Category Archives: Uncategorized

Water Governance in the Capital City – Initial Thoughts on AAP’s Whitepaper on Water Governance


Some thoughts from my colleagues at work on the Delhi’s government’s approach to water

Originally posted on cprurban:

By Amandeep Singh and Nikhil George

The young Aam Admi Party’s unprecedented electoral victory in the national capital had occupied prime space in the country’s opinion pages during the first half of February this year. After the government formation, the discussions and media attention should have moved onto policies and the new government’s efforts to follow them. But, the opinion space and reportage since then has largely been on the party’s internal rift and less on the policies of its government. An exception was the media interest to discuss a water tariff that made water, free for households consuming less than 20 KL a month.

Governance of water is a policy area where the AAP has a well-articulated vision – Jal Swaraj, The Aam Admi Party Whitepaper on Water. This is in all likelihood a first for a political party in India, discounting the few lines on water that…

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VIDEO: everything is everything


A fresh view of cities, creatively expressed!

Originally posted on the urban geographer:

In August 2011, I delivered a lecture titled Everything is Everything as part of the amazing Fuller Terrace Lecture Series in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

That night’s theme was The Nature of Things, and I thought it the perfect opportunity to distill the messages of my undergraduate thesis, transforming them into more accessible and whimsical language and visuals.

Fuller Terrace Lectures recently updated their archives, including the entirety of the 2011 season. Please enjoy my lecture, and check out the others too!

Daniel Rotsztain The Nature of Things from Fuller Terrace Lecture Series on Vimeo.

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Dream Vacation


Kids can surprise you everyday…

Originally posted on theamazingud:

My dream vacation is high up in the Himalayas,a place where you can trek all day.There, I will go with a tent and set up camp after a good day’s trek. I will eat whatever I packed and drink the moving water from mountain streams. I will explore the wild and find which bee stings hurt more, which wild tree has good food, etc. Eventually, I will reach the top of the mountain and my perfect vacation will be complete.

A mountain for another journey A mountain for another journey

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Remembering Meena – my final piece on the Kutch sojourn.


Evocative piece, mum! Love it

Originally posted on sitanaiksblog:

The short 5 days I spent in Kutch last month has left a myriad of  images in my mind –  of the flat, uncluttered country side, the great, impressive architectural marvels  (Rani-ki-vav, Aina Mahal at Bhuj, Sun temple of Modhera) and wonderful, impressive crafts people and their art. But the most recurring image is that of the little girl, holding rock salt in her hand and flashing the most glorious smile for the camera.


This  is Meena, all of 7 years old, who  lives with her parents in the flat lands of the little Rann. And when I say flat, by jove is it flat!! I have never seen anything like it and am unlikely to –  it  is a  vast extant of cracked brown  mudflats, stretching as far as the eye can see.  Under a searing white sun, where temperatures rise into the 50s and…

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[Case note] Poverty, wealth and a developer’s obligations in Maharashtra


The dovetailing of urban planning and development is incomplete even as development authorities and private real estate developers continue to fraternize and collude. What happens, then to low cost housing or private property rights? Is this an issue of class conflict or of irresponsible governance? Raeesa Vakil’s case note sheds light on these essential questions…

Originally posted on cprurban:

The development of the Powai Area Development Scheme (“PADS”) in Mumbai, has been fraught with legal controversy for the last twenty-odd years. In 1986, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (the “MMRDA”) entered into a tripartite agreement with the original landowners to develop 93 hectares of land in Powai, Mumbai. The land was leased to the Hiranandani group for development at a nominal rate of Rs. 1 per hectare. In return, Hiranandani was to construct low cost housing of two types – one of 40 square meters, and the other of 80 sq.m. The original owners would get housing for themselves and an 80-year lease over developed property. Of the remaining housing, 15% would be sold back to the state at low rates for allocation to government employees. The rest would be sold for profit by Hiranandani.

The original agreements with Hiranandani also had requirements for the provision of open…

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Stunning Skies in Assam

Woke up this morning to a series of stunning pics sent to me by friend Vishal, who we visited recently in Assam. He took them when we were all together one evening, watching a mesmerising sunset in Misamari.

The skies in Assam took my breath away, from the creeping light of dawn to the dotted white puffs scattered over the tea gardens during the daytime right down to the spectacular sunsets.

Here are some of the pics we took from assorted cameras and phones. When I look at them, I remember those beautiful shared moments when we were all, regardless of age and background, awed and humbled by Mother Nature.

_DSC9207 _DSC8982 _DSC8916 _DSC9209 _DSC9219 IMG_0748 IMG_0749 IMG_0750 IMG_0751 IMG_0752 IMG_0753

The mysticism of the past: Visiting Stonehenge

I’ve wanted to visit Stonehenge since the year 2000. Back then, I was pursuing a Masters in Urban Planning at Texas A&M University and taking a course in historic preservation. Professor David Woodcock encouraged me to pursue my interest in cultural landscapes, and with his help (he leveraged his contacts at English Heritage and got them to send me every piece of research they had in their possession!) I wrote a great term paper on Stonehenge.

The mysticism of this circle of stones has stayed with me ever since. It’s the kind of place that evokes in me an unnamed indescribable fascination for history. I wonder how humans in those long bygone days conceived the world around them, how they built their social fabric and how they sowed the seeds for the complexities of existence that we take for granted today.

Stonehenge is a neolithic site created from enormous stones over different period of time probably to understand or pay obeisance to the elements of nature, namely the movement of the sun across the sky around the year. It is part of a larger landscape of monuments scattered around this area, dating from 4000 BC to about 1600 BC. Many of these, and more are being excavated and interpreted even now, seem to be ritual gathering places, burial grounds and they reiterate how important birth and death, religion and rituals must have been to ancient humans. No one knows how they transported these gigantic stones from far away to the site, and its hard to imagine the complete monument today when you see only a ruin from which stones have been taken away or that has degenerated with time.

It is, however, possible to feel the primal energy when you stand there next to Stonehenge. A sense of mystery and strength, of peace even, a dedication to the powers that be! This time, I had only an hour to see it, but it would be fun to return one day to this World Heritage Site and walk the entire landscape that includes Stonehenge, Avebury and surrounding areas.

Stonehenge is now accessed through this beautiful visitor's centre. It is impressive how well heritage sites are managed in the UK.

Stonehenge is now accessed through this beautiful visitor’s centre. It is impressive how well heritage sites are managed in the UK.

Sense of scale!

Sense of scale!


A very happy me!

A very happy me!

A very happy Nupur too...

A very happy Nupur too…

Looks different from every angle. As you move around it, Stonehenge transforms

Looks different from every angle. As you move around it, Stonehenge transforms

Helps understand something of why it was built

Helps understand something of why it was built

How tiny the man is, how huge the stones

How tiny the man is, how huge the stones

Smooth stones, rough stones....

Smooth stones, rough stones….

_DSC7988The reconstruction of neolithic homes near the Visitor Centre really added value to the visit for me, as one could better imagine what life was like back then, bringing Stonehenge back from a monument of mystery to one that was used for specific purposes by real people!


I miss my kids when I travel without them and here, I was tickled by how differently this one was experiencing the space as compared to an adult!

I miss my kids when I travel without them and here, I was tickled by how differently this one was experiencing the space as compared to an adult!

_DSC8001_DSC8002Also, a mention must be made of how well the site and visitor flow is managed. I was surprised to know that the entire 6500 acres of the World Heritage Site is owned and managed by English Heritage or the National Trust and that even the land around is owned by the armed forces and other government agencies so that the disturbances to the site and the experiences are minimal! It is possible to walk for miles through fields and woods to explore important prehistoric sites.

There’s a lot of fascinating info about Stonehenge online, if you want to read more….



Here’s another short and sweet post from my (not so) little blogger….

Originally posted on theamazingud:

We went to many places on our holidays Amsterdam is one of them . There we went to the Nemo museum. It is a science museum for children. It is a very interesting place where you can find out many, many things and there is a lot to do. It is designed in the shape of a ship, a big blue one.
We also went to a flea market from where we got lots of things like stickers and metal owls!


Bubble blowing! Bubble blowing!

going to blow bubbles! going to blow bubbles!

working hard to move up and down. working hard to move up and down.

oldest thing I have ever touched, a piece of a meteor! oldest thing I have ever touched, a piece of a meteor!

listening listening

museum made robot! museum made robot!

metal owl from flea market metal owl from flea market

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Architecture in B&W


Stunning work by my very well traveled friend Maneck!

Originally posted on ask maverick:

“Architecture begins where Engineering ends” … Walter Gropius said this and the debate still continues between both disciplines. But, as an architect when one travels the world visiting different cities and ancient buildings, one cannot help but wonder that the best of both disciplines would have gone into the making of these landmark structures. The debate I will reserve for another blog post, and this I will restrict to love of architecture, travel and photography. Big cities and landmark buildings still give me a high like none other I have experienced.

Taking a step forward I have showcased a handful of my recent pictures from my travels … all in Black & White.

The "Blue City" of Jodhpur ... founded in 1459 & named after Rao Jodha of Mandore. The “Blue City” of Jodhpur as seen from the canon mounted at Mehrangarh fort … founded in 1459 & named after Rao Jodha of Mandore.

The Chicago skyline from Lake Michigan ... also know as the "Windy City" ... you can see the Sears (now Willis) Tower standing tall on the left side. The Chicago skyline from Lake Michigan … also know as the “Windy City” … you…

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Bleak future for ‘Girl Child’ in Slums


Depressing, but needs urgent attention!

Originally posted on Terra Urban टेरा अर्बन:

Recently Child Rights and You (CRY) conducted a survey of 480 people living in urban slums across five cities, including Mumbai, Kolkata,Delhi and Bangalore directed towards girl child’s education in these slums.

The survey has revealed interesting insights that leave one ponder on ‘how to protect the fate of girl child’ in our urban poor settlements.

Some of the findings of this survey were:

  • The prospect of getting a secondary school education seems like a long shot for many girls in Mumbai’s slums.
  • Around 78% of slum-dwellers in the city believe that if a girl below the age of 18 is tall and can work for a living, she should not be considered a child at all.
  • Girls in urban slums also have to fight cultural notions associated with marriage. Eighty six per cent of respondents from Mumbai — the highest among all cities — subscribe to the belief that…

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