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Understanding The City

Faculty of Planning, Foundation Studio 2020

       Students have been able to -

  1. Map and measure the complexities of the built  environment.

  2. Learn to quantify, visualise and analyse urban data.

  3. Engage ethically with the city dwellers through primary surveys and individual interviews.

  4. Write descriptive and analytical texts while being familiarised with key texts in urban planning history and theory.

For this studio, Urban India ; cities, towns, settlements in transition from rural to urban were our sites of exploration. These sites of inquiry  were our textbook and our laboratory. Students were assigned one sq km area each in their home - city, which became their site of study. They produced weekly outputs based on pre-designed exercises focusing on different aspects of the city. Students also explored and demonstrated their analytical abilities and presented these in the form of inferences and arguments. 

They employed mapping, observing, visualising and quantifying skills to carefully understand the city. The studio encompassed understanding the needs of people, conflicting interests between different stakeholders, financial and administrative constraints within the broad goals of livability, sustainability and equity in the city. The students engaged with the city, lived the city and learnt from the city.


The first-semester Foundation Studio for Faculty of Planning,  Post Graduate program is called ‘Understanding the City’ Studio. This Foundation studio aimed to develop intimate understanding of a city and equipped students with conceptual, methodological, analytical, and communication skills necessary for becoming a professional urbanist. This studio focused on an evidence-based approach for framing and analysing complex urban situations and problems. This studio introduced students to weekly focused exercises to understand different aspects of the city. The students employed mapping, observing, representational and analytical abilities to carefully understand the needs of people, conflicting interests, financial or administrative constraints with the overarching goals of liveability, sustainability and equity in a city.

The studio operated in ten parallel units with a studio Tutor and a Teaching Associate guiding a group of 15 students. Occasionally, the students were exchanged between the groups for various exercises. The students were evaluated based on the quality of presentations, clarity of thought and strength of analysis for the pre-designed and pre-tested weekly exercises. For this studio, the rigors of student work, the relevance of outputs and healthy relationship for peer-to-peer learning were especially emphasized.

Team of Tutors and Teaching Associates

Interpreting Satellite image 


Street Network

Land use & Built use

Built form & Typology

Public Realm

Water & Sanitation

Housing & Trade-offs

Jobs & Labour Market

Transport choices

Governance & Finance


Studio Exercises

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