[artinfo] Apply Now: Post-graduate course in Architecture and Urban Planning

Csóka Edina ecsoka at mucsarnok.hu
Fri May 29 12:18:52 CEST 2009

e-artnow presents: Apply Now: Post-graduate course in Architecture and Urban PlanningBeyond Development: Pune/Bombay/Maharashtra

Royal University College of Fine Arts
School of Architecture
Box 16315
103 26 Stockholm
Phone: +46 8 614 40 23
Fax:  +46 8 611 21 13
Contact: Michael Dudley
michael.dudley at kkh.se


Final date for submission of applications: June 15th, 2009 

What inherent possibilities reside in the diversity of the Indian city? What urban innovations are now being generated from India's thriving creativity? With a basis in the specific Indian context, can the concept of sustainable urban development be redefined?

Is the global economy, just as the world's other resources, limited? In light of today's financial situation, the relations between economics, growth and limitations becomes obvious. Do the rules of economic development dictate a system limit that permits certain economies to grow while others stagnate? What does growth really mean? Perhaps it is symptomatic that while the economies of the west are contracting, India's continues to expand.

The eyes of the world are now on India. At the upcoming U.N. Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen this fall, Indian leaders will have to take a position on how their nation will assume its responsibility as one of the planet's three largest economic players. Today India is heavily dependent on fossil fuels, but the possibilities for alternative energy sources are enormous and awareness about the consequences of climate change on their own geography is high. Even if the average Indian citizen is responsible for just 1/28 of the CO2 emissions compared with his American counterpart, the burgeoning pocketbooks of a rapidly growing middle class in a country which is soon to be the most populous in the world will have extreme consequences for our global environment and for India itself. A change in course for the world's largest democracy would set a new international agenda. Can the Indian city reinvent itself and thereby present us with an alternative Development?

Cities and Energy
Resources.09 continues its program series Cities and Energy – a three-year investigation of how necessary changes in energy consumption and production influence and inform our cities and our ways of life. Looking at the world's three most energy consuming nations, we shift focus from Shanghai's explosive growth and the American crisis-burdened motopia to the urban-agrarian duality of the Indian continent. We believe that studying the differing physical and cultural conditions of varying economies can lead to new insights into our urban futures.

Urban India
The independence of the young nation was founded on Gandhi's anti-urban ideology and modern India bears witness to its agrarian traditions. One quarter of the population lives in cities. Many of these are migrants from the countryside and live under unbearable conditions. While India has seven megacities, it is the so-called metro cities, with up to 4 million inhabitants, that are now growing the fastest. It is here that major state-funded investments are being made in infrastructure and slum upgrading. To quote MIT based architect Rahul Mehrotra: The city here is not about grand design – but about grand adjustments. If Bombay is already deadlocked in the dilemmas inherent to a megacity, can we find potentials in the metro city Pune, where local possibilities still exist?

Pune and the politics of the local
The university city of Pune is located 2,5 hours southeast of Bombay in the country's largest state – Maharashtra. For centuries Pune has been considered to be the cultural capital of Maharashtra and this urban region, with its 4,5 million inhabitants, is growing more quickly than Bombay. Pune has become a viable alternative for Bombay's expanding middle class and The Oxford of the East attracts students from all of Asia. Its IT-sector and car industry, including Tata Motors and the 2,000 dollar Nano, are flourishing, while the city's slums continue to grow, the traffic becomes ever more chaotic and electrical demand necessitates planned blackouts.
How will Pune deal with the challenges now facing India? Will these forces lead to a physical and social homogenization? Or conversely, could the heterogeneity of the local and its social networks be a basis for development? Could the Indian adaptability in the face of drastic events be reformulated into a more comprehensive strategy? The citizens of Pune are actively engaged in the changes they see taking place in their city, which begs the question: For who is the city and who gains from its development?

Working partners
With each Cities and Energy project we establish local working partnerships. The Urban Design Research Institute and KRVIA (Kamla Raheja Vidyanidhi Institute for Architecture and environment studies) are two interesting institutions located in Bombay. We will also have a running dialogue with Ramboll Natura in Stockholm, who, through a SIDA-financed initiative act as advisers for the Pune Municipal Corporation in their work with a new Development Plan. On site in Pune we will work with the Swedish-Portuguese architecture office Urban Nouveau, who are working for the grass-roots organization SPARC and have initiated a program for incremental housing for the city's slum-dwellers. KKH has a well-established partnership with SPARC through the course Art & Architecture and its project Informal Cities (www.informalcities.org)

The course is structured in sections each with a specific theme. We will find a foundation in relevant architectural and urban planning theories, as well as sociology, philosophy, resource- and economic theory. We will discuss the concept of Development and its philosophical, economical and ecological implications. We will study the architects Charles Correa, Balkrishna Doshi, Raj Rewal, Laurie Baker, Namita Singh and Rahul Mehrotra, as well as follow the traces left by Le Corbusier and Louis Kahn on Indian architecture. We will explore systems-theory from an individual to a global scale. Scenario-methodology and radical mapping are used as tools to investigate new urban possibilities. We meet architects, urban planners, geographers, natural scientists, sociologists, economists, anthropologists, artists and engineers in a cross-disciplinary discourse. Underlying all aspects of the course is a focus on visualization and communication.

Are you an architect, urban planner, artist, designer, or just simply interested in architecture and urban issues? Would you like to investigate these issues and develop proposals in a cross-disciplinary team? Send in an application for the coming academic year, 09/10. The course lasts one year, beginning September, 2009 and ending June, 2010.

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