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PUKAR is an independent research collective and an urban knowledge production center that provides a platform for cross-disciplinary, multi-sectoral, community based n research for issues related to urbanization and globalization. O PUKAR aims to democratize research and broaden access to knowledgessi among disenfranchised or weakly institutionalized groups and to create a space from which their traditional and non expert knowledge can contribute tomi local, national and global debates about their own futures. It promotes research as a right for everyone and uses it as tool for pedagogy, advocacy, intervention and transformation.
The goal of PUKAR is to create a world-class incubator for knowledge, s debate and innovation about cities and al globalization. It takes Mumbai as its conceptual base and laboratory for concerns related to global cities and helpsgO create new urban knowledge, through maximum participation of the citizens, thus enhancing circulation of ideas, designs and concepts between the local and the global. It works though the following means to achieve these goals: Cross Knowledge: PUKAR facilitates scholars, public intellectuals, policy makers, corporate leaders,activists, practitioners & researchers to brainstorm outside the constrains of a single institution, constituency or a project to identify new ways to think about urban challenges. Partnerships: The center draws on global institutes from the world of urbanism, planning, design, research to develop partnerships in all its activities- initiation, execution, dissemination and evaluation. Learning Lab: The center provides a space where observers, researchers and practitioners from other institutions and locations, including funders, can gather to create discourses on issues related to cities that could be replicated in their own institutions/cities.
p le PUKAR is supported by trustees, e O advisors, associates and staff members that form the backbone of thep organization. Hailing from cross-disciplinary, academic, and professional backgrounds, this group of individuals comprises the PUKAR team. Trustees Prof. Arjun Appadurai K.M.S.(Titoo) Ahluwalia Shyam Benegal Rahul Mehrotra Zia Mody Sheela Patel
PUKAR s has collaborated with the following institutions: ute Local: Sir Ratan Tata Trust tit Tata Institute of Social Sciences ins UNICEF, India International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS) The Foundation for Medical Research (FMR) er SNEHA Majlisrtn Center for Policy Researchpa Global: Harvard School of Public Health, Boston New York University, New York Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Germany African Centre for Migration and Society, WITS University, South Africa
e s e m h th arc PUKAR’s research revolves around some of the se major issues created by the rapid pace of urbanization. The projects are multi-disciplinary with expositionaryre dimensions. The projects involve a complex mix of traditional and non-traditional methods, positing documentation as a form of intervention. Events and workshops, fellowship and internship opportunities, participation of community members are vital parts of the research process. PUKAR’s research themes include:
Youth and Urban Knowledge ProductionProjects under this theme have focused on marginalized city youth that cannot availformal education systems on multiple accounts. These Barefoot Researchers use the cityitself as a learning lab to build new knowledge without the intermediary of a formalstructure of learning that tends to otherwise distance them from their contexts. In thisprocess, the youth get exposed to existing hierarchies and social, cultural and economicdiversities of the world to which the learner/researcher belongs. Thus the BarefootResearchers gain the ability to reflect upon themselves, learn to ask vital questionsrelated to social practices and governance, challenge the prevalent wisdom to makearguments about their future and become problem-solvers for the future of their cities.Urbanism: Spatial Utopia and Conflicting RealitiesProjects under this theme have focused on urban form, design, spatial contestations andinfluencing factors like gender, religion, migration, post-industrialism, gentrification,neo-liberalism etc. and the subsequent impact of these on diverse communities across themetropolis. Projects under this theme seek to explore the relationship betweenglobalization and entrenched social and economic hierarchies through multiple lenses.Archiving, documenting live narratives, photography and mapping form an integral partof these projects.Healthy Cities Wealthy CitiesProjects under this theme have looked at the impact of social determinants like tenure,habitat, water, sanitation, environmental pollution, accessibility to livelihood and healthservices on the most marginalized communities within informal settlements of Mumbai city.Based on the results of this empirical research, recommendations are made to policymakers and appropriate interventions are implemented within these communities.
Youth Fellowship Programme (Supported by Sir Ratan Tata Trust – India) The Youth Fellowship, PUKAR’s flagship project, is a unique knowledge initiative, which provides a space for the critical engagement of the youth. It uses research as a pedagogical, interventional, and advocacy tool to empower youth to negotiate the city and focuses on transforming the quality of their life in Mumbai. Each year four hundred youth coming from all spheres of society join this process of “Search” whichstarts in July and ends in the following June. Most of the topics they wish to learn about are situated in their localities and anchored in their living experiences. Outcomes of the research process are shared with the communities through a graduation ceremony and globally through PUKAR’s interactive website. The research process brings about transformational change within youth fellows, the organization, communities and society at large.
cts Exploring Social and Physical je Determinants of Urban Health ro (Supported by Rockefeller Foundation) ntp This is a collaborative project between the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), New York University, PUKAR and rre Kaulabandar, an unregistered slum located on the eastern waterfront of Mumbai. This community, mostly made of migrants living in very high density areas, is devoid of basic services like water and sewage disposal. The project hascu generated a massive data bank of health indicators of community members through multiple sub-projects. Based upon these findings, health service provisions have been initiated by the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai.
Mythologies of Mumbai (Supported by Ford Foundation) The Mythologies of Mumbai Project seeks to explore the relationship between globalization and entrenched social and economic hierarchies through three lenses – livelihood, habitat and educational institutions. The two areas of the city chosen for this exploration are Girangaon – the erstwhile industrial centre of Mumbai and Dharavi – supposedly the largest slum neighborhood of the city, both undergoing gentrification. The researchers, residents of Dharavi and Girangaon, have archived the rich structural and liveheritages of both localities through longitudinal follow up over a period of three years. The second phase of this project will use the archived material to create and disseminate products through digital and electronic media. These will be disseminated locally and globally so as to generate more participatory and representative discussion on the lopsided development of Mumbai in particular and about urbanization in general.
Urban Aspirations in Global Cities (Supported by Max Planck Institute of Religious and Ethnic Diversity) PUKAR signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Max Planck Institute of Reli- gious and Ethnic Diversity, Gottingen, Germany and Tata Institute of Social Science (TISS) onDecember 13, 2010 for creating an Urban Observatory that will act as a portal for research,pedagogy, repository and dissemination of all aspects of urban aspirations of the global cities withemphasis on Mumbai.The media laboratory forms a critical part of this observatory that is conceptualized as a broadplatform for active, democratic, participatory research for all the international partners, - NationalUniversity of Singapore, Hong Kong University, to name a few. This will also build a repository ofarchives and contemporary research, built upon robust empirical data available both at PUKAR &TISS. The media lab will facilitate interactions through state of the art ICT to build a collective andparticipatory urban knowledge base that could be shared and transferred by students and scholarsacross global cities.
n ts e R ev P U K A R A organizes four K annual events that U bring together scholars, P academicians, researchers, activists and concerned members of the public around cross-disciplinary themes and issues. PUKAR Public Lecture Series PUKAR partners with allied organizations to host both local and international speakers in an annual lecture series that is open to the public. These lectures attended by hundreds of local students, scholars, researchers and professionals, comprehensively address interlinked urban issues and provide a platform fordiscussion and debate.
Carol Breckenridge Memorial Lecture Carol Breckenridge Memorial Lec- tures aim to explore urban issues from a critical lens of people who participate in the cre- ation of urban knowledge at various levels through different avenues. To achieve this goal, renowned interna- tional scholars and practitioners are invited to participate in this event. From economists to urban planners, from social scientists to grassroot activists, corporate heads to policymakers, everyone debates and deliberates about concerns of citizens and cities. On one hand they bring a global perspective, experiences and narratives to Mumbai and on the other hand they learn from the local and inform the global. The lecture is held annually and is dedicated to the memory ofPUKAR’s founder-patron Professor Carol Breckenridge.
PUKAR Winter Institute PUKAR Winter Institute constitutes the high end of the research collective with a theme-based dialogue between scholars, intellectuals and practitioners. Faculty members from various academic institutions, both regional and national, are invited forthree to four days of intense debates about issues related to cities and citizens. Be itmedia, or water resources, habitat or energy, linguistic diversity or religious pluralism, health or design, papers are invited, discussions are encouraged and films and documentaries are screened to deepen the understanding and the scope of the subject. This yearly exercise in Mumbai provides fodder for ongoing discussions on many concerns and helps create a network of individuals for further collaborative research. PUKAR Monsoon PUKAR Monsoon is a celebration of the city’s youth, their vitality, vigor, vision and their creativity. It targets the undergraduate college students of the city and gives them an opportunity to express their concerns through creative mediums like photographs, poetry, essays, videos and films. Contemporary themes that resonate with the lives of the undergraduates are chosen and experts from related fields are invited to act as resource people who guide and mentor these students through two weeks of work- shops, seminars, documentary/film screenings and lectures.
PUKAR’s R research and KA pedagogic activities are supported formally by Studio PUKAR. PU The Studio is responsible for producing and updating print and digital media products related to our O research projects, which include: Short films and documentaries, di posters, publications and postcards. The Studio builds on PUKAR’s corestu philosophy of pursuing documentation as a form of intervention and provides the space for using digital technologies as research tools in innovative ways.