Current Projects

Comprehensive Initiative for Technology Evaluation (CITE)

Professor Sanyal co-leads this major effort to evaluate technologies for the poor that is being sponsored by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). CITE is an effort to assess what technologies work in meeting challenges in the developing world.


Hidden Successes

In 2007-08, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the Institute for Financial Management and Research (IFMR) organized Hidden Successes, an international competition for the best research paper on innovative institutional responses to India’s new urban challenges. Professor Sanyal formulated the theme of the competition by asking the question, “Why is it so difficult to find case studies of any planning success in India?” The competition draws attention to the fact that existing case studies are usually intensely critical of all planning efforts, and thereby do not acknowledge elements of successes, however limited, which must be built upon to educate a new group of planners who are aware of both the possibilities and limits of planning. Hence, the purpose of the Hidden Successes competition was to highlight cases of innovation and success in response to rapid urbanization by inviting entries from multidisciplinary teams consisting of both academics and practitioners. Additional support for this competition was provided by the MIT-India Program and the Special Program in Urban and Regional Studies (SPURS) at MIT. Prof. Sanyal is presently working on an edited volume that will contain the winning papers, along with several invited papers from well known scholars and practitioners in India. The volume will highlight cases of relative successes in local public sector planning in India, probing both why there is so little written about success and suggesting research questions which emerged from the competition. The competition brief and the winning abstracts can be found at:

Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS)

MIT’s School of Architecture and Planning has received a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation for the purpose of developing an integrated, interdisciplinary PhD and Masters level curriculum in urban planning for a newly created university–the Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS). IIHS is a privately- funded educational institution that will educate a new generation of urban practitioners and scholars focused on addressing the challenges of large scale urban transformations in India. Professors Bish Sanyal and Lawrence Vale are leading an interdisciplinary team of faculty members and professionals, from MIT and other educational institutions as well as practice partners, to develop an innovative curriculum. They are being supported by PhD and Masters students from MIT’s Department of Urban Studies, and Department of Architecture. Professor Sanyal will be working specifically on the creation of a new core curriculum, which will cultivate “new sensibilities” necessary for innovative planning in India. The new core will serve to integrate various aspects of planning, ranging from economics to law, and will bridge current conceptual divides, like top-down and bottom-up planning, planning and implementation, and market efficient and social equity. Additional faculty teams from within and outside of MIT are developing curricula for fine specialization areas ranging from Economic development to Infrastructure planning. The most recent project meeting was held in Bellagio in summer 2009, with the next meetings set for London in November and India in January 2010. Other project partners include University College London, IDO (San Francisco) and ARUP. For more information on the IIHS and MIT, please see the IIHS Website or contact Amit Prothi: prothi@MIT.EDU