I have asked this to myself a countless time. Thinking back, I remember that my interest in planning was first sparked during my first site visit.
“It is 5 o’clock in the morning. The alarm goes off and the three of us wake up. It is dark outside, others are still sleeping. We quickly get dressed and start our daily one hour walk. We reach the village and to my surprise the people of the village are up and about doing their work. On our 2-week journey we managed to interview around 200 randomly selected villagers. It has always been interesting going to the field and exploring the unexplored, talking to people and learning about their life. The village life was so simple. I was intrigued. I have always lived in a city, a far more complex setting in a concrete jungle, jostling my way through swarming subway and night market crowds, breathing pollution. I wanted to make my city better, I knew that because I came from the city, the city was where I belonged.”
I always believed in the saying by Mahatma Gandhi, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” And thanks to Nirma University for introducing this new course of Bachelors of Planning, where I can prepare myself to become the agent of change.
Down in the course for three years, one more to go I realized the importance of thinking creatively about social-economic problems and using a creative mindset to ensure that vulnerable individuals are included and empowered through the problem-solving process. It was it stuck me like a lightning bolt that planning is my niche, planning is an effective and creative way for me to create change.
Travelling, research and reading literature on sustainable development studies and environmental planning policies has become my area of interest. It taught me the importance of being prepared always be it any situation, it taught me to be creative in complex situations and weave my way through it , and it taught me to lead a team under hard conditions. But mostly it prepared me for the future. It made me responsible and respect my mother nature.
As I look to the future of cities, I am both excited and heedful. Technology is advancing quickly and cities are already learning to weave the “Internet”, “smart” and “skyscrapers” into their fabric. However, only this is not enough to address to urban issues, if every individual does not want to change and the politics and the policies do not change with time, nothing is going to change. After I graduate as a planner, I want to use my knowledge, my multidisciplinary skills in responsible way that ensure inclusionary and sustainable urban development.
Living in the era of ‘resource crisis’, sustainability is no longer just a concept, it has to be now applied and practiced, not just in India or other developing nations but all the countries who believe they are super power and the countries who believe climate change is just a hoax. If we want to live for another 2000 or so years at least, almost compulsorily we need to be sustainable. So, what does sustainability means, by definition it means optimum resource use such that enough is left for future generations to survive.
It is not a rocket science, its common sense. Sustainability can be learned from the deep understanding of local context, climate and materials. We also have tools and knowledge of different concepts like rating systems, carbon footprint calculations, energy modelling systems etc. to help us with that. Till recently it was difficult even to communicate sustainability. But now with clarity about the link of sustainability (read environment) and economics, it is easy to show commercial benefits of being sustainable.
Right from passing high school and the time I started looking for colleges, Nirma University has been my top priority because of its reputation, position among top universities and varied courses the university had to offer. It may not have been the first Institute I was wishing to attend, but after my journey with this University and the course I chose to go with, I am proud to be a member of it.
It was a sudden decision. One day I was still deciding and the next day, I was on my way to the first class as a planning student at the Institute of Architecture and Planning, Nirma University, nervous but ready to learn and so my journey began.
Also, the institute of Architecture and Planning offers a blend of learning, amusement and integration of enduring principles. The study environment is so relaxed, that a student never feels burden. It is easy for a student to learn and inculcate the sprit to stand out amongst the talented and hard-working students. The best part of it all the course outline, the lecture plan and the innovative assignments for all subjects that provide practical knowledge, and skills required for the professional world. Also, what makes this institute strong, are the professors that impart quality education to its students. All faculties of IAPNU are very sincere, dedicated and easily approachable, never can a student find himself lost in a concept and professors not being able to rescue him.
I can surely say I am at the best place I ever wanted to be and Planning for me is a pool of never-ending surprises, a multi-disciplinary course, which is interesting and a fascinating profession!
” So why am I pursuing urban planning?”
Because I want to give back to the city, because it is where I belong.