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Indian Urban Planners – Top 5

Planning has proved to be a profession of utmost importance ever since human beings started settling. Its history can be traced back to ancient times even when the activity was not recognised as a ‘profession’, not termed as ‘planning’ and there was no formal education to turn the activity into so-called profession. For a long time, it did not receive the recognition and popularity as a separate profession that it deserved. One of the main reasons were the absence of formal education and awareness in this field of knowledge. Planning was done by the people belonging to other professions, who had some knowledge about their surroundings, were good at observing things or wanted to benefit the society at large. It can be clearly seen that almost all the renowned Urban Planners that have made a mark in the history originally belonged to backgrounds like Architecture, Sociology, Journalism, etc. There is hardly anyone who had formal qualifications in the Planning field.

While the world started appreciating what this field has to offer, it has not been long that Urban Planning has gradually started getting identified as an important profession in the country. It is challenging to name even few Urban Planners in our country who do not belong to architectural or engineering background. So, below mentioned are some celebrated Indian personnel who worked in the field for improvement and betterment of urban planning in the country but they do not belong to this field of knowledge if we look only at their educational background particularly.

Urban Planners in India - Mumbai Marine Drive

1. A.G. Krishna Menon

A G Krishna Menon is an urban planner, architect and conservation consultant practicing in Delhi, India for over forty years. He remains actively engaged in research and his contributions have been extensively published in professional journals, several academic books and as news articles. He has been actively involved in urban conservation. In 2004, Menon drafted the INTACH Charter for the Conservation of Unprotected Architectural Heritage and Sites in India.

2. Brinda Somaya

Brinda Somaya is an architect and urban conservationist who started her firm named Somaya and Kalappa Consultants in Mumbai, India in 1978. ­­In her projects, she tries to merge conservation, social equity and architecture for over four decades now. Her projects range from institutional campuses and rehabilitation of an earthquake torn village to restoration of an 18th century Cathedral church. She is a founder Trustee of the HECAR Foundation and Chairperson of the Board of Governors, School of Planning and Architecture, Vijayawada.

Also Read: Urban Conservation through Urban Planning

3. Charles Correa

Charles Correa was an Indian architect and urban planner who brought sensitivity to the needs of the urban poor and use of traditional methods. He played an important role in providing low-cost shelter and in resolving housing issues in developing countries like India. He began working as an urban planner in 1960s and built Navi Mumbai, which is an urban center that caters to approximately two million people. Unlike several other urban planners, he adopted low-rise building solutions instead of high-rise and the structures he designed facilitated community life. Moreover, Correa tried to keep his cities away from miserable conditions and designed paved paths, a sense of community, reasonable living conditions and so on.

4. H.K. Mewada and Prakash M. Apte

Gandhinagar city was planned and implemented between 1965-1970 by two Indian planners H.K. Mewada and P.M. Apte who put in tremendous hardwork and experience in making the city. They had worked as trainees under legendary architect Le Corbusier in the Chandigarh Project in the 1950s. The industrialists and Architects from Ahmedabad pressurised the government of Gujarat to give the job of planning the new city to American Architect Louis Kahn, however, the government was determined that the city should be planned by Indian Planners who shall be well versed in the history and town planning in Gujarat. Therefore, H.K. Mewada was selected to design the city and he invited Prakash M Apte to study the local architecture and culture of Gujarat so that they can emulate the character in planning the city.

Also Read: List of Famous Urban Planners 

5. B.V. Doshi

Doshi has been widely recognized nationally and internationally. Amongst various achievements and awards, he is the recipient of Prime Minister’s National Award for Excellence in Urban Planning and Design, India (2000). He was founder, former Director and former Chairman of the School of Architecture and Planning (Ahmedabad, 1966–2012), which was renamed CEPT University in 2002. He is widely known for his commitment to providing affordable housing throughout India. He designed the famous Life Insurance Corporation Housing in Ahmedabad (1973) and the Aranya Low-Cost Housing in Indore (1989), which is a township for low- to middle-income families and one of his best-known projects.

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