Our Speakers


Ms Åsa Vagland holds a position as Deputy Director at the Ministry of Enterprise and Innovation in Sweden. She is responsible for the Swedish engagement in and negotiations associated to the EU Directive of Intelligent Transport System, the ITS Directive including development towards connected, collaborate and self-driving vehicles and systems. She is also the project manager for the Government’s Innovation Partnership Program Next generation travel and transport engaging academia and industry in finding new innovative solutions for mobility. She is also highly engaged in and a member of the TRB Women’s Issues in Transportation ABE70 Committee. Åsa Vagland earned her Bachelor of Regional Planning from the University of Stockholm in 1992.



Dr Sylvia Nagl is an interdisciplinary complexity scientist who has contributed pioneering research to key questions in biomedicine, notably cancer research, modelling of biological systems and large-scale complex systems simulation. Sylvia has been a Principal Investigator on large eHealth projects such as Cancergrid (2005-2008, Medical Research Council) and Virtual Physiological Human (2008-2011, European Union). She has edited and published the first full-length text on Cancer Bioinformatics in 2006. This was followed in 2010 by the publication of a ground-breaking book of original research on The Role of Model Integration in Complex Systems Modelling.

Her current work is situated within the discipline of Planetary Health and focuses on the interdependence of humans with urban and natural systems. ‘Health’ depends on these relationships acting together in a life-enhancing way. Interconnectedness is central to the health of individuals and communities, and the well-being of the living planet Earth. Sylvia has been working with communities facing severe water and air pollution. These collaborative projects use digital media for documenting complex health challenges in a rapidly changing world by those most affected.

Sylvia has advised the United Nations (UNITAR-UNOSAT) on community-based disaster reporting using digital media to map environmental destruction and support relief efforts in an acute crisis.

Dr Nagl holds a BSc. Hons (First Class) and a PhD in Molecular Cell Biology, and has been an academic member of UCL since 1999. Prior to taking up her appointment at UCL, she was a Research Fellow at the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (USA) and an International Post-Doctoral Fellow holding an independent fellowship in computational biology at the BioMolecular Engineering Research Center in Boston (USA) which was jointly founded by Harvard Medical School, Dana Faber Cancer Center and Boston University.



Jan Nederveen started his career as a researcher and teacher at the Delft university of Technology. He developed methods to measure social aspects of transport infrastructure. These methods have been tested on a large number of freeway and railroad projects in the Netherlands. In 2002 Jan transferred to city of Delft. He was the project leader of the new Delft Transportation Plan. He also had a large contribution to the urban development and transportation project Spoorzone Delft. In 2007 he completed his doctoral thesis, Spatial design of large scale transport infrastructure. His thesis was on assessing the use of residents’ viewpoints to judge the design quality of large scale infrastructure projects. Presently, Jan is a strategic adviser for the Mayor and Councilors regarding all the aspects of urban planning.



Kotaro Nakamura is the director and a professor of School of Art + Design at San Diego State University (SDSU) in California, U.S.A. He also has over 35 years of architectural practice as a principal architect of Roesling Nakamura Terada (RNT) Architects. He has been recognized for his design excellence through numerous local, national, and international design awards.

He received Bachelor of Engineering Degree from Kanto-Gakuin University in Japan and Master of Arts in Environmental Design from SDSU in 1980.

Kotaro has an extensive knowledge and experience of community focused design methods that are sustainable culturally and environmentally. He has conducted research in the community recovery process after natural disasters such as wildfires in California and tsunami in Japan in the context of developing resilient and sustainable communities. He is also an expert on energy and water efficient and environmentally sensitive design methods through his extensive research in architectural vernacular of Norwegian farmhouses, Anasazi Indian Pueblos, and Japanese tea houses.



Dr. Anvita Arora, is an architect and transport Planner, with a PhD from the Civil Engineering Department of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi in 2007. She is the Managing Director and CEO of Innovative Transport Solutions (iTrans), an incubatee company of IIT, Delhi. The company has successfully delivered over 40 applied research and planning projects in the last 8 years under her leadership, to clients ranging from the various city level and country level authorities to funding agencies like the UNEP, World Bank, Asian Development Bank, DFID and others. The primary focus of the work has been on supporting cities to become sustainable, inclusive and climate resilient.

She has also been teaching Transport Planning in the Urban Design Department in the School of Planning and Architecture (SPA), Delhi for the past 11 years and is visiting faculty at the TERI University, Delhi and Ansals University, Gurgaon. She was associated with Transportation Research and Injury Prevention Program (TRIPP), IIT, Delhi, a VREF Centre of Excellence, for nearly 12 years.

She is a speaker at several International and country level conferences, workshops and training programs. She is a certified trainer in non-motorized inclusive planning an invited expert on several panels and think tanks. She has several publications to her credit including a book, based on her PhD thesis, titled Manual for Social Impact Assessment of Future Urban Transport Projects supported by Volvo Research and Educational Foundation, Sweden.



Dr. P. Partheeban, is currently working as Professor and Dean (Academic) at St. Peter’s College of Engineering and Technology, Avadi, Chennai. He has completed his B.E. Civil Engineering in 1990 from Kongu Engineering College and completed M.E. Urban Engineering from College of Engineering, Anna University with distiction. He completed his Ph.D. from National Institute of Technology, Trichy on Transportation Engineering in 2003. He is also completed MBA from Madurai Kamaraj University.

He has been serving different institutions for the past 25 years at various levels and involved in teaching, student counseling and establishing of laboratories in Civil Engineering Department. He was worked as Principal for 2 year from 2009 to 2011at Sriram Engineering college. He has visited the United States of America, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Malaysia, Singapore, France, Greece and China for presenting papers in the international conferences. Under his guidance, Six candidate has completed Ph.D. and Seven scholars are pursuing Ph.D. in Civil Engineering. He has published a book titled “Engineering Mechanics” for engineering students. As a teacher for engineering students, received award from ISTE as best faculty teacher for the student chapter and also received Air India BOLT award. To his credit he had organized 40 Seminars, Conferences and short term training programme for engineering faculties sponsored by AICTE, DST, CSIR, DRDO, ICMR and ICSSR. He has completed morethan 20 lakhs sponsored research project from AICTE, DST, IEI and recently he has received a project costing Rs. 28 Lakhs from BRNS. He had published research work papers more than 70 in the national/international journal and conferences. He has registered two patents. He has developed GIS software for Transportation Planning and management.



Subhash is a lawyer engaged in advocacy for human rights & working for inclusion of persons with disabilities in mainstream especially through policy reforms, legal intervention for disability rights, training & development, facilitating inclusive education & employment, inclusive tourism, and promoting physical accessibility in public infrastructure & transportation systems since 1999. He is an Expert Member for Accessibility on Bureau of Indian Standards Committee on National Building Code. He was also on the Core Committee of Ministry of Urban Development, Govt of India for Harmonization of Space Standards on Barrier Free Environment for Elderly & Disabled Persons.

He is a master trainer – Tilting at Windmills – a Disability Equity Module, UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), Disability Laws, Universal Design & Accessibility, Accessible Tourism, Transportation Systems & Mobility solutions for the Elderly and Persons with Disabilities.

His areas of interests are: Advocacy for Disability Rights, Right to Information (RTI Act), Inclusive Mobility & Transportation, Sustainability, Corporate Social Responsibility, Policy Reforms, Human Rights & Business, Training & Capacity Building, Inclusive & Sustainable Tourism, Architectural Audits to promote infrastructural accessibility for persons with reduced mobility, Women, Disability & Law etc.



Dr. Sudhir Krishna is former Secretary Urban Development, Government of India. He was in the Karnataka Cadre of the IAS and also served as Metropolitan Commissioner, Bengaluru, besides several other senior positions in the central and state governments. He holds PHD in federal studies from Jamia Hamdard.

Dr. Sudhir Krishna was a member of Indian Administrative Service for 37 years, the last assignment being Secretary, Ministry of Urban Development, wherein he steered the various national programmes and policies for urban development including the JNNURM. He also developed the initial contours of the Smart Cities Mission. He continues to remain closely involved with the urban development initiatives.

He had held various other senior positions in Government of India in Ministries of Panchayati Raj, Fertilisers & Chemicals, Central Finance Commission and LBS National Academy of Administration (Mussoorie), and in Government of Karnataka, as Principal Secretary (Public Works, Ports & inland Water Transport), Metropolitan Commissioner Bengaluru, Commissioner of Commercial Taxes etc.

He has numerous publications to his credit, on themes relating to public policy, management and urban & regional development.

Currently, he is Chairman, 5th Delhi Finance Commission and also chairs the Committee on Standards for Smart Cities of the Bureau of Indian Standards.



Dr Juin Dutta completed Masters in Economics did Bachelor and Master degree in Library and Information Science from M S University of Baroda and Ph D in the same subject on Information Literacy. After working in CBSE and International schools as Librarian and activity coordinator for 11 years, she left the job to start Pathshala, an informal mobile school for underprivileged children of urban Vadodara.

She Initiated Pathshala in 2013 with the children of construction laborer. She eventually, started teaching street children and children from informal slum area there are about 100 children who regularly come to learn at Pathshala. It is a parallel school with the main stream school. Pathshala caters to the children who lag behind their level. It focuses majorly on reading and arithmetic they conduct art and craft classes as well. The children also learn how to perform on stage. It is ensured that they go to main stream school.

There is a small hostel where 10 children stay. Their entire responsibility lie with Dr J. Dutta and team. The trust runs a library cum activity center, named Pathbhavan. The trust caters to a few mothers of Pathshala and Pathbhavan. They are being trained to stitch cloth bags, cushion covers and curtains. Various exhibitions are organized to sell their products. This is to make the ladies confident and self-sufficient. This initiative is called Churni Collections. The major aim is to build up a hostel for 100 urban underprivileged children, as soon as possible. Her Trust’s name is Srotoshwini Trust.



Nalini Thakur an alumnus of SPA, and currently Professor of Architectural Conservation at SPA Delhi. A full time Faculty member for over three decades, her experience in architecture and conservation ranges from activist to professional, academician, teacher and mentor – in developing the field of the emerging area of living architectural heritage protection and management in India.



Col Anuj Srivastava (Retd) is an architect from SPA Delhi. In addition he also has an MS from BITS Pilani. He is an avid cyclist and marathoner and has a first hand experience of the cycling tracks in Delhi and Noida having used them extensively. He has more than two decades of experience in the Army in the Corps of Engineers and has been in active service in counter insurgency. He has worked on several defence related projects in several remote areas of the country as well as in Bhutan with the Royal Bhutan Army. He is a visiting faculty at Amity University. He will speak on the development of cycling networks to utilise the potential of this inclusive form of transport.



Taruna Bansal is presently working as Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography, Jamia MIllia Islamia. She has completed her studies (M.A, M.Phil and Ph.D) from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. She has keen interest in urbanization and its forms with special reference to historical urbanization, urban ecology, gender and labour along with digital cartography.



Andrea Monje is a gender and infrastructure international consultant. She currently works in the Gender and Diversity Division at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in Panama City, where she supports gender mainstreaming in infrastructure projects (energy, transport, and water and sanitation). Before this position, she worked on women’s political participation and empowerment for the IDB’s Program for the Support of Women´s Leadership and Representation (PROLEAD) and in the integration of gender issues in the Latin America and Caribbean Transport Cluster at the World Bank.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a Master’s degree in International Development from the Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris (Sciences Po), France, and a Master’s degree in Public Policy from the University of Maryland (U.S.).



Randy Van Vleck has been with City Heights Community Development Corporation since 2010, where he works as the Active Transportation Manager.  He graduated with Honors from University of California, San Diego with a BA in Sociology and a Minor in Urban Studies & Planning.

In his work, Randy connects residents to decision making opportunities, helps facilitate community-based transportation planning, advocates for policies that achieve transportation justice, and works with agencies to advance walking, biking, and transit projects in the City Heights area.

In the last 3 years he has helped secure $175 million in infrastructure for walking, biking, and transit projects in the Mid City area of San Diego and recently helped change course on a freeway widening project which will now consider transit-first alternatives in the analysis and selection process.

Randy has been appointed by the City of San Diego to the Bicycle Advisory Committee and the University Avenue Working Group. He is also the Chair of the San Diego County Bike Coalition’s Advocacy Committee and Bike Walk Chula Vista.



Nick Navatta is a graphic recorder, animator, illustrator, copywriter, cartoonist and visual storyteller. All of those skills combined makes him what he calls a ‘creative marketer’. He helps businesses connect to their ideal clients with a focus on creating engaging, fun, and easy-to-understand visual communication that gets results.  Nick specializes in taking complex concepts and ideas and simplifying them so that they are easy to digest and understand. From 2012-2016, he worked as the Creative Director for a small software startup and helped them create a social media marketing campaign, with an emphasis on video content on YouTube, creating a  channel with over 9,000 subscribers. The video content he has created has been viewed over 1 million times.



Brian Black completed his Masters of Art at Northern Illinois University in 2000. He currently lives in San Diego, California where he teaches high school art and pursues a professional art practice. Most recently, he completed a three-month artist residency at Balboa Park that culminated in an exhibit at the San Diego Art Institute.

Since 2000, Brian has been teaching art in a small urban high school in San Diego, California that educates students from around the world and boasts a population that speaks over 30 different languages. Most of his students are first generation to the United States, several have spent significant amounts of time in refugee camps, and many will be the first in their family to graduate high school and move into higher education.

Brian teaches his students to use the visual arts to represent themselves and their communities with murals and art outreach. Currently, he is working closely with the San Diego Cultural Arts Alliance on programs that focuses on directing youth from unsanctioned graffiti and serving time in the probationary system to paid artists that beautify the city. His most current collaborative mural project will serve to keep students off the streets and revitalize a local neighbourhood.



Elizabeth Lopez has been a lawyer for 26 years.  She was an employment attorney for 15 years and then was a lobbyist for 2.5 years before she became an immigration attorney.  As an immigration lawyer, she focused mainly in asylum cases for 8 years before starting her own nonprofit to represent immigrants who are detained in the Imperial Regional Detention Center located in Calexico, CA.  This facility is about 2-3 hours from any major city which is a barrier for attorney representation.

In the course of her direct representation of these clients, she became aware of the cultural practice of FGM/C and the repercussions this practice causes for its subjects. From this awareness, she saw the need to help these women maneuver their new lives in America. This took the shape of educating health care providers and creating a safe place for them to flourish.  This mission became a cornerstone for her new nonprofit, Southern California Immigration Project.



Muzaffar Ali is an architect, Educationist & graphic designer. He did M.Arch from Jamia Millia Islamia and integrated urban transport planning course from world bank institute .He is one of the founder member of the center for contemporary architecture pedagogy and practice, which is a platform, aimed at creating an initiative for development of architecture pedagogy and contemporary professional practice in India. He is also a member of Saudi heritage preservation society and various professional affiliated bodies in UK and Australia. Over a period of last six years; he had gained immense experience on a wide range of architectural projects, exhibitions & graphic design, city urban observatory and architectural academic research projects. At present he is engaged as a lecturer in College of Architecture & Planning, Qassim University and design head in MADS KSA.



Ms. Serafy Cox is a community organizer and power-building consultant in San Diego, California in the US.  She is currently contracting with MAAC as their Advocacy and Organizing Coordinator and with PANA (Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans).  At MAAC, Ms. Serafy Cox coordinates community engagement and advocacy programs with residents of affordable housing communities, parents of Head Start students, and students at the MAAC Community Charter School.Previously, Ms. Serafy Cox was a Community Organizer with Mid-City CAN, in the City Heights neighborhood of San Diego.  She was lead staff for the campaign for a Free Youth Transit Pass in San Diego.

Before joining Mid-City CAN, Ms. Serafy Cox was Executive Director at Empower San Diego, a nonprofit organization dedicated to civic engagement on local issues in San Diego.  While there, she facilitated the highly successful “Communities in Unity” Redistricting Coalition, which helped ensure increased ability for communities of color to elect a candidate of their choice in local and state elections. Ms. Serafy Cox holds a BFA in Dance and Women’s Studies from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. After graduation, she was appointed to the Capital Long Range Investment Committee for the City of Minneapolis—a powerful citizen advisory board for CIP projects.



Amit Sharma is Architect with 15 years of experience in large scale an urban design projects. He has designed shopping centres, theatres, hotels and commercial mixed use schemes. The largest of his projects is a 1.5 million sq.ft. Shopping centre, for which he was the project architect. He has also been the local architect for an award-winning flight services kitchen. His current projects include a 10 story, steel car parking facility in central Delhi, for which he is the principal architect.

He uses space syntax to relate spatial structures to observed behaviour and movement patterns and create designs that maximise the opportunities and natural potentials derived from form and urban context.



Ankit Bhalla graduated from Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi in 2011 with a B.Arch degree, post-graduation he enrolled for a master’s program in the field of Energy Efficiency and Sustainability from CEPT University Ahmedabad where he was award with the Best student of the Year (2012) and Best Research Awards (2013),and has recently enrolled for PhD program at IIT Roorkee. He has also received Rising Star award from TERI, for his efforts in green building rating development in 2014. In the year 2015 he was certified by BEE, Ministry of Power GoI as ECBC Master Trainer.

Ankit Bhalla is currently working as a Project Officer at the GRIHA Council, TERI, New Delhi. He has been working in the field on GRIHA rating and green buildings for over 3 years. He has the opportunity to be a part of the expansion of GRIHA rating portfolio and its implementation. Presently he is heading the GRIHA Product Catalogue, a process for actively engaging with green building industry, in addition to the technical development responsibilities of GRIHA, SVAGRIHA & GRIHA LD rating, he is also involved in project and product evaluation, business development, site audits and training of green building professionals, students, government officials and research scholars.



Arjun Kamal is an architect and a journalist. He has written articles on architecture, urban issues and lifestyle that got published in various magazines and newspapers. He is currently working on his debut book about landscape architecture. He is also a visiting faculty at Vastukala academy, Delhi. He holds a bachelor degree in architecture and post-graduation degree in landscape architecture.



Nidhi Batra is an urban development practitioner and is the Director of a not-for-profit initiative called ‘Sehreeti’. Sehreeti is a platform for collective practices in urban development that work towards co-creating people centric cities. Nidhi is a trained architect and urban designer, with specialization in environmental urban design and works as a consultant with The World Bank and Participatory Research in Asia. She is also a visiting faculty for masters’ programme in architectural colleges in the NCR. She has been actively participating in academic, research, civil society and practitioner circles to make the case for participatory planning in urban development, in India and beyond. Nidhi is a flâneur and loves exploring cities, through photography, travel, running and writing about them.



An Urban Planner with an MBA, with over 8 years’ experience as an urban planner in consultancy, Central & State government and local councils; primarily involved in undertaking reform implementation, statutory planning & development and feasibility assessment. His skills include the management/coordination of multidisciplinary staff team and providing specialist advice on a wide variety of projects. His work has taken him across the country where he has worked with various government departments which enhanced his knowledge and practical understanding of projects, policies & guidelines etc. His primary career interest is developing expertise in financial feasibility and economic viability of urban transport, especially non-motorized transport (NMT) projects. As the F, an urban transport consultancy company focusing on applied research and implementation of sustainable urban transport projects, he is working on the challenge of making sustainable transport projects financially viable.



Rashmi Gajare is a preservation architect, Indologist and writer. She has obtained a Masters of Historic Preservation and Planning from the City and Regional Planning Department at Cornell University. She has worked in New York in the field of Historic Preservation. She has been a visiting faculty at Tilak Maharashtra Vidyapeetham where she earned her Master’s degree in Indology.



Sayantan Mukherjee is a student of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Symbiosis institute of business management, Pune. He along with five others co-founded a start-up named VkareforU which acts as the digital well being partner for the elderly people. Prior to joining SIBM Pune for Masters, Sayantan worked for four years at Mahindra Research Valley, the Research and Development wing of the Indian automaker. He later worked at Mahindra Innovation Cell for a brief period. He wrote papers on innovative automotive technology and business innovation which are published in various journals and presented in various conferences.



Subhanjoy B Roy is presently doing his MBA in Innovation and Entrepreneurship from Symbiosis Institute of Business Management Pune. He has done his graduation from St. Xavier’s College Kolkata with B.Sc Chemistry Honours. He co-founded a start-up VkareforU which places itself as a digital well-being partner for the elderly citizens. Subhanjoy is also inclined towards the sector of Renewable and Green energy. He is also working on a start-up named enerG which focuses on solid waste management and production of Bio-CNG in eastern India.



Taru Ruchi is a Planner/Urban Designer at Civic Moxie who brings an enthusiasm for inclusive planning and extensive planning and design expertise to the team. She has an undergraduate degree in architecture from JMI, India and a Masters in City and Regional Planning from Cornell University, USA. In the recent years of her career, she has worked on multi-scalar projects as an architect, urban designer, urban planner, researcher, and project manager. She is passionate about community-based inclusive design and building livable and resilient neighborhoods. Her projects encompass multiple categories and contexts, including public space activation, affordable housing, and slum up gradation plans in South Asia, South East Asia as well as community revitalization plans in the USA. Her research focuses on communities under structural conflict and threat, and how various actors in planning and governance, including the state and the civil society, negotiate implementation and bridge systemic and societal divides.



Anandit Sachdev graduated as an architect from Jamia Millia Islamia, Delhi with a developed sense of socially inclusive urban projects and a keen eye for historic surroundings and built heritage. He has worked in various cities including, Goa, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Delhi, Cairo and Berlin where he held various portfolios including an architect, research associate, urban design and a design thinker.

In 2013, Anandit started a self-initiated project called ‘Tuzk-e-Hind’; an online platform aimed at creating awareness about the pre-partition Indian subcontinent and about how various aspects of the geographic extents have transformed and helped transform the people with time.

Presently, he is based in Alexandria, Egypt where he is studying ‘Revitalization of Historic City Districts’ at Brandenburg Technical University, Germany in partnership with the Cairo University and the Alexandria University, Egypt.

Through this course, Anandit aims to tackle various challenges plaguing the historic districts of MENA region. His talk explored this subject further.



Zoe Roller is a city planner who has worked on projects focused on water and sanitation, food security, human rights, and violence prevention in informal settlements in Brazil and India. Her academic research looks at the connections between organized crime and infrastructure. Zoe is currently a researcher on equitable access to water with the US Water Alliance. She has a Master’s degree City Planning from UC Berkeley.

Yasir Hameed is a City Planning Graduate from UC Berkeley where he also taught as a graduate student Instructor for three semesters. Yasir also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture from Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi and has also taught there for almost a year. He is a researcher/designer is driven by social equity and justice with a strong inclination to pursue projects that deal with the production and design of public spaces, particularly streets and housing design. However, over the recent years, he has also taken a keen interest in understanding critical theory and its application to processes that produce and govern cities