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Heritage Design, Planning & Management


“[I]n its original sense, heritage was the property which parents handed down to their children.” - Graeme Davison, 1991

Study tour and recce trips to learn about theories and concepts. Photo Source: Shreyas Srivatsa


Heritage in its simplest sense is the inheritance of the past. However, it is currently widely understood as buildings, monuments and structures, and not as the practices, traditional knowledge, skills and rituals inherited “from our ancestors and passed on to our descendants”. This program of Heritage Design Planning and Management addresses this emerging but often overlooked area of “living heritage”. It is oriented towards deriving knowledge and principles of design from cultural and natural heritage places. It explores new ways that contemporary creative practices (including but not limited to architecture and urban design) can be informed and enriched by history, culture, ecology, tradition, community, and craft.

This program is one of the two postgraduate programs established under the UNESCO Chair in Culture, Habitat, and Sustainable Development.

Core Values

Collaborative and Participatory
Continuous Self-learning
Empathise and Empower
Ethical Engagement
Mutual Respect and Responsibility

Course structure

  • Disciplinary Studies
  • Trans-disciplinary Projects
  • Theory and Understanding Units
  • Practice
  • Self-Directed Inquiry/Research
  • Knowledge Enhancement (Ability or Skills)

A participatory activity on speculating futures of heritage sites in Bidar. Photo Source: Shreyas Srivatsa

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 inquiries 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.

The course fosters collaborations at multiple scales. The UNESCO chair, Design+Environment+Law Laboratory (DEL Laboratory) at Srishti are the centres that reinforce the course through research and projects. An extended network of partners from local communities, non-governmental organisations, government institutions, universities and industry supports the place based learning


On successful completion of the course, graduates will have acquired the following capabilities.

Knowledge and Understanding:

  • To understand, interpret and critique a wide-range of framework and approaches around protection and management of cultural and/or natural assets.
  • To conceptualise notions of contemporary creative practices, cultural landscapes and heritage compatible development to better the social environments and benefit local communities.

Communication Skills:

  • To build inventories, assess threats or potential, and write proposals, using a wide range of information and insights about historic sites, local communities and regional practices.
  • To document, map, survey, research, record, analyse, visualise, theorise and disseminate a wide range of information and insights.

Practitioner Skills:

  • To design and manage initiatives for heritage protection, in varying capacities across different contexts and scales, while nurturing creativity and participation.

Interlude Documentation of Old houses on Ibrahim Sahib Street as part of Interlude - an interdisciplinary project Source: Janak Mistry


This course provides an opportunity for students to either pursue higher studies, define their own collaborative practice as well as find a position in variety of workplaces i.e. cultural organisations, government bodies, not-for-profit initiatives, art and design practices, research institutions and others.

Opportunities can be identified across different creative economies and some of them would be: Advocacy, Arts, Conservation, Knowledge Centers, Media and Tourism.


For more information about this program, kindly email Vidhu Gandhi at

An exhibition of objects from the past found in the ruins of old buildings. Photo Source: Janak Mistry

Disciplinary Intersections

The program is informed by the following learning disciplines:

Understanding heritage buildings in university campuses. Photo Source: Ranjani Balasubramanian

Research and Collaboration

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


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