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Poised to prepare urban solutionaries, Anant National University’s ambitious Master of Urban Design (M:UD) programme is designed at the interface of architecture, planning and strategic management. Facilitating dialogues on urban challenges and their solutions, the Master of Urban Design programme at Anant National University hosted a Public Lecture on ‘Havana’s next 500s- On the challenges of the half-a-millennium old city’ on 25 January 2020. Dr Jorge Pena Diaz and Prof Joiselene Cazanave Macias from the Faculty of Architecture at Universidad Technologica de la Habana – CUJAE, shared the innovative approaches adopted by the Cuban Capital to address various challenges from poverty, equality, climate change and the like.

Prof Ashima Banker, Director, Master of Urban Design, says, “Cities are complex entities. Though similar, the context of the issues are often unique for every city. Dialogues on the challenges and solutions adopted by other cities help in comprehending new innovative ways to address them in our context. The story of Cuba, a country in crisis for the last three decades, showcases positive urban transformations guiding a high Human Development Index and a low Carbon footprint. It is heartening and inspiring to learn from such cases. The Master of Urban Design programme aims to bring forth global best practices and innovation to Indian Cities.”

“To have a Master’s programme that allows the people to develop the skills required to understand what is happening in the areas where the people from varied economic backgrounds live or where most crucial problems are is really important. It is essential for academics to have a programme that can lead the disadvantaged towards a better world. Budding practitioners must know how to view challenges from economic and social perspectives, and how to give the people a better environment for their lives,” says Prof Joiselene Cazanave Macias expressing her delight with AnantU’s M:UD programme based in India.

This event attempted to share with professionals, academicians, and students the challenges faced by Havana and the innovative key efforts towards the urban solutions that are being made at the national and local levels, across social, economic, spatial and cultural dimensions. Inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage City in 1982, the story of Havana had the audiences relate the learnings to India’s First World Heritage city, Ahmedabad and other cities of India, correlating the approaches undertaken by Cuba.