Lecturer (Teaching and Research)
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I graduated with a degree in architecture and have since then been pursuing a career in town planning initially in practice and later in academia. Following my postgraduate studies in urban planning, my early career in planning started in development planning at the Delhi Development Authority, where I was involved in the preparation of Master Plan of Delhi 2001-21. I later joined the School of Planning and Architecture at New Delhi as Research Associate in the Department of Urban Planning where I was involved in both teaching and research. After which, I was offered a full tuition fee scholarship (through the Overseas Research Scholarship award as well as the University of Sheffield Fee Bursary) to carry out my doctoral studies at Town and Regional Planning at the University of Sheffield. My career in academia re-commenced with my joining the Department of Town and Regional Planning at the University of Dundee firstly as a Teaching Fellow in 2008 and later as Lecturer in 2009.
My research work primarily sits at the interface between planning and human geography and my emerging research profile demonstrates a clear potential and passion in pursuing world-class research. With an overall research interest in governance and participation, I currently interrogate relationships between wellbeing, mobility and place particularly in the lives of disadvantaged communities.
At one end are abstract, theoretical interests that provide a grounding for carrying out empirical research. This includes for instance, models to develop place-based understanding of poverty in India, broad conceptualisation of urban resilience, notions of resilience from the point of view of labour migrants in India, typologies of destitution in the UK, pathways to wellbeing as perceived by Indian students pursuing international education etc.
At the other end, is a much more practical and deliberative agenda, where I am focussed on creating ‘constructivist learning environments’ for facilitating civic engagement to inform both planning practice and policy, and to use visual and communication techniques to capture both processes and outputs in the engagement activity. Examples within this strand include participatory poverty mapping workshops that I coordinated (through the British Academy funded project in southern India) and interactive digital workshops with secondary school pupils using Minecraft for facilitating young people’s voice in planning.
Peer reviewer for grant applications funded by the ESRC, UKIERI
Peer reviewer for journals including Urban Studies, Population, Space and Place, Planning Practice and Research, Habitat International, International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research
Reviewer for book proposal, Earthscan, Sage, Routledge.
External Examiner for PhD thesis, Newcastle University (2)
Fellow, Royal Geographical Society
Associate Member, Royal Town Planning Institute
Committee Member, International Committee, Royal Town Planning Institute 2014, 2015
On-going research projects
‘The City as a thinking machine: the City in Evolution’; Carnegie Trust Research Incentive Grant (awarded Dec 2014); £7482; PI – Dr. Lorens Holm, School of Environment, University of Dundee; CI – Dr. Deepak Gopinath, School of Environment, University of Dundee; CI - Matthew Jarron, Museum Services, University of Dundee; exhibition scheduled for autumn of 2015.
‘On the waterfront: using Minecraft with school pupils to allow them to digitally reimagine, redesign and build Dundee’s waterfront’; CECHR (Centre for Environmental Change and Human Resilience) Incubation Grant; £1600; PI – Derek Robertson, School of Education, University of Dundee, CI – Dr. Deepak Gopinath, School of Environment, University of Dundee; partners – Kenny McKeown, Quality Improvement Officer, Dundee City Council & Shona McKnight, Development Officer in Skills for Learning, Life and Work, Education Department, Dundee City Council. Project showcase event scheduled for Mar/Apr 2015 at the University of Dundee. More at http://www.dundee.ac.uk/cechr/news/2014/articles/on-the-waterfront-with-minecraft.php
Youth Camp 2015; funded jointly by TAYPLAN and the School of the Environment, University of Dundee; £7100; PI – Pam Ewen, TAYPLAN, CI – Dr. Deepak Gopinath, minecraft designer/planner – Andrew Rennie, Perth and Kinross Council, youth camp event facilitators - Planning Aid for Scotland, project website designer – Tracey Dixon, University of Dundee, Minecraft lab coordinator – Mark Stephenson, University of Dundee;. Showcase for the Youth Camp is scheduled for 11 June 2015. More at project website, http://www.dundee.ac.uk/geddesinstitute/projects/minecraft/
Completed research projects
Dr. Deepak Gopinath (main applicant) and Prof. Murali Nair (co-applicant, Department of Social Work, Cleveland State University) and have been successful in securing a British Academy Small Research Grant (Ref. SG10153) for a sum of £6800, for the project titled, 'The possibility of local communities shaping an understanding of poverty? Experiences from the Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission for improving the lives of urban poor in India'. Fieldwork was carried out in the summer of 2011 in India and following which a dissemination event was organised in the University of Dundee. For more details of this study, please visit the project website, www.dundee.ac.uk/planning/research/bastudy.htm. There are a number of outputs from this study. Paper, titled ‘Placing poverty in context: a case study’ has been published in Poverty and Public Policy and available as open access at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/pop4.70/full. Paper, titled ‘Learning to be resilient by moving between ‘poor by chance’ to ‘not-so-poor by intent’ identities: lessons from conversations with labour migrants in southern India’ has been accepted for publication in Social Development Issues (ISSN: 0147-1473) and forthcoming in early 2015.
David Kirk (Head of Town and Regional Planning, University of Dundee) Graeme Hutton (Dean of School of Architecture, University of Dundee) and I jointly secured a grant of £15000 from the Scottish Government (in February 2010) to carry out an assessment of how design codes might be embedded within the planning process and in particularly with regard to the proposals for the new town of Tornagrain in Scotland. Key findings from this study has been submitted in the form of a report – a summary of which can be accessed from http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2011/03/16100049/12
Secured funding for £470 (in August 2009) from the Carnegie Trust towards travel costs to carry out further research on how the shifting of governance arrangements in India is impacting on professional planning practice. A working paper was published and can be accessed from:
I am interested in teaching skills for professional practice which would assist in effective engagement with wide range of stakeholders particularly: (1) through the co-production of knowledge using tools that non-experts can grapple with, and to mitigate conflicting demands on use of city spaces (e.g. use of visual communication tools such as Sketchup Pro and Citycad in the undergraduate module, TP31002 Planning Law and Practice); (2) by carrying out multi-scalar, spatial analysis of our cities and regions (e.g. use of participatory mapping, analysis of census data, GIS mapping in the postgraduate module, TP52015 Sustainability in Contemporary Cities)
Specifically in terms of what I do here in Dundee and with visualisation as one of the key focus areas in my teaching, the following links might give a sense of the kind of things our planning students work on:
(1) Reflective video created by Elena and Jackie, level 3 planning students on how visualisation tools such as Sketchup has helped them in creating masterplans
(2) Interactive interfaces in real-time 3d; an example of how 3d models can be used for better engagement with the public. Model here is created by Andrew Rennie, recent town planning graduate and developed in Minecraft for a secondary school event in Jun 2015 (more at http://www.dundee.ac.uk/geddesinstitute/projects/minecraft/, or also at https://skfb.ly/C6ZV)
(3) Dundee Civic Design Award 2014-15 shortlisted animations
(4) Dundee Civic Design Award 2013-14 shortlisted animations
Research output: Non-textual form › Exhibition catalogue
Research output: Contribution to journal › Comment/debate
Research output: Book/Report › Book
Activity: Conference participation › Participation in conference
Activity: Conference participation › Participation in workshop, seminar, course
Activity: External academic engagement › Contribution to the work of national or international committees and working groups
Person: Research Postgraduate Student