Hometown: Mumbai, India Education Background: Bachelor of Architecture
How did you get interested in your field?
I grew up in a big, busy city and my encounters with different people and cultures shaped my ideas of urbanism, society and the built environment. For my undergrad, I studied architecture and I became interested in grappling with issues of climate resiliency and social inequalities. I realized that I wanted to build upon my spatial understanding by exploring larger socio-economic and political frameworks and planning methodologies to better understand how they can be refigured to adapt to the climate crisis.
What was your background prior to coming to Penn?
I studied architecture at the University of Mumbai and went on to work with a participatory planning collective before coming to Penn.
Why did you choose Penn?
Apart from strong academics, Penn offers great inter-disciplinary collaborations and has some really interesting people working on cool projects. Rather than having one concentration that taught about climate change, the city planning program offered several entry points into what I am interested in: data, climate and resiliency in vulnerable communities.
What has been your favorite class so far? (if you are new, you can skip this one)
Honestly, it is difficult to pick one because all classes are so different in that they provide very different skill-sets, but one semester in, my favorite class is Introduction to Smart Cities. This class provokes discussions on technology and cities and explores the potential of data, machine learning and digitization to make cities “smarter”.
What do you like best about Philadelphia?
Food. There is so much good food all around Penn’s campus! Also, I love how slow-paced and intimate the city is.
What kinds of activities and/or organizations are you involved in?
I am currently a fellow at the Climate Leaders at Penn. In my free time, I love to experiment with new foods, create art, and of late, I’ve been teaching myself data visualization.
What are your career ambitions?
I envision working as a planner and facilitator within the dual contexts of villages and cities in the Global South. Using technology and participatory design, I want to work with coastal communities to collectively develop data systems that will help them adapt to the impacts of the climate crisis and irregularly-paced urbanization.