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The Contemporary South Asian City
Thursday, April 24, 2014, 2:00 pm – 4:30 pm
Kennedy Room, Charles Hotel, 1 Bennett St, Cambridge, MA 02138
Unlike most regions in the world, the common underlying theme that permeates through South Asia’s major urban centers including Colombo, Delhi, Dhaka, Karachi, Lahore, and Mumbai, is a shared colonial past. In each city, post-colonial transformation has generated similar socio-economic tendencies, population growth dynamics and migratory trends, albeit different trajectories in political development. South Asia includes some of the largest and fastest-growing urban agglomerations in the world today, all of which are becoming increasingly interconnected with the larger regional and global economy. Equally relevant is the experience of small and medium-sized cities in each country, and the economic, social and spatial possibilities they represent.
This shared past, as well as the comparative points of divergence, merits a deeper examination into how we conceptualize, document and conduct practice in South Asian cities. What are the common challenges and opportunities facing urbanization in the region today? To what extent do local and global innovations in environmental sustainability, building materials and other technologies stand to redefine patterns of development? How have cities in the region remained mindful of the past through conservation and other means, in the face of relentless growth? And what are the unique characteristics that define and differentiate the contemporary South Asian city in juxtaposition with other regions in Asia and beyond?
Faculty lead: Rahul Mehrotra, Professor of Urban Planning and Design and Chair of the Department of Urban Planning and Design, GSD
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