“Urban Recoveries” is the inaugural webinar of the series, “Resilience and Well-being through the Lens of the Pandemic,” designed to examine the impact that the global coronavirus pandemic has had on India and the way that the country is responding to COVID-19. The series will address key related issues in areas such as economics, medicine, urbanization and public health. The series of conversations will feature internationally recognized experts, moderated by UNC faculty members, to examine ongoing research about India, the challenges the country faces and the solutions promising a brighter future.
The coronavirus pandemic has brought many changes and challenges in its wake. It has changed how we live and work, while calling attention to the worsening inequities across cities and regions. In India these effects have been profound — brought to light most vividly by the severe impact on migrant and own-account workers at the base of urban labor markets, and significant health and economic stress on informal settlements in cities. This webinar will explore how India ’s urban and linked rural economies may recover in equitable, effective and creative ways post-pandemic, and what the structure of cities may look like going forward.
An architect and urban planner, Mukta Naik’s research interests include housing and urban poverty, urban informality, internal migration as well as urban transformations in small cities. At CPR, Mukta focuses her work on understanding the links between internal migration and urbanization in the Indian context. Prior to joining CPR, she worked with social enterprise micro Home Solutions on community-based interventions to improve housing in informal settlements. Mukta has been published widely in the print and digital media and has run a market research and media services company in the past, working with prominent corporations. Mukta is a graduate of School of Planning and Architecture (1999). She has a Masters in Urban and Regional Planning from Texas A&M University (2002) and is currently a PhD Candidate at the Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies, Erasmus University Rotterdam.
is Senior Infrastructure Adviser in the UK government’s Department for International Development. Shah’s body of work bridges across design, planning, innovation, organisational development and capacity building. It is equally informed by his professional training as an architect in New Delhi and his postgraduate studies in architectural history and theory at the University of Cincinnati and Columbia University, allowing him to combine his interest in political economy analysis with a commitment to integrated planning, participative governance, green transportation, heritage revitalisation and new livelihoods.
During the decade prior to joining DFID, Shah steered the organisational transformation at the National Institute of Urban Affairs, the premier urban think-tank of the Government of India (2013-19), and the transition of the Sushant School of Art & Architecture (2010-12), one of India’s most reputed private institutes, into the anchor institution for the newly founded Ansal University. From 2007-2010, he successfully incubated an in-house urban development unit for a leading Indian business group. He served as Visiting Faculty in the School of Planning & Architecture during 1998-2006.
Shah’s work as an urban expert includes a number of nationally significant and pioneering initiatives such as the Heritage Plan for Jaipur (2004-6), plans for station-areas for the Regional Rapid Transit System between Delhi-Meerut and Delhi-Panipat (2009-12), the Regional Plan 2021 for the National Capital Region, the Master Plan for Delhi (2006-7 and 2018-19), the National Urban Policy framework (2018) and the policy and implementation of India’s Smart Cities Mission. Shah’s writings include two books, ‘Contemporary Indian Architecture’ (2008) and Building Beyond Borders (1995) co-authored with Satish Grover, and a significant corpus of articles on architecture and urbanism. He has been a member of the Board of Trustees of Clean Air Asia since 2016.
is Associate Professor of Economic and International Development at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her research focuses on the political economy of development, industrialization, and urbanization. Her current research is on institutional reform in the urban water sector and on securing decent work for informal workers at the base of labor intensive value chains. Her latest books include two co-edited volumes, Labor in Global Value Chains in Asia (
with D. Nathan and S. Sarkar, 2016, Cambridge University Press) and Development with Global Value Chains: Upgrading and Innovation in Asia
(with D. Nathan and S. Sarkar, 2019, Cambridge University Press). She holds a Ph.D. and Masters from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a Bachelors from the School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi.
is a Senior Fellow at the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER). Prior to joining ICRIER, she worked at the Planning Commission and at the International Labour Organization, Geneva. Her broad areas of research interests include poverty and inequality, labour economics and industrial performance. She holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the London School of Economics, a Masters degree from Cambridge University and a Bachelors degree from St. Stephens College, University of Delhi.
Somik V. Lall
is the World Bank’s global lead on territorial development solutions and a lead economist for urban development in its Global Practice for Urban, Resilience and Land. He has been a core team member of the World Development Report 2009: Reshaping Economic Geography and developed the policy framework for integrating lagging and leading areas within countries. He is the lead author of the World Bank’s flagship report on urbanization: Planning, Connecting & Financing Cities. Somik has led the World Bank’s global research program on urbanization and spatial development and previously founded the Urbanization Reviews program. He has advised national and sub national government on key policy issues including the South African National Treasury on breaking down the apartheid geography
, the Development Research Center of China’s State Council on enhancing urban productivity, and Planning Commission of India on managing urban density. He studied at New East between 1994 and 1996. Twitter: @somikcities