KSU’s Year of India Conference on Urban Ecologies
(Left) An attendee contemplating Robert Arnett’s photos of India between conference presentations. (Photo: Courtesy KSU)
On March 16-17, 2018, Kennesaw State University (KSU)’s Division of Global Affairs (DGA) and College of Architecture & Construction Management hosted a Year of India Conference, “Envisioning the Future: Examining the Realities of India’s Urban Ecologies.” The two-day event brought practitioners and academics together to present their perspectives on urban development in India.
The conference addressed a wide range of topics such as India’s architectural history, the importance of water, urban growth, and the future construction of smart cities. The format for the sessions generally consisted of three panelist presentations followed by moderated discussions held in an open access tiered auditorium. After the morning sessions, conference attendees moved into a beautiful glass atrium that had been converted into an art gallery featuring the photography of internationally acclaimed author and photographer, Robert Arnett. Surrounded by his award-winning photography of India, conference participants enjoyed traditional Indian cuisine at a KSU catered lunch.
(Left) Professor Jan Nijman, founding member of GSU’s Urban Studies Institute, speaking about Mumbai. (Photo: Courtesy KSU)
Distinguished speakers at the conference included Benedito Ferrao from The College of William & Mary; Amrita Chowdhury, Director for the Gaia Smart Cities Mumbai India Project; Tinaz Pavri from Spelman College; Daniel Williamson from Savannah College of Art and Design; Nadia Shah from Illinois Institute of Technology; and Purva Sharma from UNC Greenboro. Friday’s keynote address was delivered by renowned landscape architects, Anuradha Mathur and Dilip da Cunha whose vision for the future focuses on a much more conscious awareness of waterscapes in urban design. Saturday’s keynote speaker, Professor Jan Nijman, a founding member of the Urban Studies Institute at Georgia State University, spoke about his extensive fieldwork in understanding urban areas in and around Mumbai.
(Left) Dr. Ravi Ghadge of KSU and photographer/ author Robert Arnett at the KSU Year of India Conference on urban ecologies. (Photo: Courtesy KSU)
KSU faculty moderated all of the sessions and several shared their research, including Dr. Ravi Ghadge who spoke about inclusive growth and Dr. Mona Sinha who presented on bike sharing in Mumbai. Two students also presented at the conference, KSU graduate student Dhruvee Patel and Georgia Tech undergraduate student Nuri Sinha.
(Left) Tabla maestro Zakir Hussain greeting his ardent fans after his concert. (Photo: Courtesy KSU)
“This was my first conference presentation. It was fascinating to hear diverse perspectives from different disciplines,” Nuri said. The conference concluded Saturday night with a live concert from world famous Indian classical musical virtuosos, Zakir Hussain and Rakesh Chaurasia. Over 600 people attended the sold-out show at KSU’s Bailey Performance Center.
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