Planning for Conservation: Urban South Asia Research Seminar

This seminar looks to urban conservation strategies to explore issues concerning contemporary urbanism in South Asia. The course aims to bring together the contingent nature of preservation with the projective potential of design by stressing the necessity of planning for conservation when developing urban projects. In proposing that conservation strategies must be endemic to any successful urban proposal, the course will center around analyzing and deploying a critical conservation that can enrich both the planning process and the urban environment by accounting for disparate and conflicting narratives, acknowledging contending social forces, and integrating the conservation of nature with the conservation of culture and the built environment.

In the first half of the course, students will analyze critical conservation epistemologies in order to assemble frameworks for investigating three primary themes: sacred rivers and waterfronts, cultural landscapes, and urbanization and historic cores. Readings, discussions, and presentations by guest lecturers on each of these themes will provide the basis for each student’s own analysis and development of analytical frameworks, which will be presented to the class at the semester midpoint. In the second half of the course, students will use these frameworks to investigate specific sites within the Yamuna River monuments corridor in Agra. Both the broad thematic investigations and the specific site projects will build a foundation for developing critical conservation strategies as part of the Aga Khan Studio in Agra during the Spring 2015 semester.