NITI Aayog launches GIAN Course on Urban Analytics at IIT Roorkee

Abhay Anand | Jun 6, 2018 - 2:38 p.m. IST
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NEW DELHI, JUNE 6: NITI Aayog has launched a Global Initiative on Academic Network (GIAN) course on 'Urban Analytics - Evaluating and Measuring Sustainability of Cities' at Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee. The course will discuss the challenges faced by cities, which accommodate over half of the world's population.

The course aims to give participants the knowledge and resources to understand and analyse the urbanization and its impacts, which will allow them to evaluate the conditions of sustainability in Indian cities. The focus will be on the drivers of urban growth and its uneven impact on different places and peoples.

Addressing the inauguration held at IIT Roorkee, R.P. Watal, Principal Adviser, NITI Aayog, said, “Urban planning and knowledge crusaders I am glad to see this multi-disciplinary gathering of participants from different walks of life, including professionals from government and private organizations, who can put the knowledge to immediate use. I am also concerned about smaller cities and towns which are growing fast and they have no idea of growth process. Planners need to urgently look into both the mega cities and smaller cities.”

Watal also emphasized the need to harness the potential of Geographic Information System (GIS) for making Indian cities more sustainable. He urged the participants to come forward with innovative and context specific solutions to solve the issues in Indian cities.

This course is being conducted under the GIAN Program of the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Govt of India, and has been actively supported by NITI Aayog since its conception.

Delivering the presidential address, Prof. A K Chaturvedi, Director IIT Roorkee, said, “It is interesting that we have reached a stage where we can talk about measurement of sustainability. If we can measure sustainability, it would be useful for future development and help the world achieve the goals of SDG 11.”

The course will provide students with knowledge and resources to: 1) understand the implications of urbanization for sustainable development, 2) appreciate the drivers of urban growth and its uneven impact on different places and peoples, 3) evaluate the conditions of sustainability in different urban regions using conceptual and analytical tools, and 4) critically examine current debates within sustainability as it relates to urban areas and be able to contribute to that debate

Speaking later, Prof. Subhro Guhathakurta, Director, Center for Spatial Planning Analytics and Visualization (CSPAV), Georgia Institute of Technology, USA, said, “It is not very easy to measure sustainability. But Indian cities lack the very basic resource of data. I have a feeling that there is no spatial data on Indian city. It is an urgent need to develop spatial data and institutions that maintain, monitor and collaborate with researchers for analysis. This analysis further help cities to maintain sustainability “

Prof. M Parida, Dean (Sponsored Research and Industrial Consultancy) IIT Roorkee, said, “We need more research funding from organisations like DST, and IIT Roorkee may take the lead in urban planning research and development of research agenda under a dedicated group within DST.”

Prof. Arindam Biswas, Department of Architecture and Planning, IIT Roorkee is coordinating this course along with Prof. Subhro Guhathakurta, Center for Geographic Information Systems (CGIS) and School of City and Regional Planning at Georgia Institute of Technology, USA.

More than 30 participants from various planning authorities and private bodies such as GIFT Gujarat are taking the course along with students from different colleges and universities across the country.

This course is expected to initiate a dialogue on strategies that bring about sustainable urban development and to equip the participants with analytical tools to assess the sustainability in urban centres.

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