Resilience in the Indian City - IIA NATCON 2016 Presentations

Events Diary Dated:  Dec. 19, 2016
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Indian Institute of Architects - Karnataka Chapter

Session 4 titled 'Resilience in the Indian City' at the recently concluded IIA Natcon 2016 at Bengaluru discussed the following points.

Focal Points:

While sustainability is a term that can be applied to individual buildings, is it not more productive to imagine the city in terms of resilience?

If hazards are natural, but disasters are man-made inadequacies in responding to natural hazards, how can we build an urban resilience to the vagaries of nature?

Do we need to change our spatial imagination of the city in order to build resilience? For example, should we imagine the city as a sponge through which flows take place, rather than as a bounded entity with fIXed territories?

What are the networks we need to build for resource planning and management?

About the Speakers:

Harini Nagendra is a Professor of Sustainability at Azim Premji University. Her research examines factors shaping the socio-ecological sustainability of forests and cities. She was awarded the 2013 Elinor Ostram senior Scholar prize for research and practice on the urban commons. Prof. Nagendra has written aver 150 research papers, and was a lead author on the 5th IPCC Report - Working Group III, along with extensive science outreach and writing. Her 2016 book "Nature in the City: Bengaluru in the Past, Present, and Future" examines the transformation of human-nature relationships in Bangalore from the 6th century, addressing global implications for urban sustainability.

Arun Jain is an urban designer and urban strategist with aver 30 years of international experience in practice and academia. Arun engages city & regional administrations, development companies, institutions, and foundations to improve cities and urban life. He has planned, designed, and directly influenced over 90 new private and public projects. Arun teaches and researches at universities worldwide, with contributions across print and digital media. He is a DAAD Professor at the Institute for Urban & Regional Planning (ISR), Technical University of Berlin.

From 2003-09 he was Portland, Oregon's first Chief Urban Designer. Arun is also a strategic planning advisor at the Government of Karnataka. He is an the Boards of the IFHP (International Federation of Housing & Planning), Copenhagen, Denmark and ARUS (Advanced Research in Urban Systems), University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany. He has also been a lead policy expert for the UN Habitat SDG development process (Goal 11) and the UN Habitat III held this year in Quito, Ecuador.

Arun received his BArch from the School of Planning & Architecture, New Delhi, India, and two Master's Degrees (City Planning & Architecture) from the Urban Design Program, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA.

Aromar Revi is the Director of the Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS) and an international practitioner, researcher and educator with over 30 years of interdisciplinary experience in sustainable development, human settlements, pubic policy, governance and technology.

He co-chairs the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) and its Urban Thematic group from where he led a successful global campaign for an urban Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) for the UN. He has led aver 100 major research, consulting & implementation assignments worldwide: structured and designed development investments of $ 8 billion and worked on 3 of the world's 10 largest cities.

Session 5 was moderated by Sanjay Prakash, an architect with a commitment to energy-conscious architecture, eco-friendly design, people's participation in planning, music, and production design. Over the years, he has integrated all his work with the practice of new urbanism and sustainability in his professional and personal life. His areas of practice and research over the last 34 years include passive and low energy architecture and planning, hybrid air-conditioning, autonomous energy and water systems, bamboo, wood and earth construction, community-based design of common property, and computer-aided design. Under his guidance, hundreds have developed capabilities in performing design, conceptual or management work in these areas.

He is Principal Consultant of his design firm, SHiFt: Studio far Habitat Futures (formerly known as Sanjay Prakash & Associates), and was a partner of DAAT and Studio Plus, firms that predate his current firm. His name and work is mentioned in the twentieth edition of one of the main reference works in architectural history, A History of Architecture by Sir Bannister Fletcher.

Speakers' Thoughts:

Harini Nagendra, in her talk dwelled on 'The Importance Of Urban Commons For Resilience And Ecological Justice'.

Growing cities across the world struggle to deal with the frenzied pace of development. Ecosystem conservation is essential to deal with environmental crises such as pollution and heat waves. But ecosystems also play a critical, largely ignored role as urban commons. Recognising, protecting and restoring urban commons is essential to help balance economic growth with ecological justice. Yet urban commons are being squeezed out of cities worldwide. Nagindri's presentation drew on primary research to demonstrate the importance of urban ecosystems as commons for social and ecological resilience, highlight their importance for sustainable, ecologically smart urban futures and describe important gaps in knowledge.

Arun Jain's presentation centered around 'What the Indian City Must Do'. The human race is a resilient species. Cities often survive for millennia or longer. This issue is not survival, but the quality of life and capacity to bounce back, or adapt to rapid and dramatic change. His presentation offered some opportunities and challenges on how the Indian city might thrive and provide a better and pleasant framework for continued growth and well-being.

Aromar Revi spoke on 'Sustainable Urbanisation: Building Resilience & Enabling Transformation'. Enabling sustainable urbanisation as outlined by the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2030 involves bringing together economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainability, into everyday practice. It also implies making a commitment to "make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe and resilient', along with 'leaving no person' and 'no place' behind. This intervention explored how this may be operationalised in the Indian context, across multiple-scales and sectors in response to the need to build resilience against shocks and negative externalities and embrace the difficult opportunity of transforming our built environment.

Source: IIA, Karnataka Chapter. Reproduced as Digital Partner, NATCON.

Find the other presentations here:

Session 1, Session 2, Session 3, Session 5, Session 6

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