The challenge initially received an overwhelming response of 107 complete entries out of which 23 teams were selected. These teams looked to provide solutions to a number of real-world problems identified by them in the urban space such as sustainability of infrastructure, waste management, transportation challenges, eradication of slums and education among many others. In the month leading up to the event, the teams went through an intensive process of mentoring by subject matter experts and entrepreneurs to fine tuning their solutions, before being presented at the event semi-finals held on December 5, 2012.
Six teams were shortlisted teams to present their solutions to a Grand Jury consisting of eminent policymakers, practitioners, academics and experts on urbanisation on the final day of the event. The Grand Jury comprised of Renana Jhabvala (http://en.wikipedia.org/
Chandrasekhar B. Bhave, Executive Chairperson, IIHS felicitated the winners of the Challenge for their innovative solutions. The three winning teams will receive a grant of Rs 300,000/- each to help implement their solutions along with technical support from IIHS. Additionally cash awards of Rs 60,000/- each were awarded to the winning teams Kumej and Mool-a-Roop. The runner-up team Urbana got a cash award of Rs 20,000/-
Ami Matthan, team member of Khumej said, “It was an amazing experience to come here and participate at NSC 2012. The process, which was very intensive, required us to fine tune our proposals by working with mentors before we came here for the National Final. What we learnt and experienced here over the last two days will stay with us forever. Unlike other competitions, NSC sets itself apart by allowing us to execute our designs and thoughts.” Team Kumej proposed to create a light, collapsible floor-seater primarily aimed at underprivileged students (age group 6 years to 10 years old).
“Being under-graduate students of architecture, it is a great exposure for our team to implement our idea as a real life project. The process of mentorship has already taught us how to deal with issues of the city and deal with them at the grass-root level. We want to thank IIHS for the encouragement to students who want to make a change,” said Pooja Katara, team member of Mool-a-Roop. Their concept was to create an alternate system of public transport in the city that will reduce the pressure on the auto rickshaws in Mumbai.
The runner up team, Urbana from IIT-Kharagpur presented a solution on building a comprehensive waste collection cum recycling system with a modular scalable business model in Kolkata, but also applicable to any other urban setup. Their basic idea was to generate revenue out of waste and include multiple stakeholders as partners in the process.
Speaking at the occasion, Aromar Revi, Director, IIHS said, “India is at the cusp of an unprecedented transformation – a shift from a rural agrarian culture to an urban post-industrial culture that if adequately managed will help us end poverty as we know it in about a generation, improve human development and become one of the largest economies in the world. The motive power for this will come from the energy of our young people, a process of sustainable urbanisation and the institutions that we build to enable both.
The NSC 2012 provided students from universities across 75 cities, a glimpse of the challenges that they will be grappling with as professionals and citizens over the next 30 years. These are ‘wicked problems’ that have never been successfully addressed at such scale and complexity in a democratic country before – so there are few precedents we can draw upon from the US, China, Europe or Latin America. Most of our current education does not enable students to engage directly from the challenges they encounter in their everyday life: inadequate water supply, congestion, dysfunctional solid waste management, social and economic exclusion. This is a great loss for them and the country.
The IIHS is very glad that so many teams of young people have got together via NSC 2012 to challenge the status quo; focus on implementation and problem solving in the real world and to test the hypothesis that ‘another world is possible, here and now in India.”
The National Student Challenge 2012 has been supported by Rockefeller Foundation, along with Godrej Properties and Shri V. V & Smt. K. V. Mariwala Charity Trust as the Implementation Grant Partners and CIIE MentorEdge (http://mentoredge.com/)
To get updates about the TUI-NSC 2012, follow the hashtag #nsc2012.
About Transform Urban India - National Student Challenge (TUI-NSC)
Transform Urban India- National Student Challenge is an all India annual challenge that aims to engage the youth of the nation in challenges facing India’s urbanisation. The first cycle was held in 2011 as a part of the India Urban Conference, the largest urban conference held in India at the Mysore Campus of Infosys Technologies. IIHS launched the 2012 Cycle in July 2012. This year it was run under the broader banner ofTransform Urban India, an initiative that seeks to engage various stakeholders like practitioners, policy makers, academicians and students in the realm of urban practice. See http://transformurbanindia.com/
The Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS) is a national education institution committed to the equitable, sustainable and efficient transformation of Indian settlements. IIHS is India’s first prospective independently funded and managed inter-disciplinary National University for Research and Innovation that focuses on its ongoing urban and development transformation. It is a first-of-its-
Sneha Shyam Gopal