‘Urban planning and disaster management’ an article by Beena Sarwar about the Contemporary South Asian City Conference was published in The News on Sunday. Sarwar interviewed Rahul Mehrotra of the Graduate School of Design and Jennifer Leaning of the School of Public Health so that they could share their experiences at the conference in Karachi.
Rahul Mehrotra is no stranger to Karachi. From his base in Mumbai, he built Amin Hashwani’s house in Karachi some years ago — a project for which he visited the city several times. “By the time we did the interiors though, we couldn’t get visas,” he added, when we spoke in Cambridge recently.
He recounts a moving story about one of his visits to Karachi. As they landed in the city, he noticed tears in the eyes of an engineer, Subit Deshpande, who was accompanying him from Mumbai. “He told me that his late father was a Bombay-based contractor who built that airstrip, when Karachi was part of the Bombay Presidency.”
Mehrotra, Chair and Professor of the Department of Urban Planning and Design at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD), conceived the Conference on the Contemporary South Asian City, held in Karachi last month and co-sponsored by Karachi’s Aman Foundation and Harvard’s South Asia Institute. Coordinating the Harvard delegation was SAI’s Executive Director, Meena Hewett.