Author Archives: Mahak Agrawal

About Mahak Agrawal

Mahak Agrawal is an urban planner, researcher from India. Currently working on the issue of sanitation deprivation and climate change response across coastal districts of India, she has served as an expert reviewer to the Second Order Draft of the IPCC Special Report on Climate Change and Land. She is also a Local Pathways Fellow to the United Nations Sustainable Development Solution Network (UN SDSN). In different capacities, she has worked with non-profit organisations, development banks, universities and research institutes, as well as technical divisions of government-at the Centre and city level in India. Next to her contribution to the United for Smart Sustainable Cities (U4SSC) initiative, Mahak explores innovative, enduring research-guided solutions for pressing urban and regional environmental problems. She is specifically interested in the climate change and urban studies investigating multi-track approach and inequalities of adaptations and transformations, development and geography, associated global challenges and human geography. An advocate of open data for effective urban management, monitoring and response, she often provides thought leadership to the Young Academic Network of Association of European Schools of Planning (AESOP) and the South Asia Centre at London School of Economics. In 2017, she was awarded the Prof. V.N. Prasad Best Thesis Award for best thesis in Master of Planning in India.

A motto to revisit and revise – EQUAL PAY. EQUITABLE PAY

In a recent article published by The Guardian written by Peter Fleming (Do you work more than 39 hours a week? Your job could be killing you), a few realities of job market and employment, with research findings of Columbia University Medical Center, University College London, Australian National University, US researcher Alex Soojung-Kim Pang; were highlighted Continue reading

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Planning as a profession and course of study : A floundering Planner’s Perspective

The planning as a profession in India is synonymous with either party/event planning or smart cities, nothing more, nothing less. Only a few know what planning as a profession and course of study is in India. And when one does, the picture has varied shapes and colours for those who are either a part of this professional or academia pool and for those outside this pool. Continue reading

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Housing in India and government attitude towards it

Housing is an important aspect of city development. Population growth in a city is mainly attributed to two main reasons: migration from different areas in search of jobs and natural growth (birth rates exceeding death rates). However, the pace of housing provision, particularly by government agencies, is never able to keep up with the pace of population increase. Also, the National Urban Housing and Habitat policy-2007, which emphasizes “Affordable housing for All”, aims at ‘Forging strong partnerships between public, private and cooperative sectors for accelerated growth in the Housing Sector and sustainable development of habitat’. At the end of the day, it’s all about Roti, Kapdaa aur Makaan. Continue reading

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Development planning in post-independence India: Where did we go wrong? What can we do about it?

The term ‘Development‘ (physical development) may be defined as – carrying out of engineering, building, mining, quarrying and other such works in/on/under land. This is also called as material change in the use of any building or land. Development may also refer to change of land use. In some countries, demolition is also considered to be a form of development. Contemporary theory defines development as synonymous to ‘urbanisation’ and economic growth, but the question that arises is whether or not economic growth is sufficient for human development. For Amartya Sen and other scholars advocating for holistic development and capabilities of humans and society. He propagates the idea of development which extends beyond economic growth- it also concerns with better living conditions (safe drinking water, education, housing, etc.) for the population that is usually overlooked (i.e. the poor category unable to pay the taxes) with the larger goal of improving their capabilities Continue reading

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Open Defecation: A Coda of Geospatial differentiation by British India?

Swacch Bharat? A pan India mission launched with political support at the centre is a novel effort. But to eradicate open defecation from a society whose foundation is still influenced by Manu Smriti, sanitation pipes need to be dug deep.  Continue reading

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