This exhibition presents findings from Learning from Small Cities, an international research collaboration from 2018-2021 that sought to learn how small cities in India undergoing rapid and radical urban transformations, can reimagine and realise new urban futures in a digital age. Moving away from the earlier focuses on metropolitan cities in the global south, it shifts our attention towards the much neglected but dynamic context of 'small cities' that are now the frontiers of planetary scale urbanisation.
Learning from Small Cities uses the interconnected lenses of Governing, Imagining and Living with urban futures to present how small cities have become testbeds of state imaginations of India’s urban future and how the realities of living with change are complex and contested on the ground. The exhibition showcases how urban authorities translate state imaginations of smart urban futures into 'actually existing' smart cities, how ordinary citizens in these cities live with the dynamics of these changes, how they reimagine ‘smart’ from the ground up, and how this combined knowledge might be mobilised towards more sustainable smart urban futures.
Three small Indian cities are the focus – Shimla, Jalandhar and Nashik – these cities are used to explore the diversity of smart initiatives by the state and their impacts on ordinary citizens of these cities.
The exhibition invites the public to ‘learn’ from small cities through a variety of textual and audio-visual materials, including photographs, animations and story boards. Curated by the ‘Learning from Small Cities’ team, with photographs by Rohit Madan, this exhibition will be accompanied by a two-day conference titled ‘(Re)thinking Smart, (Re)building Scale’ at the Building Centre from 12-13 November 2021.