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2012 October 20

While massive urbanization is broadly accepted as one of the grand challenges of our times, it is less commonly recognized that most of that urban growth, according to the UN World Urbanization Prospects, will take place not in the megacities of the world like Shanghai or Mumbai, but in the vast numbers of small and mid-sized towns of China and India.

Professor Vikram Prakash of the University of Washington College of Built Environments has been taking studio classes to Chandigarh, India, for the last few years to study how this iconic modernist city is responding to the pressures of globalization. As one of India’s fastest growing mid-sized cities (population 1.8 million), Chandigarh today is facing development challenges—escalating real estate prices (higher than Seattle!), massive in-migration, congestion and rapid loss of agricultural land, managing growth, transit, sustainable development—of the kinds that we are familiar with in Seattle today or in our past. Of comparable size, Seattle and Chandigarh are kindred “sister” cities of the future that potentially have much to offer, and learn from, each other.

Sponsored by VIA Architecture, this Thursday’s VIAVOX event will explore the possibilities of an urban dialogue across Seattle and Chandigarh, focusing on two key issues:

  1. Appropriate urban transit solutions (metro vs BRT)
  2. The role of farmers’ markets in the first and third world

A presentation by Dr. Prakash will be followed by open discussion. For more info on Chandigarh visit