Urban spaces, including architecture and heritage, are a major challenge of contemporary India. France supports these areas of concern on several fronts.
Urbanism, architecture and heritage are identified as sectors of top priority for the French Institute in India in its efforts of cultural, social, environmental and economic Indo-French cooperation. Following the projects launched during Bonjour India, and in collaboration with the Economic Service of the French Embassy, the Agence Française de développement, and Business France, the French Institute in India is conducting 3 main actions.
There have been multiple collaborations between India and France in the field of heritage conservation. The various projects carried out in Ahmedabad, Chandernagore, Chandigarh or Pondicherry, cities that have requested French expertise in this field, bear witness to this. Each of these cities believes in a common vision of heritage being an important stake, both economically and socially. A well maintained built heritage actively contributes to strengthening the attractiveness of a city and its tourist potential. It is also a creator of employment and better collective living.
The French Institute in India intends to promote exchanges of expertise and training programmes accompanied by mediation and cultural action. It aims to bring together public, private and academic actors as well as civil society around a positive vision of heritage.
Since 2015, the Indian government has launched a national program to support 100 Indian cities to become “smart cities” following a model of sustainable and exemplary urban development. French expertise has been solicited in this context and is accompanying several Indian cities in this process through the Agence Française de développement.
It is important for the French Institute in India to ideate these concepts and to work with its partners for an inclusive and sustainable vision of the city of tomorrow. To this end, it proposes actions in two of the following fields:
– reflect on what heritage represents in the development of smart, sustainable and agile cities. An integral part of the city, its history and its memory, heritage offers the opportunity to question, through our reading of the past, the complexity of contemporary societies as the collective choices to operate today.
– creating a space for dialogue around art in urban public spaces and the impact of art and culture on the sustainable city of tomorrow – in line with the Malraux Seminar organized in September 2019 by the French Institute in India – with a program of artist residencies working on urban issues, support for Indian cultural highlights that transform cities through a strong artistic proposal like the major biennials and invitation of major French companies that activate the urban space.
The French Institute in India, in cooperation with the French Ministry of Culture, works actively towards further strengthening existing dynamic exchanges between French and Indian schools of architecture, research centres and professionals. It supports numerous academic cooperation projects. The past 2 editions of the Knowledge Summit highlight these cooperations.
It also carries out an innovative programme for young Indian urban designers and architects, “YUDAP“, which offers them an immersive 6 month training in France.
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