In addition, the Commons will also host the ‘Unpacking Urbanism’ series: a set of weekly interactions that will run through the entire duration of the fellowship. Through a curated set of Masterclasses, lectures, films, and field visits, the Fellows will unpack central ideas and frameworks that are critical to how we understand the urban in the Indian context specifically, and across the world more broadly. The Unpacking Urbanism series will be co-taught by IIHS faculty, and a range of domestic and international guest faculty, allowing the Fellows to interact with leading practitioners, and researchers from across the world.
The formulation of such a Commons is unique to IIHS’ curriculum thinking, and is considered cutting edge pedagogical practice in the world. Over the course of nine weeks, Fellows will engage with the six key concepts across diﬀerent urban systems, learning how these are inter-connected and learn to read and work across them to develop comprehensive perspectives and help enable eﬀective problem solving.
A simple example will make this clear. To provide water to a low-income urban settlement, it is necessary to tackle the technical problem of designing and building a local piped water supply network often in the absence of connectivity to bulk supply lines. It is equally important to understand and make informed decisions on how the water should be priced and regulated as well as how to prioritise equitable access to water connections given the reality of caste, class, cultural and gender politics. There are often serious ecological constraints to this because of the destruction of watersheds or pollution of groundwater. Further, there might be complex political and institutional negotiations for contracting and maintenance.
Therefore, the Commons will equip Fellows to understand the various dimensions of urban questions that need an inter-disciplinary perspective. Fellows will learn how a range of institutions (government, private, and community) impact our cities at diﬀerent scales (local, city and regional) to begin to formulate inter-sectoral, sustainable and eﬀective responses.