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.
Research will include day long workshops in the six cities, followed by a synthetic seminar at Harvard to explore the potential research projects that might emerge from these workshops. The findings from the workshops could be developed into a semester long studio taught at Harvard. The themes would include issues of affordable housing, conservation, public space, urban infrastructure and sanitation.
Faculty Director: Rahul Mehrotra, Professor of Urban Planning and Design, Harvard Graduate School of Design