Inclusive India: scenarios for conserving India’s precious urban cultural heritage

Jan 30

At the end of January, Philippe spent a week in Pune, India to guide an urban planning and conservation studio at the Dr. Bhanuben Nanavati College of Architecture for Women (BNCA). The invitation came from Prof. Tina Wik from Mejan ARC – Advanced Studies in Urbanism at the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm who has a partnership with the BNCA.

Mejan ARC is a forum architectural and urban studies that offers one-year postgraduate courses in Architecture, Architectural Conservation and Art and Architecture. The three programs share an interest in the City while differing in their focus – history and identity, social aspects and future urban possibilities, respectively.

At shiftN we have had a lively co-operation with Prof. Henrietta Palmer who is running the Architecture-focused Resources post-graduate program. In the past three years Philippe, in a collegial partnership with Kalle Hallding, Head of the China cluster at the Stockholm Environmental Institute, has helped the students to apply scenario methods in their year-long designerly enquiries on Goa, Pune and Cape Town respectively.

However, this visit took place in the context of the Inclusive India – Re: Pune project and was dedicated to a 4-day studio session focused on developing proposals for the conservation of the city’s historical city centre. Again we used scenarios to help a group of more than 30 postgraduate students (half Indian, half Swedish) envision a rich and multidimensional design space. The scenarios provide a platform to integrate the insights from field work and from the rich technical and conceptual background provided by Prof. Wik and her colleagues.

As last year, the visit to the BNCA was intense but very enjoyable. Staff and facilities at BNCA are of very high standards. The students respond very well to the scenario approach. They see the value and are enthusiastic to incorporate it into their planning and design practice. The students who participated in last year’s planning studio presented Philippe with a publication - Window of Possibilities. Conceptualizing Goa – that bundled 13 design proposals – inspired by a single scenario framework - to guide the very distinctive urban-rural fabric of Goa to a more sustainable future.

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