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Course Instructor

Instructor Bio

Life, the City, and Changing Climate

It's amazing how I'm able to ride around on a bike. People kind of see it's me but since I'm on a bike, they think, 'No, it's not her.' And by the time they realize it's me, I'm already gone!



May 22-28, 2022

For Ei ATS Scholars (and equivalent);

Students in Grades 8/9/10 in 2022-23

Life in cities is becoming pretty unpredictable in these times of changing climate. Floods are followed by drought whether it is Kochi, Chennai, Bengaluru, Bonn, Berlin or Beijing. Traffic congestion, air pollution, mounds of waste, loss of green spaces, increase in paved surfaces, and rising temperatures characterise our cities. Those of us living in these 'heat islands' are trying to figure out what is happening and why. Is there a way out of this? How should we plan and build our cities so that they become liveable? Can people and 'nature' coexist in cities?

When we hear words like 'nature' or 'biodiversity' we think of forests, wildlife parks, mountains, the sea – very rarely an urban space, paved roads, cracks in walls, pools of water. The way our houses are built, the materials we use, how our cities are planned and laid out, deeply impact and shape all life in our cities…. and our future. Can we explore possibilities of re-imagining our urban spaces so that all life can flourish?

There are cities which have been doing just this: re-imagining their spaces to make them liveable, breathable and dynamic. Innovative, democratic and participatory planning has been at the heart of such efforts. Green spaces, parks, city forests and water bodies naturally bring temperatures down, improving quality of life and contributing to capturing carbon as well.

In this course, we start by taking 'nature walks' in our neighbourhood - 'nature' which is right outside our doorstep. As we begin an exploration of this 'nature', we will start understanding its different forms, how we are shaping it and being shaped by it. This will lead us to the larger question of the changing face of cities in a changing climate and what it means for our collective future. We will use ‘systems thinking’ approaches to map key elements of the situation and their interrelationships.

The course is relevant to every concerned earthling. And for those passionate about the cause, it could be a stepping stone to disciplines like urban ecology, urban biodiversity, landscape architecture, environmental science and sustainability which are increasingly becoming important areas of study.

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