IIT Roorkee inks MoU with National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA) for collaboration in building accessible, safe, and inclusive Indian cities

Roorkee: National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee for collaboration in areas of universal design principles and inclusive development in the backdrop of ‘Building Accessible Safe Inclusive Indian Cities’ (BASIIC) program. The MoU was signed between Prof. Ajit K Chaturvedi, Director, IIT Roorkee and Mr. Hitesh Vaidya, Director, NIUA.

The MoU facilitates cooperation in the field policy research, technical support, knowledge creation, and dissemination. The association will aim to leverage the technical capacities of both institutions, which will lead to creation and sharing of knowledge and resources for devising strategies in making Indian cities more accessible, safe, and inclusive for Persons with Disabilities (PwDs), elderly, women, and children among others. It is envisaged that the association will benefit Indian cities through a range of activities and partnership projects that can be scaled up and replicated for several Indian cities.

“We are elated to partner with an apex Institution like National Institute of Urban Affairs to augment government efforts in building safe and inclusive smart cities. The collaboration will enrich domain expertise on universal design and inclusion as a core theme and facilitate knowledge sharing towards developing excellence in research and implementation programmes of urban futures in India. The partnership with NIUA will strengthen the emerging possibilities towards urban inclusion through exchange of research, capacity development, and other partnerships with Indian cities that will emerge on the way” said Prof. Ajit K Chaturvedi, Director, IIT Roorkee

“It’s a momentous occasion for both NIUA and IIT Roorkee and I am especially excited for the motivations behind this partnership. IIT Roorkee is an academic institution par excellence. Its Department of Architecture& Planning is globally acclaimed for its cutting-edge research and expertise. We are glad to have found a partner in change with them in an endeavour which will facilitate the building of accessible, inclusive, and safe Smart cities as envisaged under the BASIIC program. NIUA also envisions itself to strongly position itself in the domain of inclusive development and align itself with the Hon’ble Prime Ministers’ vision of new India. I am looking forward to the partnership and the smart-technical solutions that will come along with it, which will help set a renewed discourse to making Indian cities more accessible and inclusive” said Mr. Hitesh Vaidya, Director, NIUA

The MoU was exchanged on 04th September 2020 in the presence of the Director, IITR, Prof. M. Parida, Deputy Director, Prof. Manish Shrikhande, Dean SRIC, Prof. P S Chani, Head, Dept. of Architecture & Planning and Prof. Gaurav Raheja, along with other faculty colleagues and students from IIT Roorkee. Mr. Hitesh Vaidya, Director, NIUA, Mr. A.N. Nanda Kishore, program Head & Coordinator, along with other colleagues were present from NIUA. Ms. Mamta Kohli, Senior Social Development Advisor, and Mr. Harpreet Arora, Urban Advisor along with other colleagues from the UK Government’s BASIIC programme were also present for the ceremony.

Under the MoU, Department of Architecture& Planning, IIT Roorkee will collaborate with NIUA for various initiatives including research, capacity development and other initiatives as an expert in the domain of accessibility, universal design principles and inclusive development. IIT will bring in the expertise in accessibility, safety & inclusivity and jointly take up research and development, formulation of innovative solutions, knowledge management, and training and capacity-building. NIUA will identify thrust areas of the program, provide the necessary intelligence, expertise, and guidance in policy research and development in the discipline. IIT Roorkee will be working with BASIIC program partners including relevant Government bodies & Institutions and Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) of partner cities.

According to the MoU, the mandate of both institutions extends to the exchange of information and data sharing, undertaking research projects aligned to inclusive development, exchange of visits for joint activities, and much more. Prof. Gaurav Raheja (accessibility& universal design expert) from IIT Roorkee and Mr. A.N. Nanda Kishore (BASIIC program Head & Coordinator)from NIUA shall be the key coordinators for the MoU.

BASIIC program of NIUA, supported by the UK Government, endeavours to promulgate aspects of “Accessibility, Safety, Inclusivity” in the Indian Smart Cities. Under the program, NIUA has set up the “Technical Assistance & support Unit” to ensure that timely technical support and guidance can be extended to Indian cities on the tenets of accessibility, safety, and inclusivity.

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