Top Urban Planners in India you need to know about

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.

6. Saswat Bandyopadhyay

Prof. Saswat Bandyopadhyay is an Urban Planning professional with specialization in Climate Resilient urban development and Infrastructure Planning. He has more than twenty-five years of experience in the Urban Development sector in South Asia with a focus on City Development Planning and environmental infrastructure designing. He has directed several flagship initiatives such as Inclusive Heritage Based City Development Programme (IHCDP), Sustainable Urban development and Smart Cities and Peer to Peer Learning among others. He was also involved in several pan-Asia pilot initiatives such as Country Enabling Environment (CEE) report for Asia-Pacific, GOLD V report on Localisation of SDGs, ADB Green Cities Toolkit amongst others. Other than India, he has worked extensively in countries like Bhutan, Bangladesh, China, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Pacific Island Countries. Presently, he is a senior Professor in urban infrastructure programme at the CEPT University.

7. Chetan Vaidya

Prof. Chetan Vaidya is an Architect-Planner with over 30 years of experience in the field. He is former Director of the School of Planning and Architecture (SPA), New Delhi (2012-17) and former Director of National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA) (2008-12) in India. Prior to this, he has worked as Dy. Project Leader, Indo-USAID Financial Institutions Reform and Expansion Program (FIRE) during 1995-2008 whose major objective was to develop commercially viable urban environmental infrastructure projects with focus on urban poor. The NITI Ayog has nominated him as Chairperson of Working Group of “City Governance and Smart Cities” as part of National Development [email protected] (Year 2022). The All-India Council of Technical Education has appointed him as Chairman of Planning Education Board. The University of Melbourne has nominated him as Melbourne-Asia Visiting Fellow for 2014-15. He was awarded Distinguished Alumnus by IIT Kharagpur in 2015.

8. Bimal Patel

Dr. Bima Patel is an architect, urban designer, urban planner and an academic. He received a Diploma in Architecture from the School of Architecture (now CEPT University) in 1984.  He holds a Master’s in Architecture, a Master’s in City Planning and a PhD in City and Regional Planning in 1995 from the University of California, Berkeley. Presently, he is president of CEPT University in Ahmedabad and heads HCP which is a fifty-year-old multi-disciplinary design, planning and management firm based in Ahmedabad. His significant and award-winning projects include Bhuj Development Plan and Town Planning Schemes (post-earthquake), C G Road Redevelopment, Kankaria Lake Development, Sabarmati Riverfront Development, etc.  His work and his projects have been conferred with numerous awards including Prime Minister’s National Award for Excellence in Urban Planning and Design (2003) and the HUDCO Design Award (2013). He was bestowed with the Padma Shri Award in 2019.

9. Dr. NB Johri

Dr. NB Johri is a senior Urban and Regional Planner with Doctorate in geographical planning with more than forty years of experience. He has been Joint Director at National Capital Region Planning board and leads the planning division of DDF. DDF Consultants Pvt. Ltd. is a leading consultancy organization providing research and consultancy in various fields related to built environment including Design and Development of Human Settlements, Regional and Urban Planning, Environmental Planning, Engineering and Architectural Design. This firm led by Dr. Johri has successfully completed planning projects in India and other countries. One of his most recent international works is the master plan for Dubai Outlet City. He is also a senior consultant for city development, transport planning, and infrastructure planning projects. He has been instrumental in Planning and implementation of various policies for the Indian Government.

10. Mathews George

Mathews George is one of few Chartered Town Planner of Royal Town Planning Institute of UK based in India and a Water Consultant who did many Water Master Plans in various parts of the world. He was associated with Hyder- Arcadis, Aecom, Turner & Parsons some of the world’s largest Infrastructure Consultants. Currently, he is the director of Arkind Consultants, a global award-winning Consultancy Group. Ain Al Fayda Master Plans are one of their recent works and his work continues to expand in the Middle East. Several projects dealing with complex Urban fabric in Dubai, Qatar, and Abu Dhabi fall under their portfolio. He has actively worked in making safer Kerala through research and regular documentation of the disasters like flood in the state.

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