Placemaking in South Asia: The Urban Jam Series

Placemaking for Peacemaking 

Placemaking in South Asia shares a common history, culture and ecology. In collaboration with Peacemakers Pakistani, Placemaking India kicked off a year-long series of online conversations beginning and concluding on Independence Day under Urban Jam, an initiative for collective learning with the Indic diaspora. The objective of the series was to find common ground on urban issues and engage in mutual discovery of the opportunities and challenges of the public realm in pairs of cities across the border. Samriddhi Khare, research volunteer for Placemaking India, takes a look back at the year’s Samvaad.

    • In a special Independence Day edition of Urban Jam, Placemaking India founding member Sanjay Prakash moderates a cross-border and cross-generational discussion between young Lahori urban artist Azbah Ansari and seasoned Delhi architect Ashok B. Lall on the joys, attractions and placemaking challenges in the old cores of their cities. This discussion highlights the role of public participation in initiatives for Placemaking in South Asia.
    • Architect-activist PK Das and Suneela Ahmed, a mentee of Arif Hassan, navigate the common hydrologies of port cities Mumbai and Karachi. This session, moderated by Kiran Kalamdani, focuses on the movement of Placemaking as it relates to equality, environmental justice and democratization of ecology.
    • Planning experts Jit Kumar Gupta and Khurram Farid Bargatt, in a conversation moderated by expert Vikash Chandra, explore the relevance of two South Asian capitals designed by European architects: Chandigarh and Islamabad. The discussion sheds light on the strengths and the limitations of foreign influence, how they have been contextualised over time and what needs to be done differently, in the years to come.
    • Peshawar, the city of the Pakhtuns and Lucknow, the city of the Nawabs are both distinguished by a unique intangible heritage tied to neighbourhoods and places. Expert natives Dr. Amir Khan and Ananya Asthana unpack their perspectives of the cities. Placemaking India founding member Olga Chepelianskaia steers the conversation and historian and conservationist Neeta Das lends her perspective as rapporteur.
    • Jaipur Literature Festival rivets the attention of global intelligentsia to the previously obscure Diggi Palace every January. In another princely desert state, Bahawalpur quietly continues to magnetise the faithful as it has for the last 800 years at Uch Sharif Mela. Sharupa Dutta, producer of JLF and Architect Mehroze Nasim, native to Bahawalpur, speak about literary and religious gatherings and the impact they have on the host cities and on the well-being of the people. The discussion is moderated by architect and art enthusiast Syed Rameez Haider.

For a detailed summary of the outcomes of the conversations on Placemaking in South Asia, please write to Samriddhi Khare at

Delhi / Lahore

Highlighting the immense cultural heritage of the Mughal-era walled cities of Delhi and Lahore, we dissect the spatial and temporal aspects of Placemaking, and how it relates to citizenry across generations.

Mumbai / Karachi

Mumbai and Karachi have both fostered projects demonstrating neighbourhood-based, bottom-up planning processes that valorise a collective planning effort – which is the essence of placemaking and a tenet of democracy.

Chandigarh / Islamabad 

There is a consonance between two South Asian capitals master-planned by European architects. The discussion draws out the benefits and drawbacks of foreign influence, how the cities have been contextualized over time and what needs to be done differently in the years to come, leaving viewers with one question – can our cities be finite?

Lucknow / Peshawar

Peshawar, the city of the Pakhtuns, and Lucknow, the city of the Nawabs, are both distinguished by a unique intangible heritage tied to neighbourhoods and places. These historic sites have been kept alive through the centuries-old bazaars, local food culture and legacy.

Jaipur / Bahawalpur

Festivals play a pivotal role in Placemaking, particularly in the South Asian context. How have the host cities of the Jaipur Literature Festival and Uch Sharif Mela
enhanced social connections and improved their international visibility?