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Heritage Design, Planning & Management – 2018-19


"One of our deepest needs is for a sense of identity and belonging and a common denominator in this is human attachment to landscape and how we find identity in landscape and place. Landscape therefore is not simply what we see, but a way of seeing: we see it with our eye but interpret it with our mind and ascribe values to landscape for intangible – spiritual – reasons. Landscape can therefore be seen as a cultural construct in which our sense of place and memories inhere. Critical to this has been the increasing attention given to the study of cultural landscapes, even to the extent of recognition in 1992 of World Heritage Categories of outstanding cultural landscapes." - Ken Taylor, Landscape & Memory

Image showing significant elements of architecture and landscapes in Hoysala, documented during the study tour (Source: SUI-Srishti; Dr. Jyoti Hosagrahar)


This program is one of the two postgraduate programs established under the UNESCO Chair in Culture, Habitat, and Sustainable Development at Srishti. The program is designed to deliver familiarity with international and national, norms and standards of heritage interpretation and management, based on the foundation of the World Heritage Convention. Furthermore, the courses will be driven towards exploring new processes of designing, managing and planning for preserving heritage sites and the surrounding milieu; such that the outcomes will benefit local communities, and nurture creative entrepreneurship within the eclectic cultural landscapes.

In a fast changing and rapidly globalizing world, issues related to uniqueness and identity, are becoming an important and inevitable discourse in academia and practice. Non-renewable resources like our cultural and natural heritage are well-springs for both, traditional and contemporary creative practices rooted in a locality or a place. Through this program and its courses, the larger intention is to address questions related to the relationship between communities (people) and initiatives of preservation and conservation in places of heritage value. How do we identify and assess the cultural (tangible and intangible) and environmental heritage of a place? How do we manage and protect these valuable resources? How can we improve such places and benefit their communities in ways that are compatible with the heritage values? How can we support local communities to manage their inheritance? How can places, their cultural and natural assets inform and inspire design and creative practices?

A deeper understanding and informed interpretation of built and intangible, cultural heritage and the natural environment in a design process, will lead to planned, sensitive and compatible integration of heritage values. Thus, this program is curated to engage with the skills, knowledge, and tools to identify, document, evaluate, interpret, protect, and manage, cultural and natural heritage. The learning will be directed towards proposing creative solutions through minimal and sustainable approaches, in order to improve basic infrastructure, enhance the presentation of places and employ the contextual uniqueness to the benefit of local communities. Courses will also engage with local knowledge practices and derive principles of design from the cultural landscapes, with the larger aim of exploring new ways for defining contemporary creative practices. This multidisciplinary program is a platform for theoretical and practical engagement through context-specific inquiries to engage with a range of disciplines from designing for the built environments to the humanities, cultural geography, management, entrepreneurship, and tourism; and understand how practices in these fields are being constantly informed and enriched by one other.

The pedagogy of this program will have constant overlaps and intersections with its complementing postgraduate program under the UNESCO Chair. Both these programs are structured around the issues of heritage preservation and conservation, arising from the vision and mandate of the chair. The immediate focus areas of intervention for the academic year 2017-19 will be Hoysala Region, Deccani Region, Western Ghats, Coastal Karnataka and Bengaluru Metropolitan. These places will only act as living labs for the purpose of portfolio building, not limiting the holistic learning in the areas of heritage design, planning and management of similar contexts in the future. This program will thus be a part of a much larger, interdisciplinary community at the School of Law, Environment and Planning at Srishti.

Students engaging with the fort wall, during their study tour to Bidar.

Key Values

  • Inward-looking and interdisciplinary approach
  • Heritage interpretation and translation.
  • Practising creativity through amalgamation.
  • Creative and contextual responses.

Course structure

  1. Studios encourage active, contextual learning where students develop core disciplinary skills and knowledge. Studios facilitate collaborative and creative design solutions to complex, open-ended problems
  2. Workshops provide intense learning experiences in making and doing, across the different disciplines.
  3. Internship with an industry or a design studio is compulsory for students at the end of 1st year
  4. Self Initiated Project is an end of the semester challenge that allows the student to engage in research / enquiry or design based projects. Students begin by writing their project proposal and defining the scope of their project and they are mentored by faculty / design professionals.
  5. Electives are liberal arts courses aimed to cultivate intellectual and reflective abilities in students and motivate them to probe deeper and approach their design process in a holistic manner.
  6. Capstone Project is the culmination of the research, capabilities and knowledge gained over the last three semesters. Students are required to submit their design output and a mandated thesis document. Students are mentored during this final project and go through seminars to get feedback from faculty and peer groups

Learning Approach

Different units and courses will be conducted through either one or more of the following approaches:

  • Project-based: To actively explore real world challenges, conflicts and problems within timelines with context-sensitivity.
  • Position-based: To foster a deep understanding of theories and practices, and arrive at individual inquires and stand-points.
  • Place-based: To take the learning from immersive field trips and expeditions; and extend, deepen and transform them into site-specific interventions.
  • Participation-based:  To understand the diversity of actors, who passively or actively inhabit the space of inquiry, and incorporate their insights through sensitive and equitable tools.
  • Process-based: To engage with art and design research methodologies; and push the boundaries of discourses in urban design, conservation and sustainability.


On successful application of the program, students would acquire the following capabilities:

  • To conceptualise notions of contemporary creative practices, cultural landscapes and heritage compatible development to better the social environments and benefit local communities.
  • To understand the key norms around protection and management of cultural and natural heritage.
  • To document, map, survey, research, record, analyse, visualise, theorise and disseminate a wide range of information and insights.
  • To build inventories, assess threats and write proposals to protect historic sites and local communities.
  • To design and manage at different scales for heritage protection initiatives, while nurturing creativity and participation, individually as well as in multidisciplinary groups.


These capability sets would open up various opportunities for successful graduates in the following fields or forms of practices:

  • Heritage conservation and heritage compatible design, designing for the built-environment to product design or film-making.
  • Government agencies, research and development organizations, NGOs, social enterprises, museums, galleries, archives and performing art centers.
  • Hospitality businesses and organizations focused on cultural tourism and ecotourism
  • Design entrepreneurship
  • Higher studies through doctoral programs and career in academics


Course Leader: Ishita Shah

For further information, kindly email Ishita Shah at

Disciplinary Intersections

The program is informed by the following learning disciplines:

Illustrations printed and exhibited on paper board by Gayathri Hariharan, for studio project towards redesigning the Arakkal Museum in Kannur (Cannanore), Kerala.

Research and Collaboration

Students have opportunities to work within the academic structures and/or work across the following centers and labs:

Cultural heritage mapping of Belur by Nikita Jain, as a part of an academic exercise conducted under SUI-Srishti Collaborative (Source: SUI-Srishti; Dr. Jyoti Hosagrahar)


View Eligibility for Admission, Fee Schedule, Application Form & Other information for this Program >>