Urban Transformations in India
Tuesday, 25 August 2015 to Wednesday, 26 August 2015
7:00 pm to 5:00 pm
India Habitat Centre and India International Centre

The Centre for Policy Research is hosting a conference on ‘Urban Transformations in India’ with a special focus on informal settlements in Delhi. The event will consist of a panel discussion on the evening of the 25th August, 2015 at India Habitat Centre, followed by an all-day conference on 26th August, 2015 at the India International Centre. It is expected to bring together researchers, policy makers, government officials as well as community representatives and activists to discuss and debate ideas emerging from CPR’s research on urban transformations, funded by the Indian Council of Social Science Research.

On 25th August evening at India Habitat Centre, a panel of experts on urbanisation issues will explore broader questions on urban transformation including spatial inequalities in metropolitan cities, the implementation of policies and programmes in small cities and localised issues of citizenship and agency in Delhi.

On 26th August, a day-long conference at India International Centre will focus on the Cities of Delhi project based at the Centre for Policy Research (CPR) in New Delhi. The project has emerged from over two years of research and careful documentation on the varied forms of access to basic services across different types of settlements in Delhi. Reacting to project findings, a range of stakeholders—including members of civil society, academics, and the media—will engage in constructive, evidence-based conversation about life in Delhi’s ‘unplanned’ settlements. For queries about the conference, please contact persis@cprindia.org

Cities of Delhi aims to improve existing scholarship on informal settlements in Delhi, which contains few detailed case studies of ‘unplanned’ settlements, policy processes, and implementing agencies. There are even fewer studies that consider multiple cases, limiting the comparative space for scholars to understand how citizenship is experienced and everyday life negotiated across settlements of varying degrees of informality. It aims to fill the gap between policy and practice in the city’s ‘unplanned’ settlements, which, by some estimates, house more than three quarters of Delhi’s population. The policies, legal frameworks and guidelines, and administrative decisions concerning land tenure and provisioning of basic services in these settlements are not well understood by implementing agencies, public representatives, and residents. We trace these gaps to causes ranging from governing agencies’ limited attempts to communicate with residents to the state’s pervasive absence from these settlements and the resulting informality that dominates everyday life. An invite-only bilingual workshop with community representatives and community sector organisations to seek feedback and discuss future research agendas is being held from 9:30AM – 1:30PM of 25th August 2015 at India International Centre.

Outputs of the projects are available the Cities of Delhi website. A summary of historical media coverage available on this page, and read an overview of the project findings in this report.


Programme Schedule 

Day 1: Tuesday, August 25, 2015
Urban transformations: Panel discussion
Venue: Gulmohar, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi

19:00-19:30 Registration

19:30-19:45 Presentation of Urban Transformations research by Dr Partha Mukhopadhyay, Senior Fellow, CPR

19:45-21:00 Panel discussion and Q&A
·       Mr Ajay Maken, President of Delhi Congress, Former Union Minister, Government of India
·       Dr M Ramachandran, Former Secretary, Ministry of Urban Development, GoI
·       Dr Darshini Mahadevia, Professor and Dean, Faculty of Planning, CEPT Ahmedabad
·       Dr Ranabir Samaddar, Director, Calcutta Research Group

21:00 onwards Dinner


Day 2: Wednesday, August 26, 2015
Urban Transformation in India
Spotlight: Cities of Delhi
Venue: Seminar Room 1-3, IIC, India International Centre, New Delhi

09:00-09:30 Registration 

09:30-11:00 Inaugural session
- Welcome by Dr Pratap Bhanu Mehta, President CPR
- Presentation of key findings, Cities of Delhi
- Keynote: Mr Manish Sisodia, Dy Chief Minister, Delhi
- Q&A      

11:00-11:15 Tea

11:15-13:15 Session I: Places and Institutions
- Presentation of outputs by Cities of Delhi researchers
- Panel discussion
·       Dr Amita Bhide, Chairperson of the Center of Urban Planning, Policy and Governance in the School of Habitat Studies, TISS, Mumbai
·       Mr Harshdeep Malhotra*, Mayor, East Delhi Municipal Corporation
·       Mr S S Yadav, CEO Delhi Jal Board
·       Dr Kalpana Vishwanath, Co-founder of Safetipin and Senior Advisor to the UN Women/ Jagori Safe Delhi Program

- Q&A

13:15-14:15 Lunch

14:15-16:15 Session II: Processes and Institutions
- Presentation of outputs by Cities of Delhi researchers
- Panel discussion
·       Dr Amitabh Kundu, Visiting Professor, Institute for Human Development
·       Mr Arun Goel*, Vice Chairman, Delhi Development Authority (DDA)
·       Mr Bipin Rai, Board Member, Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB)
·       Ms Shivani Chaudhry, Executive Director, Housing and Land Rights Network (HLRN)

- Q&A

16:15-17:00 Tea and informal feedback