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The Urban Knowledge Network Asia (UKNA)

The IIHS is a key partner institute in the EU funded Urban Knowledge Network Asia (UKNA) which represents the largest international academic network on Asian cities, consisting of over 100 scholars from Europe, China, India and the United States from 13 universities and research institutions. IIHS is actively involved in the creation and dissemination of new knowledge with other UKNA partner institutions. As part of the UKNA mission, the IIHS is also participating in a faculty exchange programme with several European academic institutions including TU Delft and University College London.

Indo-Swiss Faculty Exchange Programme:

A team of IIHS faculty has won a competitive grant offered jointly by the Indian and Swiss governments to conduct a faculty exchange programme with the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), focusing on urban sustainability. The IIHS team will examine how the goals of economic growth and development can be integrated with environmentally sustainable planning for urban regions. In particular, IIHS faculty will look at how different levels of government work together with each other and with the private sector to achieve this. The Swiss team will focus on three key areas of research in low and middle-income countries: examining the applicability of the Swiss participatory planning approach to addressing the problem of social conflicts in urban planning; studying the growth and development of intermediate cities; and examining the conflict between ‘smart cities’ and pro-poor planning. There is also a strong Swiss interest in IIHS interdisciplinary curriculum development process.

Curriculum Partnerships

IIHS has anchored a multi-year Curriculum Development process to develop multiple versions of a two-year Masters of Urban Practice, a PhD in Urban Practice as well as a four-year Bachelors of Urban Practice. This process brought together key IIHS institutional partners — MIT in Boston; the University College, London; the African Centre for Cities in Cape Town; UFABC in Sao Paulo and the global offices of Arup — with a range of advisors, scholars, and practitioners from across discipline and practice domains in India. The result is a unique, contemporary, inter-disciplinary and polycentric urban curriculum rooted in the realities of Indian settlements while bring firmly in conversation across the global South as well as across the traditional divides of theory and practice.

The Curriculum Development Process was funded by a $2mn grant from the Rockefeller Foundation.