Why Does Urban Design & Planning Need Fresh Curriculum In India
The current curriculum does not equip students with the necessary knowledge and skills to develop sustainable and eco-friendly urban spaces
Urban design and planning play a critical role in shaping our cities and communities. In India, where rapid urbanisation has led to the growth of several megacities, the need for well-planned and designed urban spaces is more crucial than ever. Unfortunately, despite the growing demand for urban design and planning professionals, the curriculum offered by Indian colleges and universities in this field has not kept pace with the changing needs of the industry.
The current curriculum in Indian colleges and universities focusses primarily on the technical aspects of urban planning and design, such as zoning regulations and building codes, rather than the broader social, economic and environmental implications of urban development. This approach is inadequate for addressing the complex challenges that Indian cities face today, such as affordable housing, sustainable transportation and climate change.
Moreover, the real estate industry in India is evolving rapidly, with new technologies and innovative business models disrupting traditional practices. To keep pace with these changes, urban design and planning programs need to incorporate a more interdisciplinary approach that combines technical knowledge with insights from fields such as sociology, economics and data science.
According to a recent report by the National Institute of Urban Affairs, India needs approximately 70,000 urban planners and designers by 2030 to meet the growing demand for these professionals. However, the current curriculum offered by Indian colleges and universities is not equipping students with the skills and knowledge needed to address the challenges of urbanisation.
Current state of Urban Design and Planning education in India
The lack of focus on sustainability is particularly concerning, given that India is one of the most polluted countries in the world and rapid urbanisation is exacerbating environmental issues. The current curriculum does not equip students with the necessary knowledge and skills to develop sustainable and eco-friendly urban spaces.
Moreover, the current curriculum does not prioritise practical experience, with limited opportunities for students to gain hands-on experience through internships or practical projects. This limits the ability of students to apply theoretical knowledge in real-world scenarios, leading to a gap between academic learning and industry requirements.
A recent study by the Council of Architecture (COA) found that the current curriculum for urban design and planning courses in India lacks a holistic approach, with limited focus on issues such as heritage conservation, disaster management and smart city development. The report highlighted the need for a more interdisciplinary approach, incorporating fields such as sociology, economics and data science.
The importance of a fresh curriculum
A fresh curriculum is urgently needed in Indian colleges and universities for urban design and planning education to address the challenges of urban development in the country. A new curriculum would address the shortcomings of the current curriculum, which lacks focus on sustainability and technology and does not provide practical experience for students.
A fresh curriculum would equip students with relevant skills and knowledge needed to address the complex challenges of urbanisation. It would incorporate the latest developments in technology, such as smart cities and promote innovation and creativity. It would also prepare students for real-world challenges such as affordable housing, sustainable transportation and climate change.
One of the main benefits of a fresh curriculum would be to bridge the gap between academic learning and industry requirements. By providing practical experience and exposure to the latest developments in technology and sustainability, graduates would be better equipped to meet the needs of the industry. This would ultimately lead to the creation of more livable, sustainable, and inclusive urban spaces in India.
Moreover, a fresh curriculum would promote interdisciplinary learning, incorporating fields such as sociology, economics, and data science. This would provide a more holistic approach to urban development, considering the broader social, economic and environmental implications of urbanisation.
A recent report by the McKinsey Global Institute found that India needs to invest approximately $1.2 trillion in urban infrastructure by 2030 to keep pace with rapid urbanization. A fresh curriculum in urban design and planning education would help to prepare the next generation of urban planners and designers to meet this challenge.
Elements of a fresh curriculum for Urban Design and Planning education
A fresh curriculum for urban design and planning education in Indian colleges and universities should include several key elements to address the challenges of urban development in the country. These elements should incorporate the latest developments in technology, promote sustainability, provide practical experience and adopt an interdisciplinary approach.
One of the key elements of a fresh curriculum is a focus on sustainability. India is one of the most polluted countries in the world, and rapid urbanisation is exacerbating environmental issues. Therefore, the curriculum should prioritise sustainable and eco-friendly urban spaces by incorporating green technologies and promoting energy efficiency.
Another crucial element of a fresh curriculum is the use of technology. Technology has transformed urban design and planning, with the development of smart cities, Internet of Things (IoT) and big data analytics. The curriculum should incorporate these technologies to equip students with the necessary skills to design and manage urban spaces effectively.
Experiential learning is also an important element of a fresh curriculum. The current curriculum lacks practical experience and exposure to real-world scenarios. A fresh curriculum should prioritise internships, practical projects, and field visits to provide students with hands-on experience and enable them to apply theoretical knowledge to real-world situations.
An interdisciplinary approach is also necessary for a fresh curriculum. Urban development is a complex and multifaceted process that requires a holistic approach. A fresh curriculum should incorporate fields such as sociology, economics and data science to provide a more comprehensive understanding of urban development.
Moreover, a fresh curriculum should prioritise community engagement and inclusivity. Urban development should be responsive to the needs of the community and should promote social equity. The curriculum should include elements of participatory planning and design to engage with the community and promote inclusive urban spaces.
A fresh curriculum for urban design and planning education in Indian colleges and universities is essential to address the challenges of rapid urbanisation and promote sustainable and inclusive urban development. The current curriculum lacks practical experience, does not incorporate the latest developments in technology and overlooks the importance of community engagement and inclusivity.
It is time to encourage innovative and practical approaches to urban design and planning education in India, as urbanisation continues to accelerate at a rapid pace. With a fresh curriculum, students can gain the skills and knowledge required to tackle real-world challenges, promote innovation and create livable, sustainable and inclusive urban spaces.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house
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