2014, Delhi, India, for Alfred Herrhausen Society & LSE Cities


The Urban Age Award is travelling prize that aims to recognize and empower grassroots initiatives and movements that work on alleviating problems that cities face. The award was instituted in 2008 in Mumbai and has since traveled to Cape Town, Mexico City, Sao Paolo, Rio de Janeiro and Istanbul. In 2014, the award took place in Delhi and I was responsible for curating the various aspects related to the award. These included reaching out and mapping the various grassroots initiatives in the city, developing design content and organizing talks and events around social issues in the city. A total of 135 initiatives applied for the award among which GOONJ and CHINTAN emerged as winners.

You can read more about the award and grantees here.

Importantly, the opportunity of mapping grassroots initiatives in Delhi helped me bring my design and research interests together. I was able to embark on a unique design and activism path through which I have been able to work with many of the communities and organizations in an attempt to weave another city, a more just, a more sympathetic one. I remain eternally grateful to the kind mentoring of Ute E Weiland, Priya Shankar and Linda Radau, my colleagues during the award who motivated me to pursue this design activism path.

The award also was an important precursor to the urbanxchanger project, which allowed a cross-learning between cities and community initiatives located in Delhi, Mexico City, Sao Paolo, Cape Town and Berlin.

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