Urban Expansions- India Urban Space Foundation (IUSP)/ School of Planning and Architecture (SPA), Delhi


Cities in India continue to attract millions of rural migrants looking for a better future. Within the first half of the 21st century, India will witness the largest migration in human history combined with the natural growth of cities, larger even than China’s. In the clamour created by the size and scale of urbanization, we lose sight of the fact that people don’t live in “abstract” cities, they experience their lives in neighbourhoods, outside the homes they choose to rent or buy, in the streets where they walk or drive to drop their children off to school, or get to work, and at the markets where they shop for groceries. How India copes with urbanization will ultimately be about the details.

The tapestry that holds these details is what we call today, the spatial. A well-made and implemented master plan is responsive to the needs and aspirations of all its residents, rich and poor. It works at multiple levels—from the development of the city region down to the neighbourhood, attracting businesses and jobs, ensuring easy access to education, health care, affordable housing, providing for adequate public transport and pedestrian-friendly streets, building convenience, community and culture into every neighbourhood.


Plenary 1: Urbanism Post Independence

This plenary session is to be discussed through 3 inter-related phases:

  1. Pre-independence period when urban revitalization through provincial and princely State instruments supported municipal sanitization and Improvement Trust Projects in the Geddesian mould, typically through Town Planning Schemes;
  2. Independent India’s thrust into planned development through State instruments that enabled comprehensive development through urban renewal and peri-urban expansions for an urbanism through inter and intra-settlement movements and
  3. A new millennium introspection of a spatial context for investments in a future of growing land shortages and an overdue need to understand and quantify programmed sustainable development through a State level canvas of regional, settlement and local area spatial frameworks for economically and environmentally acceptable built environments and for which the Constitution requires a participatory approach.
For each phase, there would be a Key Speaker highlighting issues for debate and recommendations following the three presentations at the plenary.

Making Plans for Metro Regions (file size:647 kb)

New City Development (file size:2.80 mb)


Plenary 2: City in context of the region

The city as the primary engines of GDP growth is a symbol of access and power. Just as the increasing economic disparity between the rich and poor is causing alarm, so also the disparity in development and access to opportunities between urban and rural areas, is increasing the rural-urban divide. Cities are consumers of resources located in the rural areas – land, water, stone, minerals – and cities are also generators of polluting waste that goes into rural environments. However, cities also provide the demand for farmers' produce, and provide jobs in non-agricultural services such as transport services, quarrying, logistics, etc, and efficiencies of scale in good quality social services. Decisions about a city's growth, economy, infrastructure, connectivity, natural resources availability, therefore have direct bearing on the larger region. And vice versa, the larger region has a direct impact on the future of the city. Such decisions affect multiple political jurisdictions and the local plans of each jurisdiction. The regional spatial development plan is therefore an important device to form consensus towards a shared set of goals, resource sharing, development priorities, and development controls. The plan making of local authorities, is informed and nested within the framework of the larger region through the Regional Spatial Development Plan. This plenary discusses the efforts and challenges involved, and presents case studies of regional planning approaches.


Emerging Challenges of Urban Planning in India (file size:4.20 mb)

Urban Expansions (file size:3.30 mb)


Deep Dives – Economy, Equity & Environment

The framework of planning principles is encapsulated by three “E”s: Economy, Equity & Environment. These three Es provide the key anchoring principles for creating plans that are rigorous and help create vibrant, sustainable cities.

Economy: The city is at its heart an economic engine. Enabling a sustainable economy is critical to the health and growth of any city. A spatial plan plays a critical role in Source of economic activity, Infrastructure and Human Capital. Spatial plans significantly influences leveraging of both opportunity and competency. For example, Network Infrastructure of air, rail and roads, that connect places and people, and of water and power, are networks that need to be strategically and spatially linked.

Equity: The informal economy of a city provides far greater livelihood opportunities to the urban poor – both for already-resident urban poor and also for the significant influx of migrant poor in search of better economic opportunity. While the role of the urban poor in sustaining the economic engine is paramount to the success of the city, very little support is available to the urban poor. The acute shortage in affordable housing options creates a cycle of social inequity where the poor live in a state of constant vulnerability and inadequate access to civic services. The issue of “Spatial Justice” is integral to addressing the issue of “Social Justice”.

Environment: Citizen aspirations demand more of their cities beyond the transactional nature of economic opportunity. Both environment and heritage are key contributors to the sense of well-being and cultural identity that a city must provide to meet growing aspirations of citizens. Business enterprises drive the economic engine that provide jobs and grow the GDP, but they also contribute in large measure to the degradation of the environment by consuming natural resources for energy and raw material and polluting the environment. Without the spatial plan, the impact on the environment cannot be mitigated; the quality of the public realm with natural and heritage landmarks cannot be improved.


Pecha-Kucha – Urban India 2050

The objective of this competition is to develop a platform for the young minds entering the urban thought space to exercise their faculties, think in innovative ways and develop fresh insights and solutions to urban problems. The theme of the competition is URBAN INDIA 2050. Students are expected to look at problems of Indian cities, analyse issues of growing concern, visualize solutions and develop methodologies of way forward.


Poster Presentations - Evolution and future perspectives of Indian cities

The exhibition theme would be presented in form of exhibits contributed from 12 Department of Studies at School of Planning and Architecture (SPA), Delhi based on their students works covering various era of city development in India starting with historical context to the present modern contemporary city development efforts and finally the likely emerging future patterns of city development and growth patterns in India. Efforts would also be made to highlight the conflicts between city’s economic development on one hand and its environment sustainability on the other. This conflict would be exhibited through phenomena of rapid urbanization and sprawl, increasing motorization, technological advancements etc. on one hand and the consequences of development in terms of congestion, pollution, global warming and manmade disasters such as Tsunami, earthquakes, floods etc. exhibiting the vulnerability of our cities. It would conclude with an exposition of sustainable planning and design practices which would become imperative in future through concepts of green buildings and green cities, smart cities, transit oriented development patterns , water harvesting practices, solar energy use , green fuels use etc. in order to attain sustainable city development patterns.