INTERNATIONAL WORKSHOp ON

An International Workshop of two days on ‘Inclusive Cities’ was held at Jamia Milia Islamia on 19th & 20th December 2016, organized by the Department of Architecture and the Department of Civil Engineering. Prof. Indrani Basu, Dean and two faculties Ar. Shanu Jain and Ar. Shivani Singh of School of Architecture and Planning (SOAP) attended the same and were present throughout the session.

The workshop was inaugurated by Prof. Talat Ahmad, Vice Chancellor, Jamia Milia Islamia and Chief Guest Prof. A.K. Maitra, Former Director, SPA Delhi. The session started with the introduction of many eminent personalities from architecture and planning fraternity across globe. The focus of all the presentations and talks was the Human Being and his basic survival rights in a city. This was the first ever workshop in the world on the topic of ‘Inclusive Cities’.

An inclusive city is a city in which the processes of development include a wide variety of citizens and activities. These cities maintain their wealth and creative power by avoiding marginalization, which compromises the richness of interaction upon which cities depend.

First session on the day one was on mainstreaming cycling as a commuter mode and the session Chair was Col. Anuj Srivastava (Retd), Executive council member of The Institute of Architects, Northern Chapter. All the talk held in session one raised a common concern for the cyclists on the roads of a city. Importance of cycling and woes of cyclists was discussed and the vision of National Urban Transport (NUTP) policy 2014 was also discussed at length. It was quoted by one of the speaker that Delhi records the highest pedestrian and road fatalities and non-motorised transport users are at higher risk and the main causes are the poor road design, traffic speed and unruly driving habits - to avoid such situation it requires a quantum change.

Issues like gender equality and equity in public transport were also raised by many speakers. It was felt that planners and architects should be sensitized enough to design spaces which should be safe for female at any hour of the day. And if the city is safe for female, it is safe for all.

The session two of day one was focussed on Creative cities and the session chair was Prof. Nalini Thakur, Department of Conservation, SPA Delhi. She emphasised on bringing culture into inclusive cities and one should position culture and heritage in all its dimensions. People are an integral part of any design and no design will be successful if their concerns and needs kept secluded at an initial stage of planning. The need is to bring history, geography and anthropology together.

The session three of day one was aimed at Climate change and cities and the session chair was Prof. Rommel Mehta, Professor of Landscape Architecture, SPA New Delhi. The focus of all the presentations in this session was on sustainable development as part of inclusive cities. Ar. Ankit Bhalla, Project officer at The Griha Council, Teri, New Delhi emphasized on concept of net zero energy in large development projects and showcased many examples across India. His presentation was based on evaluating the environmental impact of upcoming large developments in India through Griha-LD Rating system, in which he highlighted many facts and figures by WHO and talked about all the aspects of site designing.

Second day of International Workshop on ‘Inclusive Cities’ started by an introductory session of the speakers and other delegates. Session one of day two was focussed on Sustainable Cities and was chaired by Dr. Sudhir Krishna, IAS, Chairman, Fifth Delhi Finance Commission. In this session strategies for making sustainable smart cities were discussed at length. In a presentation given by Mr. Sayantan Mukherjee, Co-founder, Vkareforu, it was felt that elderly people should also be considered as a concern area while planning spaces and cities. He emphasized on making the elderly people self-dependent and confident while using any city transport and other spaces. He discussed healthy and smart cities under transformative cities framework.

It was highlighted in one of the presentation that in a city like Delhi there is lesser availability of health facilities and it is not uniformly distributed. The talks were focussed on people centric smart cities rather than technology centric.

Session two of day two was focussed on supportive infrastructure for transportation and was chaired by Ar. Kalpana Sethi, Former executive Director, Airports Authority of India. The highlight of the talks was that there should be reliable affordable and integrated multi modal public transport backed by extensive network of sidewalks - key for sustainable and liveable city. In this session various dimensions of mobility and principles of inclusive mobility were discussed.

Session three of day two was focussed on Legal and social justice approach for inclusive cities and in this session many eminent lawyers participated and delivered presentations and talks. In this session importance of Universal Design laws pertaining to disable people were discussed. Provisions under Constitution of India, various statues and judicial verdicts, were brought to the table.

It was indeed a very informative and eye opening workshop where the participants got the opportunity to have an interaction with many eminent people of architecture and planning fraternity.

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