All Indian cities are in dire need of planning: Liu Thai Ker


Liu Thai Ker is a planner, architect and director of RSP Architects Planners and Engineers (Pte) Ltd in Singapore. Liu spent 20 years at Singapore’s Housing and Development Board starting in 1969, ten of them as chief executive officer, and oversaw the construction of half-a-million apartments in the city-state. In New Delhi for the launch of the Annual Survey of India’s City-Systems, Liu said in an interview that all Indian cities are in dire need of planning. Edited excerpts:

Where does a city needs to begin to become a good city?

Every city needs to plan. And for big cities, which have over 1.5 million population, the skill of putting roads together and putting industries in the right place becomes quite overwhelming. So any city above one or 1.5 million needs to plan according to the modern concept. But the problem is that this concept is not well understood by politicians and planners.

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AECOM to project manage new Indian city


Aecom has won a contract to programme manage the development of a new city in India that will have a population of a million people.

The construction group will plan the city of Dholera in Gujarat – including its land uses and infrastructure – and put in place the management and governance structures to develop it out.

Dholera is the largest part of India’s planned Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC), a 1,500km link of developments and infrastructure between India’s two largest cities. Dholera will cover hundreds of square kilometres and is one of seven cities planned along the DMIC route.

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Fixing India’s city-systems








Having lost intervening centuries when cities across the world came into their own, Indian cities are struggling to play catch-up

India’s arc of urbanization went into deep freeze under the British Raj. We remained a largely agrarian, land-based economy, while around the world, cities were the catalysts of societies morphing from agrarian to industrial nations. Even today, these cities continue to trigger innovations and fuel progress across the entire spectrum of social, cultural and economic activity.

Having lost the intervening centuries when cities around the world came into their own, Indian cities are struggling to play catch-up. This is evident in Janaagraha’s Annual Survey of India’s City-Systems, which assessed India’s top eleven cities. The report was released recently.

One of the four themes was Urban Planning and Design, where Indian cities averaged 2.7 on 10, while London and New York scored 8.8. Clearly, there are major gaps in the spatial planning of our cities.

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Bhopal 2011: Symposium and Workshop

Twenty five years after the Bhopal Gas Tragedy, almost all related issues, from its causes to its fallout and legacy remain contentious. The site of the tragedy itself, the former Union Carbide factory is still standing but the structure is fast disintegrating; faced with neglect and imminent destruction. bhopal_photograph

A strategy for the factory’s protection and revitalization needs to address the conflicting views on the factory´s position in the cityscape and mindscape of Bhopal. Over the course of two weeks in early 2011 students and experts from multiple disciplines and backgrounds will converge in Bhopal. They will work together with local citizens in an attempt to understand the tragedy and its site in its conflicting interpretations.

Through exploring the possible transformation of the site into a place of remembrance and a resource for empowering the local community the participants will also address the broader issue of how heritage sites with a troubled legacy can contribute to a better understanding of our times.

More information on their website:


Delhi Urban Workshop

header The inaugural three – week session of the Delhi Urban Workshop, starting on  January 3, 2011, will bring together practitioners in the urban professions – architects,  urban planners, designers, administrators, engineers – as well as students, educators  and scholars and others sharing their interests.

The Workshop will explore current  urban challenges and issues facing this ancient and legendary city that  later evolved into Mughal and imperial capitals, and since Indian independence,  has become the dynamic center of an increasingly influential nation. The themes to be examined will include planning and development, transportation and  infrastructure, environmental conditions, social and economic change and metropolitan  growth.

Workshop activities will consist of lectures and discussions, field trips to key  sites and locations, visits to organizations and guided small group projects in  various parts of Delhi. Weekend trips will be made to Chandigarh and  Agra/Fatephur Sikri/Jaipur. The Workshop will be led by senior faculty from  leading universities in Delhi as well as experienced professionals, with the  participation of key staff from public and private agencies.

Workshop meetings will be held either at the striking new building of the Alliance  Francaise or the lively Habitat Center, both in the green and pleasant Lodi Estate section  of New Delhi. Participants will stay in comfortable accommodations near the meeting  place. There will be ample time to see Delhi’s fabled attractions, attend cultural events  and become familiar with the city.

The cost of the Workshop, is $3, 475 per person, double-occupancy, excluding international air travel.



IIA National Convention: Lucknow Dec 2010

iialogoThe NATIONAL CONVENTION of THE INDIAN INSTITUTE OF ARCHITECTS for the year 2010 is being held at Lucknow, UP on the 3rd, 4th & 5th ofDecember, 2010. This National Convention is being organized under the aegis of the UTTAR PRADESH & UTTRAKHAND chapter of the Institute.

A large number of member-delegates, eminent personalities, people from allied professions, builders and construction-professionals from all over the country will attend this convention. The convention has been named ‘IIA NATCON 2010’.

The theme of the Convention is ‘SUSTAINABILITY : Global Problems- Local Initiatives’. In today’s time nothing can be more important than the optimization of the use of natural resources and the built-environment to sustain itself on minimum use of energy and yet provide the best ambience for human functions, their comfort and development.

The main theme has been sub-divided into sub-themes namely:-

a. Role of Policies and their Implementation in achieving a sustainable built-environment.

b. Role of Design in achieving a sustainable built-environment.

c. Role of Construction Techniques in achieving a sustainable built-environment.

d. Role of Products and Materials in achieving a sustainable built-environment.

In the context of today’s world the importance of achieving a sustainable built environment can neither be denied nor belittled. Architects play an important role in the type of built environment we achieve, and that role they play to the best of their knowledge about Sustainable Architecture. It is this knowledge-bank we seek to enhance  at this convention.

This is to request all members of the Indian Institute of Architects to take that extra step and share their knowledge and make us more adept at handling Green / Sustainability concerns. We invite all members to send us material on the theme for publication in the Souvenir to be released for the Convention in the form of:-

a. Papers / Written Articles

b. Caricatures

c. Photographs

d. Cartoons, etc.

Material on other subjects of general interest to Architects may also be considered for publication. Outstanding articles / papers may get the opportunity to present the paper at the Technical Sessions of the convention.

As time is a pressing factor, it is requested that the above material reach the desk of the Convener Ar Asthana or latest by November 15th, 2010.

We once again request your whole-hearted cooperation which will go a long way to the benefit of all.

Thanking you

Ar. Atul Srivastav

Coordinator, Academic Programme.


Building Livable Cities: Urban Vision

Indian cities are increasingly becoming worse places to live in. Our cities are today marked with rising pollution, dwindling green spaces, dearth of basic amenities & services, shortage of affordable housing and a complete decay of public spaces and infrastructure.

logo-small-2Building Livable  Cities is a multi city investigation on ideas that can make Indian cities Livable . As part of the initiative , symposiums will take place across 5 cities – Bangalore , Mumbai , Delhi , Chennai ,and Ahmedabad between Oct 18-22.

The “Visioning“ Program titled the Blueprint showcases future urban visions and features a number of leading Indian architectss .The series will also be podcasts on The Urban Vision Portal. A book on Ecocities will also be Published in 2011.

More information at Urban Vision