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Sanjeev Vidyarthi, PhD, Associate Professor

Studying, working and living in a variety of settings have shaped Sanjeev’s commitment to the field of spatial planning. He grew up in a Nehruvian-era industrial township near the city of Udaipur in rural India. He experienced the ‘megacity’ firsthand while attending the Sir J.J. School of Architecture at Bombay. Sanjeev next joined his college friends at Jaipur, a princely city planned in the 18th century, and together they went on to establish the leading architectural practice of the Rajasthan state. Employing well over 40 people in the mid 1990s, their studio designed a range of projects in diverse contexts including Madras, Delhi and Muscat. His practice also helped organize the state’s first architecture school where he served as the founding chair. Shortly afterwards, Sanjeev became curious about the meaning and purpose of his own work and headed to the graduate school. He studied at the college towns of Leuven, Belgium and Ann Arbor, Michigan while earning multiple degrees in city planning and design. He came to the UIC in 2008. He now lives at walking distance from Frank Llyod Wright’s home and studio in Oak Park and a short drive away from Fredrick Law Olmsted’s planned community of Riverside. Sanjeev studies how to make better plans for places.

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Research Interests

Sanjeev's research interests include ideas and actions in the domains of planning history and theory, spatial planning and design, globalization and international planning. He studies who does (and should do) the planning work and some of the differences these efforts make. A believer in the authority of careful thought, his project involves helping actors and communities make better plans that bridge the many divides in society and improve the quality of urban life.

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UPP 304 Visualizing the City
UPP 308 Globalization in Urban and Public Affairs
UPP 500 The History and Theory of Planning
UPP 505 Plan-Making
UPP 506 Plan-Making Studio UPP 521 Globalization and International Planning II: Comparative Planning and Policies
UPP 550 Spatial Planning and Design: Theoretical Foundations

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Vidyarthi, S., S. Mathur and S. Agarwal. Under contract. “Understanding India's New Approach to Spatial Planning and Development: A Salient Shift?” (New Delhi: Oxford University Press)

Vidyarthi, S. “One Idea, Many Plans: An American City Design Concept in Independent India”. (New York and London: Routledge, 2015)

Vidyarthi, S and C. Hoch. Learning from Groundwater: Public, Private and Common Goods. [Under preparation for Submission to Planning Theory]

Vidyarthi, S. “Building A ‘World class Heritage city’: Jaipur’s Emergent Elites and New Approach to Spatial Planning,” in Gavin Shatkin, ed. Contesting the Indian City:Global Visions and the Politics of the Local (West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell, 2014).

Vidyarthi, S., Hoch C. and C. Basmajian “Making sense of India’s spatial plan-making practice: Enduring approach or emergent variations,” Planning Theory andPractice 14.1 (2013): 57-74.

Vidyarthi, S. “Indianizing the Neighborhood Unit: The Jawahar Nagar Plan,” in Nihal Perera and Wing-Shing Tang, eds. Transforming Asian Cities: IntellectualImpasse, Asianizing Space, and emerging translocalities (New York: Routledge, 2013).

Vidyarthi, S., C. Winkle, J. Smith, K. Kawamura, T. Zhang and C. Hoch “Holistic, Inclusive and Practical: Teaching Plan-making at the Core,” Town Planning Review83.6 (2012): 625-645.

Vidyarthi, S. “Inappropriately appropriated or Innovatively indigenized? Neighborhood unit concept in post- independence India,” Journal of Planning History 9.4 (2010): 260-276.

Vidyarthi, S. “Reimagining American neighborhood unit for India,” in Patsy Healey and Richard Upton, eds. Crossing Borders: International Exchange and PlanningPractices in Royal Town Planning Institute Library Series (London: Routledge 2010).

Invited Lectures and Commentary

“Jaipur after Liberalization: Tracking Urban Plans & Policy,” Invited lecture in the Development Dialogue Series at the Institute of Development Studies Jaipur (IDSJ), August 4, 2014.

"Building a 'World Class Heritage City' in Jaipur, India: Resurgent Local Planning and Civic Pride or More of the Same?," Invited lecture in the Symposium Cities Across the Globe: People and Places Across Borders organized at the Great Cities Institute, UIC November 21, 2013.

"One Idea, Many Plans: An American Design Concept in Independent India," Invited lecture in the Contemporary issues in Planning and Design Lecture Series at the College of Design, Iowa State University, October 15, 2012.

"Spectacular Subversion or Unique Urbanism: Planned Neighborhoods, Informal Settlements and Spontaneous Transformations," Invited lecture given at Parsons, The New School for Design, New York, April 12, 2012. 

"Neighborhood Unit in Independent India," Invited talk presented at the Graduate School of Design Harvard, jointly sponsored by the Department of Urban Planning and Design and the South Asia Initiative, November 9, 2011.

"Planned Neighborhoods and Public Pastiche in Post-independence India," Invited lecture given at the South Asia Seminar Series, University of Chicago, November 4, 2010.

"From Prosaic to Profound: Modern Neighborhoods of Nehru's India," Invited lecture presented in the Csillag Seminar Series in Geography at the University of Toronto, October 27, 2010. 

"Informalizing the Formal and Localizing the Global," Invited talk at the Centre for South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, April 27, 2010.

"Secondary cities and the World city debate," Invited lecture given in the Emerging Voices Lecture Series at the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, University of Michigan, March 25, 2010

"Fetishizing 'World city' status: Jaipur's Global ambitions and Built patrimony," presented by invitation at the workshop Contesting the Indian City: State, Space and Citizenship in the Global Era at the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, University of Calcutta, March5-6, 2010.

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Room 217 (MC 348)

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