Centre for Urban Policy and Governance


The contemporary world is urban, with the locus of urbanisation shifting to the Global South. India, particularly, is at the cusp of a transition from a primarily agrarian society to one that is urbanising in a markedly unsustainable manner. Knowledge on the challenges of urbanisation however, is uneven, limited by disciplinary silos, and policies usually lack the perspective of marginalised actors. It is here that the Centre for Urban Policy and Governance (CUPG) seeks to make substantial contributions to theory and practice by producing situated, critical and interdisciplinary knowledge about urbanisation and the city. CUPG is committed to imagining and realising a paradigm of urban development that is just and sustainable in social, spatial and ecological terms.

One of our goals is to emerge as a Centre that develops and disseminates critical and interdisciplinary knowledge relevant to issues of urbanization in the Global South. Established in 2008, the Centre has a multi-disciplinary faculty and research team drawn from disciplines such as architecture, law, economics, urban planning, social work and sociology, and actively undertakes collaborative research projects on contemporary urban issues. These include  trajectories of urbanisation, widening access to basic urban services and infrastructure, questioning ongoing socio-spatial transformations and their impact on the urban poor and the environment, and examining ways in which rights to the city can be secured and enhanced to ensure spatial justice. CUPG collaborates with research centres, policy think tanks, and academic institutions in the city, country and internationally. Publications, conferences, workshops, seminars, an open access  resources website and an active blog serve to disseminate the research findings to a larger audience.

CUPG also works with a range of state and non-state stakeholders in order to influence policy decisions and shape urban outcomes. Being located in Mumbai -- one of the most complex metropolitan areas in the world -- the Centre engages with the local and regional administration on a range of urban development and policy issues such as affordable housing, development planning, urban water and sanitation, slum resettlement and rehabilitation, urban renewal, public transportation and metropolitan governance.

Teaching is consciously integrated with the research and policy analysis and advocacy work. The Centre administers a Master’s Programme in Urban Policy and Governance (MUPG), and the faculty guide MPhil and PhD students. The two-year M.A./M.Sc. programme in Urban Policy and Governance is the first of its kind in India. It aims to build a comprehensive understanding of urban realities, processes and challenges in India and the Global (and globalising) South. The guiding perspective emphasises democratic, equitable, socially just, and culturally sensitive and technically sound, policy processes and outcomes. The programme also equips students to intervene effectively on urban issues through work in public, private and civil society organisations. Alumni of the programme are currently pursuing promising careers in all three sectors.

The Centre is also dedicated to the creation of a South-South global urban knowledge network comprising academics, activists, policy makers.

For more information about our research, teaching and policy advocacy, visit our online archive of resources called Urban. Resources. Knowledges. at urk.tiss.edu.