IGCS workshops:

1st Multi-stakeholder workshop on peri-urban dynamics of Sriperumbudur:

This stakeholder workshop was conducted on 3 October, 2016. A short summary will be posted shortly.

Bypasslab workshop: bypass infrastructures of the peri-urban fringe:

Urban designers, architects, new media professionals, GIS/mapping enthusiasts and social scientists with an interest in visual and spatial analysis came together for a week-long interdisciplinary workshop, ‘The bypasslab’, to collectively explore the potential for new methodologies and tools to capture the changing landscape of peri-urban areas. Organised by the Indo-German Centre for Sustainability (IGCS) at IIT Madras, this workshop washeld at the Rajiv Gandhi National Institute for Youth Development, Sriperumbudur between June 26 and July 2, 2016.

The workshop took place in Sriperumbudur, an area undergoing rapid urbanisation, and itself emblematic of India’s emerging (peri)urban future.The lab/workshop consciously avoided a conventional, structured, lecture-based format and instead offered an open platform to allow for an immersive, hands-on experience. A combination of exposure to the field and post-field discussions were used to explore elemental questions around peri-urban design. How do we deal with the overwhelming scale of transformations and what sorts of methods and technologies can we embrace in this regard? Can we go beyond the paradigms of urban design, on-site fieldwork, data analytics and GIS technologies to come up with more suitable, contextual and sensitive strategies of data collection? And can we come up with more intelligent mappings and forms of representation?

The lab featured lectures by Deepta Sateesh, Dean, Department of Humanities, Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Mapbox (Bangalore), Seetha Raghupathy, a senior urban designer from Singapore, Kiran Keswani, doctoral fellow at CEPT University (Ahmedabad), Arunava Dasgupta, Associate Professor at School of Architecture and Planning (SPA) (Delhi) and other experts in the fields of design, mapping and spatial data analytics. The workshop was set up as a one-week “hacklab”, with participants of different disciplinary backgrounds exploring the peri-urban through multiple forms of media. Karl Beelen from IGCS, the lead organiser of the workshop said, “We hope to pull out new and daring visualisations and narratives about the wave of urbanisation that is currently redefining the face of urban India. But mostly we are excited about the possibilities for exchange and collaboration that such a workshop can offer to a new generation of minds.”  A publication will be available soon.

2nd Research workshop on peri-urban dynamics of Sriperumbudur:

Sriperumbudur Taluk in Kanchipuram District was set aside for industrial development while  without an integrated Master Plan. The apt revelation came out during a half-day multi-stakeholder workshop organized by IGCS on 27th November at IC&SR, IIT Madras.

Around 35 participants from State Planning Commission, Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority, academics, civil society groups, social and labor activists, research institutions, research scholars and students joined this workshop by expanding the scope of deliberations. Prof. Sudhir Chella Rajan, coordinator of IGCS and principal investigator, introduced the status of ongoing research on ‘Peri-urban Dynamics and Sustainability: A case study of Sriperumbudur’ to participants.

Master’s students engaged in the research project shared their preliminary findings on governance, information and communication, land use changes and agent based modeling (ABM) scenarios. Santha Sheela Nair, I.A.S. (Retd.), vice chairman, State Planning commission suggested that media and executive intervention are necessary to fructify the sustainability of growing peri-urban regions. Bangalore based Center for Study of Science Technology & Policy

C-STEP, co-partner of the study, is conducting a similar study in periurban region of Bangalore, and were invited to share their research findings. IGCS Visiting Prof. Christoph Woiwode led the lively discussions on inputs and observations from the participants. He observed that academic exercise should be put into practice, which was the main objective of such workshops with multiple of stakeholders. Christoph in his concluding remarks suggested reframing the approach comprehensively to include various layers of discussion happening in Sriperumbudur.


1st Research workshop on peri-urban dynamics and sustainability:

The case of Sriperumbudur”: On 21 April 2015 IGCS organized this workshop, attended by around 30 participants. The workshop was conducted as part of an IGCS research programme with the Department of Science and Technology to develop a Global Technology Watch on Sustainable Habitats. The aim of the research programme is to conduct exploratory research for the next year in Sriperumbudur Taluk to try to understand drivers of land-use change and industrialisation, in particular, but in the process also to understand their complex linkages with themes such as labour and migration, housing, water and energy demand, waste production, and governance. The goal of this launch workshop was to have a preliminary engagement with researchers, government representatives, professionals and activists who have worked around Sriperumbudur. The expected outcomes were the following:

  • Generate discussion and awareness on the various social, economic, environmental and institutional indicators of Sriperumbudur, historically as well as in recent times.


  • Envision baseline and future development scenarios for Sriperumbudur in terms of the aforementioned indicators by using the World Café Method.

The workshop was divided into two sessions. The forenoon session consisted of introductory remarks and short, informal presentations by researchers on their work on Sriperumbudur followed discussions and questions. The afternoon session comprised of a brainstorming session following the World Cafe Method to envision the current and future development scenarios for Sriperumbudur. A short summary of each of these sessions is reported in the following sections.

The morning session began with an introduction by the facilitators, Prof. Sudhir Chella Rajan and Dr. Christoph Woiwode on the research motivation and agenda. It was followed by presentations on “Understanding Sriperumbudur: Baseline Social and Economic Indicators” by Amala Devi (IGCS, IIT-M) and on “Land use, Spatial Population Trends and basic Hydrology in Sriperumbudur: Preliminary explorations using LANDSAT5, SRTM and Census data” by SiddharthHande (IGCS, IIT-M). The IGCS presentations were followed by informal talks by IIT-M research teams who also carry out research in the Sriperumbudur region. Dr. Suresh Babu (Associate Professor, Humanities and Social Sciences Department, IIT-M) and Dr. Binitha Thampi (Associate Professor, Humanities and Social Sciences Department, IIT-M), working on migrant labor in Kerala and Tamil Nadu, explained some of the focuses of their study. Dr. Franziska Steinbruch (IGCS Visiting Professor) briefly described the ongoing and future work in spatial analysis and hydrology. In the afternoon session a visioning exercise was conducted consisting all the participants divided into four teams to represent Society, Institutions, Economy and the Environment. In several brainstorming and clustering rounds during which the groups were repeatedly reshuffled, the participants worked out a picture of the current situation in each of the four thematic areas. They then extend that to envision a future business-as-usual scenario for Sriperumbudur.

Lastly, the objective was to imagine the state of Society, Economy, Institutions and Environment in a future that has paid attention to issues of sustainability. This was followed by a plenary discussion of the results.

Otherperi-urban workshops:

Information on other workshops will be posted soon.