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Architects of the future

Packed with studio exercises, field visits, and a gamut of subjects, urban planning is fast emerging as a lucrative career

The Smart Cities Mission launched by the Government of India, in 2015, for the development of smart cities, is expected to deliver results by 2021-22. This has led to an increase in the demand of urban planners, who can take comprehensive decisions for the renewal and retrofitting of the urban spaces.

“The role of urban planners is concerned with the welfare of people, control of the use of land, design of the urban environment including transportation and communication networks, and protection and enhancement of the natural environment,” says Prabhakar Kumar, Head of the Department and GM Planning, Rudrabhishek Enterprises Limited (REPL).

According to V. Devadas, professor of architecture and urban planning, IIT Roorkee, there is a need of up to one lakh urban planners in India who can efficiently formulate holistic policies for the development of urban areas and metro cities.

Course

Urban planning is multidisciplinary, with subjects such as economics, geography, sociology and urban physical planning.“The coursework was diverse. I did an immense amount of studio exercises, field visits within India and abroad, and conducted household as well as city-level surveys. I also got a chance to study a wide range of theory courses which helped me to analyse various urban planning policies. Students also interacted with planning department officers for their thesis,” added Rohit Dabas, IIT alumnus and partner at R.D. Design Atrium, Noida.

“Students are equipped with software and technical skill set. Technical skills include architecture and civil jobs related planning theories and techniques, research methodology and so on. Some of the software skills include the proficiency in Geographic Information System (GIS), AutoCAD and Microsoft,” explains Kumar.

Entrance level

According to prof. Devadas, students who have completed their graduation in civil engineering and architecture are good picks for this course at IITs. However, universities like the School of Architecture and Planning, Delhi, also take students from economics, sociology and geographic background. “The selection procedure is competitive as one needs to qualify the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering/Architecture (GATE) exam and then appear for a personal interview,” adds Dabas.

Jobs

“Some job opportunities at hand are on-campus as well as off-campus placements in private planning organisations such as DAR Al-Handasah, KPMG, REPL, CRISIL, McKinsey, and so on. Teaching jobs in various architecture and urban planning institutes across India, permanent as well as contractual jobs in government organisations such as NITI Aayog, DDA, National Capital Region Planning Board (NCRPB) and National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA), are other options,” he says.

According to professor Devadas, there are jobs in the government as well as private sectors for graduates, with a good salary, beginning from ₹40.000 to ₹50,000. However, this course is not too popular with students, but is slowly gaining currency due to its rising demand. One minor setback is that this subject is not yet included in the UPSC exam syllabus.

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