Home Webinar Whose sustainability? Discovering civic agency for the future Indian city

Next Occurrence


Aug 23 2021

Whose sustainability? Discovering civic agency for the future Indian city

The UN’s World Commission on Environment and Development, also known as the Bruntland Commission, defined sustainable development in 1987 as development “that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” The ‘future generations’ are key stakeholders in the process of achieving sustainability but it is assumed that they haven’t been born yet and thus the present generation must somehow presage their needs. This premise may need revisiting, given the unprecedented compression between present and future that is being affected by the accelerating pace of climate change and the speed with which future technologies and economic processes are transforming our lives. The future is always already present in our lives; especially for the younger generation that is newly entering civic life.

The Sustainable Development Goals are targeted to be achieved by 2030, however the struggle to sustain human existence — especially in its most intensive form, the city — is already palpable today. Sustainability has a very different import and urgency for the young architects and urbanists of today than it does for their ‘seniors’, whose successes and failures were assumed to be judged from a distant future date. Today’s professionals are shaping their own lives ‘in real time’ and are imagining futures that are likely to be manifest in their own lifetimes.

This webinar will discuss the civic agency of young professional in the shaping of cities. It brings together a small group of architects and urbanists who are departing from the accepted forms of professional agency that have been inherited from previous generations. Through a moderated conversation on the contemporary city and its sustainability needs, we will discover a rich understanding of issues and strategies that are current and concern us all. The webinar will also attempt to understand what we don’t talk about when we talk about sustainability. For whom are we building the sustainable city and who will be its builders? The panelists will help us understand the radical inclusion without which cities cannot be a form of sustainable development.


Resident Senior Fellow,IDFC Institute in Mumbai; Former Director, National Institute of Urban Affairs, New Delhi


Community Design Agency, Mumbai

Executive Director, Centre for Sustainable and Equitable Cities

Founder, Social Design Collaborative, New Delhi