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All partner-institutions of NISA came together in Cape Town!

event.  NISA project team meeting in Cape Town
date.  09th to 13th October 2023

place.  Cape Town, South Africa

venue.  University of Cape Town

participants. Organised by the All India Institute of Local Self-Government (AIILSG), this event gathered decision-makers, urban practitioners, organisations, researchers, etc. Besides Indian delegates, the event attracted representatives from various countries, including Norway, South Africa, U.K., USA, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Russia, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bhutan, Greece, Republic of Korea, Nepal, Philippines, etc.


- Manu Mahajan  

First reaction after visiting Cissie Gool House: 

As a designer, many a times, I am amazed at the resilience of people who live at the border of all kinds of resources and protection, yet they greet and smile each other with such affection. Same feeling during the visit to 'Cissie Gool House' in Cape Town. Evicted due to gentrification of the neighborhood, people were forced to stay on the streets, many of them old. With the help of a local NGO, this group planned and occupied a dysfunctional (for last 15 years) hospital in 2017. Today, 303 families live in different parts of this old hospital, be it operation theatres, wards, X-Ray rooms, etc. With their own resources, they improved the space, put electrical wiring, and water supply network and manage the building together. They have even recreated common spaces and social spaces such as a tea stall, grocery store and kitchen garden. They know life is precarious but while walking through the building, I didn't find anyone sad. In fact, they looked together and smiled at us. We get sad if we don’t get the chosen flavor of an ice-cream. A very special song coming to my mind after this experience (mix of experiences in fact). 'We are the World' and the lyrics are  

"There comes a time 

When we heed a certain call 

When the world must come together as one 

There are people dying 

Oh, and it's time to lend a hand to life 

The greatest gift of all"

One of the inhabitants asked us, 'can you help us in co-designing exercise for better living'? I was amazed and ashamed as Co-Design is an in-thing in design studios. Whether I would be able to sit with them and Co-Design? I doubt! Because, for last seven years they have already beautifully appropriated (designed) the hospital space.

Reaction to the visit to Philippi Village:

Cage and Hope! Tuesday afternoon spent at the outskirts of Cape Town. Philippi Village-an intervention on a 14 Ha old cement plant to address issues of the settlements around. Not only the program and design are innovative, but the intervention is also going through a gradual process of addressing local issues of the surrounding community. An eye-opener when the person taking us around, introduced herself as a 'Space Manager' and used the word 'Place-making'. Mother of a two-year-old without any formal degree in space/place/design etc. from the local community. And seeing local kids in the lobby of the main building and in a football field, I stopped my tears in front of others. Michael Jackson came to my mind, 'Let us make a better place for you and me, and for the entire human race.' 

Echange students from Cape Town visiting NTNU Trondheim

event.  Exchange student from University of Cape Town (South Africa) visiting NTNU in Trondheim (Norway) for two months as part of the mobility program  
date.  Fall semester 2023

place.  Trondheim, Norway

participants. Owami Lerumo

students reflections.

"I had an amazing time in Trondheim and am very grateful for the opportunity. "

"This was my first time out of South Africa and although I experienced a few difficulties, such as my luggage being misplaced and finding it difficult to move around without internet because I struggled with getting a SIM card, overall, it was a great experience. I met incredible people and explored Trondheim a little bit. "

"I attended two courses offered by the UEP program which were “Project Course: Urban Informality” and “Methods for Participatory Planning”. I really enjoyed the Project course especially because it gave me an opportunity to apply some of the skills, I learned in my home university as well as the Methods class. I got to work on mapping using GIS, met stakeholders that were involved in the project and conducted interviews and even worked on an intervention. The intervention was interesting for me because it introduced me to Tactical Urbanism, and it became an important realization in how we can make short term changes while pursuing long term changes in urban planning. "

"Staying in the student village was also really nice. Before I came to Trondheim it was advised by Tsepiso and Mukundwa, who visited NTNU last year, that I join the group chats for incoming NTNU students. One of the groups I joined was the “Moholt student village” group and one of the students that was helping everyone turned out to be my flatmate, so when I got to Trondheim it felt like I already knew people which made living there a great experience. My flatmates were really helpful, and I really think I made lifetime connections with some of them. "

"My classmates were also really helpful in navigating Trondheim. I got to explore the city through the coursework we had to do. For instance, one of the fieldtrips the class planned, was the cabin trip. It was really nice bonding experience and I got to know everyone better. I also got to go to Svartlamon which was really interesting to see the distinction of informality and has become a sort of guide for how the South African context can apply Svartlamon as a case study in understanding our own housing issues."

6th Asian Cities Summit and Mayors' Forum

event.  Conference on 'Inclusive and Resilient Cities'
date.  5 to 7 of April 2023

place.  New Delhi, India

activities. The representatives from all partner-institutions of NISA came together in Cape Town for several days of work on studio pedagogies, curriculum development, case study presentations and informative visits. The project meetings were hosted at the beautiful campus of the University of Cape Town that provided a great backdrop for fertile and enriching discussions. The trip was also group with a field visit of 10 students from the Urban Ecological Planning master program from NTNU. Through a program of fieldtrips, discussions and readings carefully crafted by the UCT team and led by Rosca van Rooyen, the students discovered the multiple layers of the South African history and the complex challenges persisting today. 


We had an excellent UEP-NISA representation at the 6th Asian Cities Summit 2023 in New Delhi. The exhibition of student work from UEP, University of Cape Town and the School of Planning and Architecture New Delhi, about the Kochi fieldwork was a big hit!

Exchange students visiting NTNU Trondheim

event. Exchange students from South Africa and India, visiting NTNU as part of the Mobility Programme of the UTFORSK- NISA partnership
date. Fall semester 2022 and Spring semester 2023

place. Trondheim Norway

participants. Tsepiso Mbali and Mukundwa Makabane from University of Cape Town, as well as Anusha Kumar, Mohammed Hussain, and PhD candidate Animesh Dev, from SPA Delhi.

main objectives.

  • Tsepiso  and Mukundwa stayed at NTNU for 2 months, starting in September 2022. They were writing their Master theses at the time, so they presented their work to NTNU's teaching staff and held interesting discussions about their work. They also joined the Project Development course (AAR5325) and the Data Driven Co-Creation intensive workshop that took place in Ålesund and Geiranger.

  • PhD candidate Animesh Dev joined us for a few months during the fall semester in 2022, and followed some theory lectures at NTNU at the Architecture and Planning, and the Geography department. Some of the courses that interested him included the Introductory course in the theories of science and research methods for PhD candidates (AAR 8320) and the Social Difference, Identity and Place course (GEOG3517).

  • Anusha Kumar and Mohammed Hussain joined for the spring semester of 2023 and shared with first years students of the Urban Ecological Planning programme at NTNU. Some of the courses they took included the Urban Contingency Practice and Planning course (AAR5220) and the Globalisation and Urban Development course (AAR5270).


“Norway is a pioneer in promoting sustainable energy sources that can be learned and applied in similar environments. I found NTNU's living lab provided ample support in this area. Lastly, as an urban design student/professional, travelling to new destinations is one of the best ways to learn...”

— Anusha Kumar,

exchange student from SPA Delhi


“The two-month-long students’ mobility program at NTNU University was an amazing experience for me. The program helped me in exploring innovations and research in the field of urban ecological planning and design...
The university’s interdisciplinary collaboration helped me engage with other international students of various backgrounds.”

— Mohd Hussain,

exchange student from SPA Delhi

student reflections.

​"I had the opportunity to participate in the NTNU Mobility Program from February-April 2023 as part of the UTFORSK Project, co-facilitated by the Urban Design Department, SPA New Delhi. The program involved staying at NTNU University, Trondheim, Norway, and accessing various facilities and resources: library, lectures, workshops, and campus facilities. NTNU library houses a wide range of books covering diverse topics and research. Additionally, I found the online database with faculty/researchers domain of expertise and contact information convenient. They are also available for discussions and assistance with software.

During the program, I attended courses offered by the UEP degree, covering global urban concerns. I also had access to student housing close to the University, ensuring convenient everyday commuting and access to amenities. The Indian community organized multiple social events, creating a sense of home away from home!

In terms of architecture, Norway is a pioneer in promoting sustainable energy sources that can be learned and applied in similar environments. I found NTNU's living lab provided ample support in this area. Lastly, as an urban design student/professional, travelling to new destinations is one of the best ways to learn. Trondheim's convenient location allowed me to visit multiple European cities, which was an enriching experience. Overall, I am grateful to both SPA, New Delhi, and NTNU for providing this opportunity to enhance my master’s education."

Anusha Kumar

"The two-month-long students’ mobility program at NTNU University was an amazing experience for me. The program helped me in exploring innovations and research in the field of urban ecological planning and design. The faculties and staff members were incredibly knowledgeable and very supportive. They always assist and guide me in my thesis research. The university’s interdisciplinary collaboration helped me engage with other international students of various backgrounds. The library was well equipped with all modern resources and was easy to access, which helped me get deeper into my research and explore new areas of interest.
Staying in Trondheim was an unforgettable lifelong experience for me. The international students help us a lot in finding accommodation near the campus. The city's picturesque landscape, especially during the winter and spring, makes me always walk down the streets and parks. Trondheim City is full of a young student population which helps me build lifelong friendships and connections with fellow students very easily during outdoor workshops and student club activities.  
Overall, the program was truly transformative and valuable for my upcoming professional and academic growth. I am truly thankful to NTNU and SPA Delhi for giving me this opportunity."

Mohd Hussain

NISA kick-off meeting and NTNU research areas 

event.  Project/Curriculum Development Meeting for the UTFORSK- NISA partnership
date.  3rd – 7th October 2022

place.  Kochi, Kerala, India 

venue.  Abad Plaza Hotel, MG Road, Kochi

participants. Representatives of the project partners from the School of Planning and Architecture (SPA), Delhi, All India Institute of Local Self Government, Delhi, University of Cape Town, South Africa, Ndifuna Ukwazi, Cape Town and the NTNU. Advisors from the Directorate for Higher Education and Skills participated in the meeting to get an introduction to the methods and activities in the NISA project. Students from SPA Delhi and NTNU also participated in the meeting and conducted a joint participatory research exercise in Kochi

main objectives.

1.    Kickstart the Joint Studio in Kochi and interact with local planning professionals to understand the history and policy directions in Kochi.
2.    Get an insight into earlier studios conducted by SPA Delhi in Kochi
3.    Discussions on curriculum development and publication deliverables among the partners. The partners will be developing a life long learning course, a PhD level course on “Practice based research for the SDG” and an anthology of localization of SDGs.
4.    Planning for activities in the project for the coming year 2022-2023. The next project meeting is planned in October 2023 in Cape Town.
5.    Budget and management of the project

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