Rahul Mehrotra,architect, a professor, an urban planner and a conservation activist-min
Rahul Mehrotra is a well-known multi-faceted personality – an architect, a professor, an urban planner and a conservation activist – all bundled up in one person. Apart from being the principal architect at RMA architects, Mehrotra is also a Professor of Urban Design and Planning and Chair of the Department of Urban Planning and Design at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) in Cambridge, Mass., USA.
He has been one of the activists behind the declaration of urban precincts as conservation areas in Mumbai and one of the founder members of the Kala Ghoda area rejuvenation movement, the restoration of the Oval Maidan, and the formulation of several citizens’ associations in the historic Fort District in Mumbai. He was also executive director of the Urban Design Research Institute (1994-2004), where he is now a trustee. The UDRI is also actively involved in researching and influencing policy for the historic district, and the city more generally. He is also a founding board member of the Indian Institute for Human Settlement (IIHS).
Mehrotra is known for his frank opinions – be it about architecture or urban planning or anything affecting our day to day life. He is one of the prominent personalities who spoke against the smart city project in its current format.
Cities are meant for people to live in and any project which doesn’t consider human being as part of this equation is not going to achieve its ultimate objective. The smart city projects envisaged by the government are founded on capital and investment but ignore the human aspect completely. This according to Mehrotra is the greatest drawback of the project.
According to Mehrotra what India needs today is not 100 smart cities but making small cities and towns more efficient in terms of sanitation, education and other parameters. The government should use the technology as an instrument that facilitates in achieving this and not the other way around.