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Urban Spaces© Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan

Urban Spaces

The urban cosmos

Cities are colourful places where diverse people live together. They are social spaces of coming together, they are industrial and economic spaces for work and livelihood; they are spaces for art and culture. They are places of refuge for people with great longing and places for lost dreams. Cities have structure and yet are subject to chaos; they are characterized by strength and resilience and yet are vulnerable to the forces of nature.

Cities are our home. They are spaces in which we move mechanically, but which at the same time open up great potential for creative freedom. They are spaces that we use, exploit, appreciate or ignore. Spaces in which we come together with familiar faces and strange figures to exchange ideas, to learn about new perspectives and ways of life, to grow. At the same moment, our cities continue to grow inexorably.

Finding new ways

But how can we make the city's spaces more socially friendly and attractive? How can we come together safely in public places in times of the pandemic? How can we make our cities more climate-friendly and sustainable? What is our vision of a liveable city?

© Goethe-Institut

About the project

Our "Urban Spaces" project revolved around precisely these questions. In lectures, discussions and workshops, participants interactively learned about the challenges and opportunities of modern urban design and together found solutions for better coexistence. Topics such as architecture, sustainability, social spaces, public art, photography and much more were addressed.

© Goethe-Institut

Final Conference

With our final conference in December 2021 we not only presented the products and results from our workshops, but also gave further impulses and worked together interactively on solutions for a better living together. 

To get an insight, you can have a look at the pictures.

  • Urban Spaces © Goethe-Institut / Prayrit Singh
  • Urban Spaces 1 © Goethe-Institut / Prayrit Singh
  • Urban Spaces 3 © Goethe-Institut / Prayrit Singh
  • Urban Spaces 4 © Goethe-Institut / Prayrit Singh
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  • Urban Spaces 8 © Goethe-Institut / Prayrit Singh
  • Urban Spaces 9 © Goethe-Institut / Prayrit Singh
  • Urban Spaces 10 © Goethe-Institut / Prayrit Singh
  • Urban Spaces 11 © Goethe-Institut / Prayrit Singh
  • Urban Spaces 12 © Goethe-Institut / Prayrit Singh
  • Urban Spaces 13 © Goethe-Institut / Prayrit Singh
  • Urban Spaces 14 © Goethe-Institut / Prayrit Singh
  • Urban Spaces 16 © Goethe-Institut / Prayrit Singh
  • Urban Spaces 17 © Goethe-Institut / Prayrit Singh
  • Urban Spaces 18 © Goethe-Institut / Prayrit Singh
  • Urban Spaces 20 © Goethe-Institut / Prayrit Singh
  • Urban Spaces 21 © Goethe-Institut / Prayrit Singh
  • Urban Spaces 22 © Goethe-Institut / Prayrit Singh
  • Urban Spaces 20 © Goethe-Institut / Prayrit Singh

Our programme

Our project offered a variety of interesting events such as lectures, workshops and discussion panels. To get an overview, you are welcome to have a look at our events.

"My City..." - Video Campaign © Goethe-Institut What comes to your mind when you think about your own city? Which emotions come up? Which attributes would you link with your city?

As part of our Urban Spaces project, we invited you to participate in our creative video campaign. You sent us great videos. Thank you very much.

You can watch the final video by scrolling down the main Urban Spaces site. 
Urban Spaces © Goethe-Institut Public spaces are the kit of a city. It is where we meet our fellow human beings, where we exchange ideas, where we leave our isolation and transform ourselves from individuals into communities. But how can we make these public spaces fair? How can we create accessibility for all? And what does a safe public space look like in the post-Corona city?

We developed approaches to these questions in a roundtable discussion between three countries:  India, Germany and Bangladesh. Three countries whose urban culture seems to differ greatly at first glance. But what commonalities can we find and how can we learn from each other? 

Our guests were Prof. Dr. Astrid Ley from the University of Stuttgart, Brinda Somaya from Mumbai, Prof. Durganand Balsavar from Chennai and Saif Ul Haque from the Bengal Institute of Architecture in Bangladesh. The discussion will be led by Arunava Dasgupta, Head of Urban Design at the School of Planning and Architecture in New Delhi.
Lecture by: Ruhul Abdin / Paraa / Dhaka, Bangladesh
Urban Spaces © Goethe-Institut What is the potential role and processes for architecture in community building?  

Deep in the heart of Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, is the architecture and design studio Paraa. Here, young, ambitious architects and designers are working on their own vision: a commercially sustainable studio that first focuses on the rights and desires of the respective community, examining traditional methods, social and economic conditions before a project can be realized.

Paraa’s approach to design, collaboration and working in different vulnerable urban neighbourhoods  in Dhaka was introduced to us by the director and co-founder of the studio Ruhul Abdin in his lecture. 
Lecture by: Prof. Dr. Frank Eckardt / Bauhaus University / Weimar, Germany
Urban Spaces © Goethe-Institut Is there a need for a shared city? 

Public spaces are essential for a city. They are the places where we meet our fellow human beings, where we exchange ideas. They are places of entertainment and diversity. Here we meet each other on an equal footing. But what actually characterizes a public space? What are its challenges but also its opportunities? And how can we safely meet other people in public places even in times of pandemic? 

This is what Prof. Dr. Frank Eckardt from the Bauhaus University in Weimar presented in his lecture "Public Space for all - the need for a shared city". 
Urban Spaces © Goethe-Institut In 2018, half of the world's population lived in cities. The numbers are rising rapidly. By 2050, this figure is expected to reach 66%. But what actually defines a city and why are cities such magnets for people? What challenges does the expansion of metropolises bring with it and what does this mean for rural regions?

Together with Reuben Abraham, CEO of the IDFC Institute in Mumbai, we explored the topic of "cities" and took a look in particular at India, where cities are growing faster and more uncontrollably than in other corners of the world.
As a kick-off event for our workshops, we organized a colorful evening on the topic of architecture and urban planning on 18.10.2021. In a short lecture, Prof. Tatjana Schneider from the TU Braunschweig explained why we need to think more about our cities and their development.

Through a PechaKucha - lecture the photographer Nipun Prabhakar showed us what happens after the architect has finished her work and Stefan Signer from the Bauhaus University Weimar dedicated himself to public spaces and creative solutions for a better design. 

Furthermore, our workshops and speakers were presented and the winners of our writing competition were chosen.
Urban Stories © Goethe-Institut As part of our Urban Spaces project, we held a writing contest. Whether poetry, a short story, a poetry slam, a fable or a fairy tale. There were no limits to creativity. Only the theme was set: "Urban Stories - Life in the City".

We are very happy that we received more than 100 literary texts. The winner of our writing contest is Rito Chakraborty, who wrote a fantastic text about Mumbai and Delhi. 

You can read his text here: "My confounded love affair"
My Dream City © Goethe-Institut What does your dream city look like? Is it rural, idyllic and cozy? Is it modern, urban and lively? Is it perhaps high in the mountains or deep in the oceans of this world? There are no limits to your creativity. Create your own personal city according to your own wishes. Take a shoebox and tinker, paint, glue and create your fantasy world in the box. 

We organized creative workshops about dream cities in selected schools and presented the outcomes at our final conference in December.
Urban Spaces © Goethe-Institut As a conclusion of the Urban Spaces project, we came together offline for the last time, not only to look back on the activities within the project, but also to create new momentum. 

The conference took place on 18.12.2021 in New Delhi and was especially aimed at students and all those who were involved in the project. There were not only lectures and interviews, but also interactive booths that invited to participate.

Our workshops (18.10 - 29.10.2021)

Public Spaces

Public Spaces

The Shape of Time
an interactive workshop

Public Space for all
an interactive workshop

Beautiful Spaces

Beautiful Spaces

Storytelling in your neighbourhood |
Urban Photography Workshop

Things to come |
Urban Photography Workshop 


Green Spaces

Green Spaces

Biophilic Architecture and Urbanism
Reintegrating the City into Nature

Future Spaces

Future Spaces

Future in Motion
an Animation-Video Workshop

Future Cities |
Mapping Decadal Change in Morphology of Urban Spaces

Our experts

Durganand Balsavar © Durganand Balsavar

Durganand Balsavar

Prof. Durganand Balsavar (Nandan) is an architect, environmentalist, and writer. He founded Artes-Human settlements Research Collaborative and the ROOTS Fellowship. Balsavar graduated from CEPT-SA Ahmedabad and ETH Zurich (Exchange). and has been engaged with environment, communities, future cities, rural, disaster mitigation and war refugee rehabilitation. He has received several awards and been invited to present in Indian and International Universities - Cambridge Univ-UK-VIT  Future Cities Summit, Auckland, Nepal, Croatia, Chennai MDA Master Plan, AMB Barcelona UN post Habitat III, Berlin Climate Policy 2050 VP, Goethe Institut - Rivers Program.

Nandan will join us for the discussion panel on 20.09. 

Brinda Somaya © Brinda Somaya

Brinda Somaya

Brinda Somaya is an architect and urban conservationist. Upon completion of her Bachelor of Architecture from Mumbai University and her Master of Arts from Smith College in Northampton, MA, USA, she started her firm Somaya and Kalappa Consultants (SNK) in 1978 in Mumbai, India. In May 2012 she was the recipient of an Honorary Doctorate from her alma mater, Smith College. In 2014 she was awarded the Indian Institute of Architects – Baburao Mhatre Gold Medal for Lifetime Achievement and was also nominated for the arcVision Prize. Presently she is the A.D. White Professor-at-large at Cornell University, U.S.A.

We are happy that Brinda Somaya will join us for the discussion panel on 20.09. 

Prof. Dr. Astrid Ley © Astrid Ley

Prof. Dr. Astrid Ley

Prof. Dr. Astrid Ley is Chair to the Department of International Urbanism, co-director of the Institute for Urban Planning and Design and course director of the international masters’ program on Integrated Urbanism and Sustainable Design and Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Stuttgart. Her expertise in urban development has led her to work as a consultant for the oikos human settlements research group. She holds a degree in architecture and urban design from Rheinisch-Westfälisch Technische Hochschule (RWTH) Aachen and a Doctor of Engineering degree from the Technical University Berlin (TU Berlin).

Prof. Dr. Astrid Ley will be part of our discussion panel on 20.09. 

Prof. Dr. Frank Eckardt © Frank Eckardt

Prof. Dr. Frank Eckardt

Prof. Dr. Frank Eckardt holds a doctorate in political science and since 2008 he is a Professor for Social Science Urban Research at the Bauhaus University Weimar, where he is active in the education of urban planners.  His research focuses on issues of social inequality and cultural diversity in the city. Recent publications include "Reserach and Policy on Urban Displacement Processes" and "Urban Policy for All! Cities between Pandemic and Transformation" published by Springer Verlag. 

We are pleased to have Prof. Dr. Frank Eckardt join us with a keynote lecture on "Public Space For All" on 22.09. 


Arunava Dasgupta © Arunava Dasgupta

Dr. Arunava Dasgupta

Dr. Arunava Dasgupta is an urban designer and architect, presently heading the Department of Urban Design, School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi. As founder member and former National Secretary of the Institute of Urban Designers – India, he is actively promoting the ideal of holistic urban design while creating alternative development frameworks using community participation as a central tool for local area design. He is presently an expert member of the State Heritage Advisory Committee of Himachal Pradesh and the Heritage Conservation Committee of NCT, Delhi.

We are delighted that Arunava will host our discussion on 20.09. 

Saif Ul Haque © Saif Ul Haque

Saif Ul Haque

Saif Ul Haque is the Principal of Dhaka based architectural practice Saif Ul Haque Sthapati (SHS) and Director Research and Design Program at the Bengal Institute for Architecture, Landscapes and Settlements also at Dhaka, Bangladesh. He studied architecture at the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology and is involved in practice, research and education. His works include residential, institutional and industrial facilities at different locations in Bangladesh and have been published and exhibited in and outside Bangladesh. 

We are glad that Saif Ul Haque is joining us for the discussion on 20.09. 

Reuben Abraham © Reuben Abraham

Reuben Abraham

Reuben Abraham is CEO of IDFC Foundation and IDFC Institute, a Mumbai based think/do tank focused on state capability and political economy issues. He is a non-resident scholar at the Marron Institute at New York University, and a senior fellow at the Milken Institute in Singapore. In addition, he is a Senior Advisor to Swiss Re and an Honorary Advisor to the New Zealand government at the New Zealand Asia Foundation. In 2012, he was named to Wired Magazine’s “Smart List 2012: 50 people who will change the world.”

We are very happy that Reuben Abraham will join us for a talk on 24.09. 

Ruhul Abdin © Ruhul Abdin

Ruhul Abdin

Ruhul is co-founder of Paraa, a architecture and design studio in Dhaka. He is a British - Bangladeshi urban researcher, architectural designer, teacher and artist. He studied architecture and urban development planning in London. He has split his time between Dhaka and London and is currently based mainly in Dhaka. His work has spanned across architecture, film, drawings, writings, publications, installations, photography, community organising in very diverse projects in the last ten years. 

We are delighted that Ruhul will give an impulse speech on 21.09. 

Nipun Prabhakar © Nipun Prabhakar

Nipun Prabhakar

Nipun Prabhakar is a documentary photographer based in Kachchh, Bhopal and Delhi. He is also a trained architect and works extensively with local communities. He works on long-term projects dealing with intersections of ideas, artefacts, built environments, and folklore. Apart from photography and architecture projects, he does curated phone-photography and visual storytelling workshops with various institutions and NGOs. Most recently, he collaborated with the sheepherders in Gujarat, training them to document their lives using their phone cameras.

Nipun will conduct an Urban-Photography workshop with us.

Klaus Schmitz-Gielsdorf © Klaus Schmitz-Gielsdorf

Klaus Schmitz-Gielsdorf

Klaus Schmitz-Gielsdorf is a true expert in the field of architecture and urban planning. After studying architecture at RWTH Aachen University, he gained years of experience in architectural offices before starting his own business. After further studies and the completion of a Masters of Urban Management, he then became a certified passive house planner and chief architect for the city of Leipzig. Klaus Schmitz-Gielsdorf was also able to apply his diverse work experience as mayor and building department head of the city of Gotha. Since June 2019, he is now a research associate at the Chair of Construction Economics and Construction Management at Bauhaus University in Weimar.
We are very pleased that Klaus Schmitz-Gielsdorf will lead a workshop on "Biophilic Architecture and Urbanism - Reintegrating the City into Nature".

Johannes Ernst © Johannes Ernst

Johannes Ernst

Johannes Ernst was born in Bonn, but lives and works as a freelance graphic designer and photographer in Leipzig. After his diploma in 'visual communication' at the University of Applied Sciences in Düsseldorf, he also completed a diploma in 'artistic photography' at the Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst in Leipzig and has been appointed master student in 2021.   

Johannes will conduct an Urban-Photography-Workshop named "Things to come". 

Gaurav Juyal © Gaurav Juyal

Gaurav Juyal

Gaurav Juyal is an education designer with focus on learning experiences. He specialized in Animation Film Design at the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad. A Tedx speaker, he is popularly known for his role as the host of Disney channel's television series Art Attack. He has over 11 years of experience as a faculty, multimaterial artist and a learning designer.

He loves knowledge-material play and aims at sharing his love for design and expressive arts to children, youth and adults; to mutually learn and evolve. He believes that knowledge is interactive and should be available to everyone who wishes to pursue it. 

We are happy that Gaurav will lead a workshop on "Future in Motion". 

Preeti Chauhan © Preeti Chauhan

Preeti Chauhan

Preeti Chauhan is an Associate Professor in The Department of Architecture & Planning at IGDTUW (Indira Gandhi Delhi Technical University for Women), Delhi since 2016 and specialises in teaching Architecture Design, Healthcare Design, Planning Techniques, Infrastructure and Mobility Planning, Urban Design and also guided many Thesis and Dissertations for both B.Arch and M.Plan Courses.

She completed her Bachelors in Architecture from Govt.College of Architecture (GCA) Lucknow (UP,India), masters in Town Planning from Institute of Town Planners of india (ITPI) Delhi (India) and an executive in Masters in Science degree from Medical Architecture Research Unit (MARU), London South Bank University (LSBU), London (UK) in Planning Buildings for health. 

We are glad that Preeti Chauhan is one of the organizers of a workshop on future cities.

Jahnabi Kalita © Jahnabi Kalita

Jahnabi Kalita

Ar. Jahnabi Kalita is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Architecture and Planning at IGDTUW (Indira Gandhi Delhi Technical University for Women), Delhi  and is currently teaching Introduction to Landscape Architecture and Computer Aided Design Techniques. She is also the studio guide for final year Urban Design Studio and Dissertation in the Undergraduate Bachelor of Architecture programme.

She has completed her B.Arch. degree from Nagpur University and Master of Landscape Architecture from CEPT University,Ahmedabad. She is registered as an architect with Council of Architecture and is an Associate Member of ISOLA (Indian Society of Landscape Architects). She has been a part of the department since its very inception and has been contributing to its establishment and growth ever since.

We are glad that she will be part of our workshop on future cities. 

Salil Dogra © Salil Dogra

Salil Dogra

Salil Dogra is an Architect & Project Management Consultant with more than 11 years of experience in the field of Architecture and Teaching. He holds a Post-Graduation in Project Management from ARA Institute of Canterbury, New Zealand.  He graduated from the Bharath University, Chennai, India in 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in Architecture. He has a teaching experience of 6 years as Assistant Professor at the Gateway College of Architecture and Design, India. Presently working as visiting faculty in IGDTUW.

He has conducted many seminars, workshops and college events during his college tenure. He was responsible in mentoring students and conducting  educational tours in India.
Apart from his teaching experience, he has bagged more than 6 years and counting of Architectural Consultancy with having successfully completed more than 15 projects as freelance Architect.

He will be part of our workshop on futuristic cities. 

Garima Singh © Garima Singh

Garima Singh

Garima Singh graduated in Architecture from GCA Lucknow and completed her Masters of Planning with Specialization in Housing from School of Planning & Architecture, New Delhi. She is registered with Council of Architecture and is an Associate Member of ITPI. She has an experience in the field of Architecture and Teaching. Her portfolio has a stimulating mix of architectural works, urban planning and interior works.

Also, she was associated with various institutes like MBS Dwarka & USAP, GGSIPU and right now she is associated with IGDTUW as a visiting faculty from past two years. She specialises in teaching Architecture Design, Housing Design, GIS, Building Construction and Materials, Architectural History and also guided many Thesis and Dissertations for  B.Arch. She has attended several International and National seminars and conferences. 

We are happy that Garima Singh is involved in our workshop on future cities. 

Dr. Sharma © Dr. Sharma

Dr. Anjali Krishan Sharma

Professor of Architecture and Ex-Dean in India, Architect Planner graduated from School of Planning and Architecture; New Delhi acknowledged as ‘Institute of National Importance’ by the government of India.  Have a versatile experience of thirty-seven years of academia, practice and real estate sector; Senior Fellow with Higher Education Academy UK [Advance-HE]; recognized RIBA Chartered member and have been and continuing as member of advisory committee for International Conference, Boards of studies, Academic council, Convener, Expert representing Council of Architecture to External reviewer of Cultural properties for nominations through ICOMOS for World Monument Fund and continuing. Was awarded an Indo-Dutch fellowship to research on Housing Typologies in public sector housings and won first prize in a national housing design idea competition and the project as well. 

Dr. Sharma will join our workshop on future cities as an expert. 

Nikita Verma © Nikita Verma

Nikita Verma

Nikita is a graduate in architecture from the School of Planning and Architecture (Delhi) and holds a Masters in Urbanism from the Bauhaus University in Germany. She has worked in India, Slovenia, Germany, and Spain with several international organizations as an Architect and Urbanist for brief periods before moving to Almora.

She has collaborated on several architectural and design projects with IGDTUW apart from pursuing urban development research projects and venturing into curating design competitions for students and young professionals. She has assisted and participated in international planning workshops in Russia and France.

She will be moderating our workshop on future cities. 

Isabelle Willnauer © Isabelle Willnauer

Isabelle Willnauer

Isabelle Willnauer holds a double-diploma in architecture and urban planning from the University of Stuttgart. She is research associate and lecturer at the Institute of Urban Planning and Design, Department of Planning Theory and Practice. Her research interests lie on participation, co-production and housing. 

Following on from the topic of her diploma thesis, she has been conducting research on the specific situation of large housing estates of the post-war period in small and medium-sized German cities. Since 2016 she is research associate and lecturer at the University of Stuttgart. Her teaching focus is strategic spatial planning with particular regard to actor’s arrangements as well as formal and informal planning instruments. She has initial expertise as a freelance advisor in process design, co-design and strategic planning with multi-stakeholders.

She will be part of our workshop on future cities. 

Dr. Baisoya © Dr. Baisoya

Dr. Manju Baisoya Pundir

Dr. Manju Baisoya Pundir is a strategic urban planner with a strong focus on sustainability, integrated planning, policy and governance. Her experience spans over 18 years of rich consulting and research practice covering prestigious government and private sector projects, urban strategies, city development plans, holistic master plans, residential and mixed-use township developments and technical feasibility studies.

She worked at National University of Singapore, towards an international research on quantitative indicators for planning ecological townships; and has been a part of senior planning and management teams of leading consulting organizations and has provided services for urban management delivery and training to urban managers and city Mayors with ASCI, India. 

She will be moderator in our workshop "Future Cities". 

Dr. Madhuri Agarwal © Dr. Madhuri Agarwal

Madhuri Agarwal

She is a GOLD MEDALIST Post Graduate in Architecture Pedagogy from Faculty of Architecture and Ekistics, Jamia Millia Islamia in year 2012,Currently Pursuing  Phd in Architecture from AKTU Lucknow. Presently Working as an Assistant Professor with Department of Architecture and Regional Planning,Gautam Buddha University,Greater Noida.

She has approximately 12 years of experience in various fields like teaching, research, Industry experience and has attended several  International and National seminars and conferences and workshops. She has completed various National and International Certification with University of Nizwa, Oman and Aachen University, Germany. She is  Member of Council of Architecture and ESDA.

She will hold an expert lecture in our workshop on future cities. 


Matthias Dünnwald © Goethe-Institut Matthias Dünnwald 
Project Manager, Educational Services
Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan New Delhi
Tel. +91 11 23471100