Anushka Shahdadpuri

Volume 8, Issue 1, March 2021
pp. 46 – 55

Anushka Shahdadpuri graduated from Pillai College of Architecture. She is the founder of Aamchi, a mentoring, design and research platform centered around embedding culture and critical thinking within the architectural discourse. After her graduation, she worked at the School of Environment and Architecture as a Research Assistant. She presented her paper titled ‘Conferences and the Gender Question’ at the Gender and Academic Leadership in Architecture in India Symposium, 2020. Anushka is currently a Research Associate at the Social Design Collaborative, Delhi that is working on participatory planning for Delhi’s Master plan 2041 as a part of the Main Bhi Dilli Campagin.


Contemporary Indian urbanscapes present a curious spectacle of messy, fuzzy forms with the fancy obsession to mechanization. Altered with the development of modern economic and political systems and social conditions, change in labor forms and practices, and environmental issues, these landscapes have grown into complex, concurrent forms with irregular street layouts, intricate mingling of uses in absence of clear-cut functional zones. However, as a symptom of ‘worlding’ Indian cities, the growing reliance on cartography, smart technology and data to understand the social and physical challenges of contemporary cities is argued to in fact remove this heterogeneity and real life from them.

Despite these contradictory predicaments, varying claims, urban forms appear to be inherently messy and mixed. The essay is interested in examining the social framework of modern Indian landscapes, which go beyond its formal construct and physical appearance. Given the emergent relationship of cities and its people which in itself offers an opportunity of acknowledging different uses and users, informs this essay’s study of the evolving imaginations of whose city is it anyway? Who builds the city? What makes the city?

Premised on lost memory of Ulhasnagar, nostalgia, recent events and mundane stories involving oral life narratives and lived experiences, this paper proposes an alternative lens to envisage urban landscapes through the dynamics of everyday as emblematic of its messy logic constantly wrought by overlapping uses, numerous and simultaneous claims.

Contemporary Urban landscapes, Messy, Smart cities, Ulhasnagar, Urban Memory