised work on teaching, training, research and practice in the fields of architecture, urban design and design.


The Design Lab aims to become a centre of global and national excellence in the field of design and architecture, focusing on urbanisation in the Global South. It puts the question of spatial design at the centre of theories and practices of development and urban development in particular.


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