M.Plan. in Urban Design, Sustainability and Conservation


Program Description

Architect, planner, and historian, Dr. Jyoti Hosagrahar established and held the UNESCO Chair at Srishti Institute from 2014-2016. In her interview with Shagun Singh of Designwala.org, she shares her thoughts on the need for more sensitive and inclusive approaches towards urban development in Indian cities.


This program is one of the two postgraduate programs established under the UNESCO Chair in Culture, Habitat, and Sustainable Development at Srishti. The program is designed to deliver familiarity with international and national, norms and standards of heritage interpretation and management, based on the foundation of the World Heritage Convention. Furthermore, the courses will be driven towards exploring newer approaches for designing and sustaining the historic towns and centers, amidst the on-going urban development in Indian cities today.

From small neighborhoods to large metropolitan centers, urban areas in India today are in a state of rapid growth and transformation. The drive for mass-urbanization and relentless efforts to globalize are threatening to erode, diminish, and erase our own built and natural heritage, along with irreparable destruction to tangible and intangible cultural assets of the places. Through this program and its courses, the intention is to address questions about conserving the urban living heritage in the time and age of continual changes. How can the cultural understanding of a place and its heritage be integrated into urban development processes and policies? Can heritage interpretation be the means of enhancing sustainable practices in urban areas? How does one introduce more humanistic and sensitive concepts of development in creating a sustainable city?

A deeper understanding and engagement with the cultural heritage, natural environments, and ecologies of particular locales will lead to innovative, inclusive and sustainable strategies to protect heritage values in the design of urban landscapes. Thus, this program is curated towards continuous engagement with the knowledge and skills to analyze the urban areas around historic places, as spatial structures, social networks, cultural landscapes, and service systems. Theoretical and practical courses will be offered, to facilitate response-building, critical-thinking and interpreting natural and cultural identities of the places of study. Thereby, the program invites passionate and enthusiastic individuals to engage with cities in a multidisciplinary way and propose local solutions to global issues, in their overarching endeavor to protect the heritage sites. The program intends to mentor new age creative professionals who will redefine the practice of city-planning, informed by ideas of cultural and economic sustenance, social cohesion, resilience, inclusivity, and equity.

The pedagogy of this program will have constant overlaps and intersections with its complementing postgraduate program under the UNESCO Chair. Both these programs are structured around the issues of heritage preservation and conservation, arising from the vision and mandate of the chair. The immediate focus areas of intervention for the academic year 2017-19 will be Hoysala Region, Deccani Region, Western Ghats, Coastal Karnataka and Bengaluru Metropolitan. These places will only act as living labs for the purpose of portfolio building, not limiting the holistic learning in the areas of urban design for conservation and sustainability of similar contexts in the future. This program will be a part of a much larger, interdisciplinary community at the School of Law, Environment, and Planning at Srishti.

Image shows the mapping and representation of surrounding areas around the selected site in Bidar old town by Pallavi Paul, during the disciplinary project study titled ‘Inherited Urbanism’ led by Shreyas Srivatsa.

Key Values

  • Cultural and natural heritage are valuable non-renewable resources
  • Cultural and natural heritage make places more livable. Cultural and natural heritage form the identity of a place
  • Design and planning to respond to local context is more sustainable

Course Structure

  1. Studios encourage active, contextual learning where students develop core disciplinary skills and knowledge. Studios facilitate collaborative and creative design solutions to complex, open-ended problems
  2. Workshops provide intense learning experiences in making and doing, across the different disciplines.
  3. Internship with an industry or a design studio is compulsory for students at the end of 1st year
  4. Self Initiated Project is an end of the semester challenge that allows the student to engage in research/inquiry or design based projects. Students begin by writing their project proposal and defining the scope of their project and they are mentored by faculty/design professionals.
  5. Electives are liberal arts courses aimed to cultivate intellectual and reflective abilities in students and motivate them to probe deeper and approach their design process in a holistic manner.
  6. Capstone Project is the culmination of the research, capabilities, and knowledge gained over the last three semesters. Students are required to submit their design output and a mandated thesis document. Students are mentored during this final project and go through seminars to get feedback from faculty and peer groups

Student in a course on mapping places using GIS, course facilitators – HS Sudhira and Shweta Dange, Course: Making Places.


On successful completion of the course, graduates will have a specialization in urban design and planning that is culturally and environmentally sustainable Further, students would acquire the following capabilities:

Knowledge and Understanding:

  • Conceptual clarity around what is urban sustainability, cultural heritage, and natural environment and why heritage contributes to better urban environments
  • An understanding of key international norms and standards around protection and management of cultural and natural heritage

Communication Skills:

  • Familiarity with professional writing such as grants proposals and reports
  • GIS and spatial data survey and mapping; 3-D visualization
  • Specific heritage related skills such as inventorying and assessment of threats, mapping, and community study

Practitioner Skills:

  • Understanding of how to design and plan places at different urban scales while also nurturing and protecting heritage.
  • Ability to plan and design in a participatory with as part of a multidisciplinary group and with the local community.


The program in Urban Design and Sustainability would open up the following opportunities to successful graduates:

  • Enhanced employment opportunities with specialization and refinement in heritage compatible design, urban design, and sustainable design in a variety of creative professional practices such as planning, urban design, architecture, landscape architecture, and housing design.
  • Employment in research and development organizations, NGOs & social enterprises working in any field of built environment, cities, heritage, sustainability and resilience.
  • Employment with museums and galleries
  • Become a design and planning entrepreneur
  • Become an academic in a design program


For more information about this program, kindly email Shreyas Srivatsa at shreyas.srivatsa@srishti.ac.in

Last updated Jan 2019

About the School

Srishti Institute of Art, Design, and Technology is a non-residential institution founded in 1996 by the Ujwal Trust with the objective of providing art and design education in an environment of creat ... Read More

Srishti Institute of Art, Design, and Technology is a non-residential institution founded in 1996 by the Ujwal Trust with the objective of providing art and design education in an environment of creativity to maximize the individual’s potential.The Ujwal Trust also manages Srishti's sister institution, the prestigious Mallya Aditi International School. Read less