Over the coming half century, India’s urban population is expected to increase from a little over 300 million to about 800 million, accounting for more than half of the nation's total population. The country will make a historic transition from a largely rural and agrarian society to one that is predominantly urban. This will be more than just an economic transition. It will result in the transformation of Indian society, culture, natural and built environments and politics.

This massive population shift will result in an explosion in the demand for livelihoods; for more urban space, housing and services; for improved governance; and for a new politics:– all on a scale that no democracy has confronted in history. The future of India -- as well as the balance towards a more secure, sustainable and prosperous global future – will hinge on these challenges being handled with wisdom and alacrity. The Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS) will create India’s first independent National Innovation University focussed on the challenges and opportunities of its urbanisation. This will be a privately funded, globally-ranked education and action-oriented research institution at par with the celebrated Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs). The IIHS will host an integrated programme of high quality education, research and knowledge generation, executive training, distance learning, design and advisory services, advocacy and intervention.

A central challenge within the IIHS mission is creating a dynamic, interdisciplinary, South Asia-centric and globally relevant curriculum that spans the two dozen-odd disciplines and practice areas that define urban transformation. The Curriculum Development Process – stretching over two years from 2009-2011 – is aimed at taking on precisely this challenge.

The IIHS Curriculum 

The primary objectives of the IIHS curriculum are to create for human settlements professionals, practitioners and researchers from India and others parts of the world: 

  • An interdisciplinary innovation-oriented knowledge base appropriate to the transformatory opportunities and challenges of South Asian and international settlements in the 21st century.

  • A quality application-oriented and experiential learning environment that reaches out through and beyond an open campus to across India and other parts of the world.

  • A set of opportunities for inclusion, integrated human development and an engagement with Indian Constitutional values.

  • Opportunities to develop the technical, integrative and epistemological capacities to: design, develop and help deploy the most appropriate technologies, infrastructure and management systems from across the globe; incubate and catalyse technical, institutional and social innovation, sustainability and enable good governance; effectively respond to contemporary and emerging challenges drawing on both disciplinary and indigenous knowledge; serve as a platform for dialogue between the state, private and civil society sectors and citizens, especially the most vulnerable; to be rooted in South Asian culture, arts and craft, languages and scholarship and thereby set global standards for praxis, education and research. 

  • Avenues for the deepening of the pedagogical and reflective capacities of the faculty to transact an integrated, interdisciplinary programme to meet these transformatory goals.