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ICHR to shortlist cities for urban-heritage project

The ICHR will soon shortlist names of a few historic cities, for which the research body will offer a plan for urban decongestion while keeping the heritage characteristics intact.

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The ICHR will soon shortlist names of a few historic cities, for which the research body will offer a plan for urban decongestion while keeping the heritage characteristics intact.

The Indian Council for Historical Research (ICHR) and the UK's Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) jointly held a two-day international workshop on 'Cultural Heritage and Rapid Urbanisation in India', which concluded this evening.

Urban and cultural relevance of seven historical cities -- Varanasi, Bhubaneswar, Amaravati, Mumbai, Madurai, Warangal and Patna -- were discussed yesterday through individual presentations made by experts invited from the respective cities.

"Out of these cities, we will shortlist a few, which would then be taken up for our projects, on a pilot basis. We will make a committee to select the names of the cities. Also, once we have the blueprint of the project ready, the UK side can help us by offering their technological expertise in managing heritage, including digital technology," ICHR chairman Y Sudershan Rao said today.

Rao said the two days of discussion were very fruitful and a host of ideas were exchanged between the two sides during the workshop.

Historians, architects, anthropologists and experts from other related fields also offered proposals on the role heritage can play in sustainable economic growth and building social cohesion.

Research Council UK (RCUK), the umbrella body under which the AHRC falls, has called the workshop "incredibly timely".

"One of the main objectives is to identify key questions that would help us find specific area of collaboration in this field. A funding call would be announced following this workshop later this year, inviting proposals for the collaborative projects, involving researchers from both the UK and India," Director, RCUK India, Daniel Shah, had yesterday said.

About 20 experts from various universities in the UK and the British Library participated in the workshop.

"Once we identify the cities, we will be collaborating with urban planners and other experts as well to come with the overall plan. We will then offer it to the states concerned, it is up to them to accept or not," Rao added.

British experts made presentations on Sheffield, Edinburgh, Cambridge, Manchester and Peterborough yesterday.

A comparative study of London and Mumbai was also done by a scholar from the UK.

"The conclusion and findings of the workshop will be compiled as recommendations and sent to the government suggesting policy changes," Rao had said.



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