Students head to India for urban planning experience
Ten students pursuing master’s degrees in urban and regional planning will have a chance to prepare an international planning report when they venture to Auroville, India, in early December. The trip is the culmination of a course where the students have been working on simulating professional practice.
The course is being led by Ajay Agarwal (Urban and Regional Planning). Dr. Agarwal chose Auroville as the project site because the city is progressive in its views on sustainable development and intentional community building.
“It’s very progressive in terms of urban planning practices,” says Dr. Agarwal. “This will provide students an excellent opportunity for both learning from sustainable development practices at Auroville and applying what they’ve learned at Queen’s to a real-life setting.”
The second-year students have been preparing for the trip by doing background research on Auroville’s history, geography, culture and economy, as well as on the principles and practices of planning public spaces.
While in Auroville, the students will observe how local residents use public spaces, while gaining a deeper understanding of their functionality within the city. They will then produce a document outlining guidelines and policies for developing public spaces in Auroville, which the city will be able to use as it grows.
Hillary Morgan (MPL'13) has always been drawn to alternative ways of living, and is excited about the opportunity to experience a city founded on a premise of self-sufficiency.
“I think we’re all really excited – getting to experience India will be neat, and so will getting international experience. A lot of master’s programs don’t offer that.”
Nick Danford (MPL'13), who is the student project manager, says he’s enjoyed the challenges of preparing for the trip.
“It’s been interesting to go from trying to figure out what we’re going to do when we’re there, to actually preparing to go.”
Dr. Agarwal and his students will be in Auroville from December 9 – 20. On January 23, they will give a presentation about their experiences abroad. It is scheduled from 11:30 am – 1 pm in Robert Sutherland Hall 554.