This is the second report from our Nagar Nadi Fellowship Report Series and explores urban stretches of rivers in and around the city of Surat, Gujarat. It is written by Nikhil Sanjay Shah, a global citizen and researcher with a keen interest in a wide range of subjects; urban/habitat design, indigenous studies, the urbanism of Himalayan settlements, urban art, agro-ecology, eco-feminism, heritage conservation, sustainable (de)development, gender studies, community participation, and earth architecture. He pursued Masters in Urban Design from the School of Planning and Architecture, Delhi. Nikhil has worked as a project architect at PMA design studio, Valsad, and as an architecture apprentice at the Hunnarshala Foundation, Bhuj. He has worked with Sahapedia UNESCO, Recyclebin, Trivandrum, and SVNIT, Surat as a research fellow. Presently, he works with Nitte Institute of Architecture (NIA), Mangalore as a researcher for the Urban Studies group and academic exploring multi-disciplinary pedagogical frameworks to evolve co-learning processes.
To encourage more in-depth data collection and research on upcoming and ongoing riverfront development projects in cities across India, People’s Resource Centre started the Nagar-Nadi Fellowship – which sought to improve the understanding of the current state of urban stretches of rivers in India. Through this research, we hope to initiate more informed discussion on the ongoing and upcoming infrastructural developments on urban rivers and bring attention to more ecological and socially just approaches to better manage the river-city relationship.