The UFP draws from IIHS’ curriculum co-created in partnership with the world’s leading universities including Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), University College London (UCL), University of Cape Town (UCT) and Federal University of the ABC Region, Sao Paulo (UFABC), in addition to nearly a hundred practitioners and scholars from across India.
Seven learning elements are structured across three terms: Commons, Electives and Internships. Fellows are in residence in Bengaluru for the first two, and in their internship placements for the third. There is an Exposure Visit held in between. Skill Labs, Applied Practica and Master Classes run throughout the Commons and Elective terms.
Commons represents the heart of the UFP. Taught across six modules stretching over sixteen weeks, the Commons is where Fellows understand the different approaches, systems, aspects and components that make up the urban. It is also where Fellows from different disciplinary backgrounds learn a common new vocabulary and set of conceptual perspectives to think about the urban.
There are six core modules:
- Urban Economy
- Law, Governance and Policy
- Identity and Social Practice
- Urban Sustainability
- Built Environment and Planning
- Infrastructure and Services
The formulation of such a Commons is unique to IIHS’ curriculum thinking and is cutting edge pedagogical practice in the world. Across the six modules, Fellows will see how different urban systems 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 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, culture and gender politics. This will have to be done within what are often serious ecological constraints because of destruction of watersheds or pollution of groundwater.
It is in the Commons that Fellows learn to think and act across all the different approaches to a single wicked problem. Together, the six modules equip Fellows to understand the inter-disciplinary dimensions of urban questions across a range of institutions (government, private, community) and scales (local, city and regional) to begin to formulate inter-sectoral, sustainable and effective responses.
Electives build on concepts and skills taught in the Commons and allow learners to create their own trajectories through the UFP by focusing on particular sectors and focus areas they want to develop. Fellows will be able to choose four of ten to twelve elective courses offered, that will enable them to understand, engage and grapple with contemporary urban debates.
In 2020-21, these electives included a combination of practice-oriented courses including modules on Housing, Urban and Regional Economic Development and Climate Change where Fellows interrogated how policy problem was framed, interventions and actions proposed, and possibilities and challenges of the current paradigm. Other elective courses were more conceptual and allowed Fellows to explore ideas and concepts that inform the understanding of the urban such as The Practice of Economics in The Urban and The Urban Missions.
A list of Electives offered in 2020-21 included:
- The Practice of Economics in the Urban
- The Urban Missions
- Energy and the City
- Urban Mobility
- Governing Mega-Infrastructure Projects
- Urban and Regional Economic Development
- Climate Change and Cities
- Digital Labour Markets and the Future of Work in Indian Cities
- Urban Health Systems
- Housing Policy and Practice
- Urban Risk and Resilience
- Work, Labour, and Informality in the Urban
LEARN ABOUT THE ELECTIVES
Learning that bridges theory with practice and emphasises problem-solving skills cannot be conﬁned to classrooms. Fellows engage with real sites and complex urban issues through two structured components. The first is through Practica, comprising term-length, site-based applied learning modules. In the second structured component, Fellows are placed with different projects’ teams within IIHS for a period of four months enabling real-time application of theory and skills taught throughout the programme.
Practica is an interdisciplinary studio, created for Fellows to read, analyse and represent some facets of the urban through field based inquiry using methods, theory and skills that are taught in the Commons Term. Working individually as well as in teams, Fellows imagine and develop appropriate, innovative and sustainable solutions within the Indian context.
During Practica, Fellows engage with multiple themes, such as governance and activism, livelihoods, ecology, rental housing, planning and morphology to build narratives around these themes. This also allows Fellows to interact with critical stakeholders including government oﬃcials, entrepreneurs, civil society organizations, activists and citizens. A focus on specific, bounded neighbourhoods (e.g. a municipal ward) and geographies (e.g. corridors) typically forms the ground where classroom teaching is tested, examined and reformulated. Specific methods of documentation, representation, description and analysis (e.g. mapping, GIS, surveying, interviews and participant observation) are taught and applied. Practica is conceived as a prelude to the more detailed long-term Projects.
In 2020-21, Fellows worked on Practica projects with Sadashivanagar as the key research site and Malleshwaram and Vyalikaval as ancillary sites. Past cohorts have explored various neighborhoods in Bengaluru integrating diverse perspectives: ecological and economic transformations, social and cultural identity, urban regeneration, mobility and so on. Practicas have also focused on Housing, Ecological Security and Inclusive Economic Development in Bengaluru.
In the second structured component, the Fellows are placed with different Projects’ teams within IIHS for a period of four months enabling real-time application of theories and skills learnt during UFP. Care is taken to ensure that Projects are aligned to previous trainings and experiences, and interests and future plans of Fellows. It is envisaged that specific project-related tasks would enable knowledge and skill building in specific area(s), in addition to classroom sessions. The Fellows are also able to develop and hone several soft skills during their project work including teamwork, time management and presentation skills. Each fellow is assigned a project mentor from within the IIHS faculty. This in-house four-month Project period prepares the Fellows for internships and career prospects.
A sample of live projects over the years at IIHS engaging the UFP Fellows
The 2020-21 Fellows are working on the following live projects:
|Mapping Economic Clusters in Bengaluru Neighbourhoods|
|Survey of Mega-Infrastructure and Industrial Projects|
|Tracing Impact and Recovery of COVID 19 on Domestic Workers in Jaipur|
|An Exploratory Study on Household Risk and Insurance|
|How Many Ways to Skin Net Zero Buildings in Solar Decathlon India?|
|Mega-Infrastructure: Case Study of Dholera Special Investment Region|
|Mega-Infrastructure: Mapping the Industrial Landscape of Tumkur|
|Understanding the Evolution of Official Communication Related to the Pandemic in the Nilgiris Biosphere Using Media Review as a Method|
|Affordable Comfort For All|
|Inclusive Cities Course|
|Knowledge in Action for Urban Equality: Cases|
|Main Bhi Dilli: Advocacy|
|Main Bhi Dilli: Research|
|Specifics of RHAs Before and During the Pandemic|
|Innovative Financing Mechanisms in the BBMP: An Institutional and Financial Study|
|Rental Housing in Jaipur: Analysis Track|
|Survey on Rental Housing: MoHUA’s ARHC Scheme|
|Visual Representation of Key Information Related to Making India Compatible with the 1.5 Degree Temperature Target|
|When the Levee Breaks: Sharpening India’s Climate Reportage in the Age of the Anthropocene|
|Design of Content and an Assessment Framework for Accessibility of Urban Spaces for an Online Capacity Building Course.|
|Implementation of Transfer of Development Rights in Bangalore by BBMP|
In the past, Fellows have worked on the following projects:
|Assessing the Feasibility of the School Complex/Consolidation Model in Urban Areas|
|A Study of Caste Dimensions of Peri-Urban Village Transformation in Bangalore|
|Inclusive Cities Course|
|Metropolitan Development and Land-based Financing (2 projects)|
|Course Design and Content Development for a Course on “Promoting Children’s Rights in Urban Settings” for UNICEF Staff|
|Rental Housing Arrangements and Domestic Workers in Jaipur|
|Mapping Urban Missions to SDGs|
|Developing a Digital Module to Facilitate Monitoring of Accounting Activities as Part of the Management of Community Toilets|
|Evaluation of Reforms under AMRUT in 2 Cities of Karnataka|
|Tempos, Trucks and Tech|
|The IIHS Podcast|
|To Design and Plan Production Line (and financial model) for Producing ‘Baby-Box’|
|A Study of Caste Dimensions of Peri-Urban Village Transformation in Bangalore|
Learn about Practica
Learn about Projects
Through the UFP, Fellows are equipped with high levels of technical, analytical and professional skills that are taught through a series of Skill Labs. Along with assignments, Practica and Projects, Fellows apply these skills in practical problem-solving contexts. This includes a mix of both, required and elective skill labs.
Required Skill Labs offered in 2020-21 include:
Skills and Methods in Urban Practice:
- Framing the Inquiry
- Methods in Primary Research
- Working with Spatial Data
- GIS (Geographical Information System) – GSL (GeoSpatial Lab)
- Data Skills Lab
- UIL (Urban Informatics Lab)
- Writing and the City – Word Lab
- Media – Media Lab
Elective Skill Labs for Advanced Skills offered in 2020-21 include:
- Advanced Data Skills: UIL
- Spatial Appreciation
- Advanced GIS – GSL Lab
- Advanced Qualitative Methods: Interviews
- Advanced Qualitative Methods: Survey Design
- Advanced Writing – Word Lab
- Advanced Media Skills – Media Lab
LEARN ABOUT SKILL LABS
Through a series of ﬁeld-based exposure trips in cities of diﬀerent sizes and types, Fellows are exposed to complex problems in the real world. They observe, diagnose and conceptualise solutions to real life problems in small towns as well as in larger, million-plus cities in India.
In each of the cities they travel to, Fellows meet with a range of stakeholders including government oﬃcials, business leaders and civil society organisations, among others. They get the opportunity to learn about particular questions on urban services, aﬀordable housing, environmental sustainability, transportation, employment generation, poverty reduction and small business development.
During Exposure Visits, Fellows work in teams to facilitate peer learning and applied skills learned through Skill Labs, such as qualitative or quantitative methods, ﬁlm making and report writing.
In 2016-17, the Fellows visited five cities: Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Kochi and Madurai. In 2017-18, the Fellows visited Chennai, Mumbai and Amaravati/Vijayawada. In 2018-19 and 2019-20, Fellows visited Chennai and Mumbai.
In 2020-21, Exposure Visits to cities outside Karnataka were not conducted due to Covid-19 travel restrictions. However, as part of the Electives, field visits within Bengaluru were conducted with safety protocols in place.
Exposure Visits will be an integral component of the Programme for 2021-22. These visits will be initiated considering relevant COVID-19 guidelines, IIHS’s operating procedures and safety protocols.
Masterclasses are a critical learning space for Fellows that go beyond technical and disciplinary knowledge; they provide opportunities to meet thought-leaders and practitioners from India and across the world, to learn about their work and the challenges they face as practitioners in diﬀerent disciplines and domains. These close interactions help Fellows learn about diverse ethical, political, and material complexities while practicing in urban contexts. It exposes them to speciﬁc domain knowledge that is rooted in years of experience. Masterclasses help to identify and explore professional options and career trajectories.
Recent UFP Masterclasses have been taught by:
- Sai Balakrishnan
(Assistant Professor of Global Urban Inequalities | University of California, Berkeley)
- Satyaki Raghunath
(Chief Strategy & Development Officer, Bangalore International Airport Limited)
- Leo Saldanha
(Coordinator/Trustee, Environment Support Group)
- Bhargavi Rao
(Centre for Financial Accountability, Delhi)
- Anand Lakhan
Harsh ManderHuman rights and peace worker, writer, columnist, researcher and teacher, works with survivors of mass violence, hunger, homeless persons and street children.
Masterclasses have also been taught by:
- Vijay Kelkar
(Former Chairman of the XIII Finance Commission, Executive Director, Former Finance Secretary)
- Paul Rabe
(Co-ordinator – Urban Knowledge Network Asia)
- Ajay Noronha
(Cinematographer and Documentary film maker)
- Barbara Harriss-White
(Senior Research Fellow, Area Studies, University of Oxford)
- C B Bhave
(former Chairman, Securities and Exchange Board of India)
- Champaka Rajagopal
(Principal Urban Designer and Planner, Groupe SCE India)
- Darshini Mahadevia
(Professor, Faculty of Planning, CEPT University, Ahmedabad)
- Nikhil Dey
(Social activist – RTI, Co-founder – Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan, Co-convener – National Campaign for People’s Right to Information)
- Deepak Sanan
(former Additional Chief Secretary, Government of Himachal Pradesh)
- Rahul Sami
(Staff Software Engineer at Google, Former Associate Professor at the School of Information, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor)
- Dinesh Kumar Mishra
(Director, MITM Jamshedpur)
- Harini Nagendra
(Professor of Sustainability, Azim Premji University, Bengaluru)
- V. Ranganath
(former Chief Secretary, Government of Karnataka)
- Paul Divakar and Beena Pallickal
(National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights)
- Nandan Nilekani
(Chairman, Infosys and former Chairman, Unique Identification Authority of India)
- Renana Jhabvala
(National coordinator of the Self-Employed Women’s Association, and Chairperson, SEWA Bharat)
- Vijayan Menon
(Planning activist, Bengaluru)
- P Agarwal
(Chief Executive Officer at WRI: World Resources Institute)
- Ajay Mathur
(Director General of TERI – The Energy & Resources Institute)
The UFP Internship is conceived as one of the seven key learning elements critical in transitioning Fellows from classroom learning to the complex world of work and practice. The UFP provides for a two-month internship for Fellows, guiding them through necessary steps to secure internships matching their skills and interests.
1. Evaluation of Skills and Interests
Fellows are encouraged to evaluate their skills and interests based on their academic trajectories at UFP as well as their professional and educational backgrounds. Individual and group meetings are conducted to decide the types of internship and organisations each Fellow wants to pursue.
2. Exploration of opportunities
The UFP internship team works closely with a network of entities (i.e. companies, firms, NGOs, think tanks etc) in diverse sectors and builds upon UFP alumni connections. The Fellows are matched and provided opportunities for exploration.
3. Application Process
Multiple sessions teach verbal and written communication skills to the Fellows. They learn to prepare application materials – including writing Cover Letters, CVs, writing samples of their work, emails to organisations and honing their interviewing skills.
4. Selection Process
Based on individual organisation’s requirements, the UFP internship team facilitates the selection process including providing interview tips and guidance. Organisations are offered the ability to interview students virtually; Fellows are provided with interview spaces and technological support for a seamless process.
5. Acceptance and UFP requirements
Each learner focuses on a work programme after discussions with members of the IIHS faculty and the organisation about mutually beneﬁcial outputs from the internship. Outputs can take multiple forms including policy brief or analysis, spatial plans, business models, technical reports, ﬁlm and video, or a conceptual paper among others and are submitted as part of UFP content. Mentors in the organisations grade Fellows’ performance and output.