Sushant School of Planning and Development (SSPD) came into existence in 2018. Urban Planning programmes at Ansal University started in 2013 and were offered through the Sushant School of Art and Architecture. These were aimed to meet the growing demand for urban planners in India. The ongoing transformation from a primarily rural to majorly an urban society will require strategic investments of funds and technology enabled by efficient deployment of skills. The rate of urbanisation in India varies from national to regional level and sub-regional level. While Census 2011 has identified 7,935 urban settlements, nearly 24 percent of urban population lives in the 9 cities (Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Pune and Surat). This shows the spatial imbalance in the urbanization.
The Government of India’s approach to urban development has evolved during the last two decades. Today, India has one of the unique urban sector missions covering a wide range of issues such as cleanliness (Swachh Bharat), housing (PMAY), livelihood (National Urban Livelihood Mission), health (National Urban Health Mission), heritage (HRIDAY), basic infrastructure (AMRUT), energy (solar cities), technology-driven (Smart Cities) and rural-urban (RuRBAN Mission). Deployment of technology and generation of spatial big data has presented a new opportunity for urban India. This offers immense potential for participation of various stakeholders and citizens themselves in the process of place-making. The recent UNESCO report has noted that by 2031 India would require approximately 300,000 planners whereas the current strength is approximately 5,000.
The future of urban planning is getting more technology-driven and behaviourally informed. Since India is preparing to harness the benefits of Fourth Industrial Revolution, Automation and Robotics, Internet of Things, Hyperloop, Personal Rapid Transits and Drone Technology, planning is becoming more spatial. Urban Planning education at the SSPD has been designed to prepare the prospective students to address these issues. The School of Natural and Built Environment, Queen’s University Belfast, UK has come forward to engage with SSPD to develop the curricula as well as teaching system to match international standards.